SMI Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Summer Medical Institute (SMI)

June 18 – July 9, 2022


During this unique three-week, urban immersion program, Christian health professions students learn to address health needs of the largely low-income, urban community in Hispanic North Philadelphia and integrate their faith and the medical practice. While providing the practical service of providing health screens, health education and addressing issues of health access in the community, students gain valuable experience. Through the program schedule and the critical input of faculty who teach, informally mentor and work alongside students, participants can develop their relationship with God and examine their role as Christians in healthcare. The program partners with Esperanza Health Center, a Christian, federally qualified low-income health center with three locations in North Philadelphia. Graduate students from all levels are welcome to apply. Undergraduates in a specific health care or pre-health care track may apply (juniors or seniors preferred), but should first contact the SMI director at Although we are still expecting the pandemic to affect aspects of our program, we are hopeful that it may be possible to house our participants together locally in the community. Even if we require local students to live in their own separate housing locations as we have done for the last two pandemic summers, a limited amount of housing in the community will be available for out of town students.


The application for SMI 2022 can found by button link in this section. Please contact the SMI director at if you have any questions. 


If accepted to the Summer Medical Institute you will should be up to date on your current vaccinations, including Hepatitis B and COVID-19, and should also have all child clearances for your current state of residence. It’s good to start early to collect this information during the application process so that you may have it ready to submit if accepted. 


The student support for participating in SMI is $1450 with housing, and $1100 if housing is not needed. Most students choose to raise support to cover this cost. If you choose to support raise, we can provide sample letters, forms and guidelines to help you, and will provide support and information throughout the process.


SMI Philadelphia offers:

  • Urban medical outreach: In 2022 students will work together in teams in the urban environment, providing pandemic support for Esperanza Health Center as well as community medical outreach including neighborhood. The will provide health screens for blood pressure, diabetes risk, diabetic foot neuropathy and obesity and provide educational information about diabetes, hypertension, HIV and nutrition while sharing the love of Christ through conversation and prayer with those they meet (see SMI Student FAQs). Each student team will have an interpreter, usually local community members or Esperanza staff, who translate for Spanish speakers. Through immersion in the community and personal interaction with people in the neighborhoods, students learn first-hand the impact of social, cultural, spiritual, and economic factors on health.
  • Education: Students each have an opportunity to shadow health care providers at Esperanza and observe an effective model of Christian primary care. Third and fourth year medical students and other upper-level health care students may participate in SMI as an academic rotation, pending school approval and availability. In 2022, we expect that students will receive hands-on patient experience each working day during SMI.
  • Mentoring: Many Christian clinicians from all fields volunteer to work alongside the student teams on a rotating basis during the outreaches, as well as share meals and even join us occasionally during downtime activities. They will also teach students on topics relevant to medical practitioners during orientation, breakout teaching sessions (“Institute Days”), and the final “Return Training.”
  • Discipleship: Small group Bible study, daily debriefing, twice-weekly teaching on biblical foundations, and daily devotions and worship are integrated throughout the program. Through this, students are able to develop their relationship with God, learn to process and respond to the issues they encounter, and help develop a vision for their own career in health care.
  • Community: As one participant said, “There are many layers of community in SMI!” and this is one of the invaluable parts of  the program. Participants live, work and fellowship together during SMI and often develop close and meaningful relationships with one another and with our faculty. Students also learn to know the local community, and work in partnership with area churches, who provide follow up to those who request it. SMI participants come to know people in the community by meeting them in their neighborhoods, in the clinic, in the churches and on the streets.
  • SMI 2022 and the Pandemic: The pandemic will likely require us to adapt our program according to current guidelines for the safety of the community and the student participants. However, we were able to successfully adapt the program during the last two summers with work that involved safe patient interaction at Esperanza Health Center and in the neighborhoods. This still allowed students to gain valuable patient experience, gain knowledge of the community, practice integrating their faith daily in the healthcare context and still allowed for our excellent schedule of speakers, as well as other faculty mentors who came and taught or met with students during the program. We expect to have increased opportunity for patient contact and community work next summer, but details will be available later as the spring progresses. We also expect to have students allowed to shadow our clinicians at Esperanza.

To read the student blog click here. 


SMI Training Videos

Dr. Jerry Jacob - October 4, 2020

COVID-19 Overview & SMI 2020 Celebration

This special event has two parts. The first half of the presentation includes Dr. Jerry Jacob, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pennsylvania, providing an update on the current understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Jacob also gave this talk to the SMI 2020 students during their training. The second part of the video includes a panel of student participants from SMI 2020 sharing their lessons learned from this past summer.

More Messages Associated With "SMI Training"...

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Support SMI

Online Giving

The preferred method of receiving donations is through online giving. You can use the links below to access secure forms on Tenth Church’s website in order to give electronically to support SMI. For administrative purposes you might be asked to login or register on Tenth Church will not use your information for communications other than those related to SMI. You will need to have your bank account and routing number available as we do not accept credit card donations. 

SMI General Fund

When the linked page opens please make sure that “Summer Medical Institute” is selected from the drop-down menu. This allows you to provide a general donation in support of SMI.

SMI Participant Support

You can also use the link below for student participant support. When this link opens you can select a specific student (listed alphabetically by last name) from the dropdown menu.

Mailing a Check

We also accept donations via check. Please include “SMI/MCO” for general donations or an SMI participant’s name in the memo line (ex. “John Doe SMI 2022”) to support a specific student. You can mail a donation to SMI at the following address:

Attn: Holly Favino


1701 Delancey Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103

Church Partnerships

There is a multitude of ways area churches can get involved in SMI Philly.  If you have an idea that’s not listed here, please feel free to get in touch with the director, Holly, via the form on this page.

Hands-On Ways for Partner Churches to Serve SMI Students and Faculty

  • Prayer – Pray for SMI before, during, and after our three weeks in North Philly.
  • Meals – Provide dinner for the SMI team (either cooking at home and bringing to where the SMI team will be staying or cooking at the SMI house with SMI-purchased food).
  • Community – Provide community credibility to the SMI project by participating/partnering with SMI;  follow up with contacts made during SMI after the team has left.
  • Housing – Provide housing for out-of-town faculty (Christian healthcare professionals who join the SMI team for part or all of the three weeks to provide leadership and mentoring to the students).  This would include providing breakfast for faculty, but the SMI team would provide lunch and dinner.
  • Transportation – We would love to borrow a 12- or 15-passenger van for one or all three weeks of SMI.

SMI Philly also has a “need list” of paper products, outreach supplies, and food that we will use during the three weeks of SMI – please email the director if you are interested in donating any of these items. 

If you are interested in promoting SMI, we would be happy to send you pre-formatted electronic versions of a bulletin announcement, a brief article, and a bulletin insert that describe SMI. Please contact us through the form below.

Contact SMI Philadelphia

Please use this form to submit your questions regarding the Summer Medical Institute to the SMI Director.