PRIME-LA is a five-year, concurrent/dual degree, program

The program leads to the regular M.D. with special emphasis on leadership and advocacy to address healthcare disparities in medically underserved populations in California (and the U.S.). Students in PRIME-LA will begin their medical school experience by participating in a Leadership and Advocacy Summer Foundations Program that sets the direction for the program and establishes early group bonding while learning about leadership and advocacy.

In 2021, DGSOM launched a new medical school curriculum — DGSOM HEALS. During the first year, PRIME-LA students complete the DGSOM at UCLA core pre-clinical curriculum. Students also participate in special selective courses. In the second-year, students participate in clinical clerkships that include Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Radiology.

A staff member practicing care with a medical student

Clerkships are situated in clinical arenas that particularly address underserved and disadvantaged populations. The third year of the new curriculum is the Discovery Year. The DGSOM Discovery Year is a required component of the M.D. curriculum to provide third-year medical students with a nearly year-long period of protected time for a deep and substantive creative and scholarly experience in an area of their interest. The program encourages the acquisition of attitudes and skills for self-directed, lifelong learning and scholarship. DGSOM Discovery can include enrollment in a concurrent master’s degree program offered at UCLA or participation in the DGSOM Discovery Area of Concentration (AoC) Program. PRIME-LA focuses on projects/research related to health disparities and problems with access to care within underserved populations. 

During the fourth year, students will complete an advanced degree that designs and implements a project related to improving health for the underserved. Advanced degree options include MBA, MPH, and MPP.

The fifth-year or final year of medical school will be within the DGSOM Colleges. The "Colleges" further prepare students for residencies and future roles as leaders. College activities include seminars, special and specific electives, a research project, and an intense advising and mentoring program. Sub-Internship opportunities to enhance career goals are stressed. Seniors present their leadership projects as part of the DGSOM Senior Scholarship Day.