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Award Opportunities 

Visiting Elective Scholarship Program (VESP)

UC San Diego welcomes students from all diverse backgrounds to apply for away clerkships. In doing so, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery seeks to award a qualified fourth year medical student who is underrepresented in medicine a scholarship through the Visiting Elective Scholarship Program (VESP) to help ease the transition into an away rotation.

About the Visiting Elective Scholarship program

Scholarship Amount:  Up to $2,200

VESP Orthopaedic Surgery Application:

Apply Here

General Information:

Intersted students should apply to the VESP at the same time they apply to the available elective rotation in Orthopaedic Surgery. Notification of the VESP award will be made in conjunction with a rotation offer in Orthopaedic Surgery. 

Upon successful completion of the rotation, the award amount up to $2,200 will be made available to the scholar. Accompanying receipts will be required, and funds expensed in accourdance with UC Policy.


  • Must be a full-time, fourth-year medical student in good standing at an accredited U.S. medical school. Students remain registered at their own schools while participating in the four-week elective at UC San Diego.
  • Must have applied and been accepted to the desired UC San Diego Department of Orthopaedic Surgery’s clinical elective program through the AAMC Visiting Student Learning Opportunity (VSLO) and completed the supplemental application form before the scholarship is processed.
  • Identify as being from a disadvantaged background as defined by US Health and Human Services.
  • Express interest in applying to an Orthopaedic Surgery residency program.

Application Timeline:

  • Opens:  March 1, 2023
  • Closes:  March 31, 2023

Only completed VESP applications with all supporting documents will be considered.


Before applying to the VESP, each student must complete an application form through the Association of American Medical Colleges Visiting Student Learning Opportunity (VSLO)'s Online Application and complete the supplemental application form specific to Orthopaedic Surgery. For more information, please visit the UC San Diego Visiting Student webpage.

 If you have any questions, please contact Kim Tawfik.


The Dr. Steven Robert Garfin Medical Student Excellence in Orthopaedic Surgery Award

This award is offered to an exceptional graduating UC San Diego medical student who intends to specialize in Orthopaedic Surgery. The award will be presented at the UC San Diego School of Medicine awards ceremony during commencement. 

The next application period for interested UC San Diego medical students who wish to apply will open in November 2023.

About the Orthopaedic Surgery Award

Established in 2021, the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is pleased to award the Dr. Steven Robert Garfin Medical Student Excellence in Orthopaedic Surgery Award. 

Dr. Garfin is an internationally renowned Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon who has been a pioneer in complex reconstructive spine surgery.  He is beloved by his patients, colleagues and trainees.  He earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota and completed an Orthopaedic Surgery residency at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He did a fellowship in adult spine disorders at the eminent Rothman Institute in Philadelphia. Dr. Garfin joined the faculty at UC San Diego in 1981 and served as chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery from 1997 to 2018, and is currently interim dean of the UC  San Diego School of Medicine.  

Dr. Garfin’s innovative work contributed to the development of current international standards, techniques, and instrumentation in the surgical care of the spine. He was one of the earliest to implement and participate in the evolution of segmental pedicle screw fixation and was the seminal pioneer of Kyphoplasty, a technique that has improved the lives of patients with osteoporotic spine compression fractures.  In 2013, Dr. Garfin received the Leon Wiltse Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Lumbar Spine.  He has served as a leader locally, nationally, and internationally and has been president of the North American Spine Society, the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, the Cervical Spine Research Society, and the San Diego Chapter of the Western Orthopedic Association.  Dr. Garfin has disseminated his surgical, teaching and leadership acumen to his resident and fellow trainees, many of whom have become pioneers and leaders in their own right.  


  • Currently enrolled as a fourth-year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine and part of the graduating class
  • Completed a sub-internship in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Applied to an Orthopaedic Surgery residency program

Application Process and required documents

  • Application form
  • CV or Resume
  • Proof of sub-internship in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Proof of application to a residency program in Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Personal Statement (1,000 words or less) describing applicant’s training, commitment to service, notable accomplishments, and career goals
  • Letter of Recommendation (to be submitted directly to Kim Tawfik by the endorser by the deadline)

Only complete applications with all supporting documents will be considered. Please send application packets by the deadline to Kim Tawfik.

Application Timeline

  • Application closed


 For further information, please contact Kim Tawfik.