The Metropolitan Physician Associate Program (MetroPAP) is designed for current medical students who are seeking hands-on experience in an urban setting, often working with underserved and diverse communities.

Students from both the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses may apply.


MetroPAP is a parallel curriculum with the Rural Physician Associate Program (RPAP). Students who participate in MetroPAP are part of the overall RPAP/MetroPAP cohort each year.

During this 36-week (9-month) longitudinal integrated clerkship, students learn how to effectively address the needs of underserved patients in urban communities. They focus on the impact of poverty on individual and population health, as well as the value of advocacy for patients and for systems change. 

All MetroPAP students receive a $20,000 scholarship from the University of Minnesota.MetroPAP Participants

Students complete the requirements for clerkships in the following:

  • Primary Care (fulfilling requirements for Family Medicine and Primary Care Selective)
  • Surgery 
  • Emergency Medicine 
  • Obstetrics/gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry

Each student completes these requirements within the broader context of the primary care system, following patients to and from the specialty areas. They continue active engagement in their learning with their primary care preceptor, who is generally a family physician, throughout the nine months.

Students also work with family medicine faculty and residents, community preceptors in multiple specialties, and health professionals in pharmacy, behavioral health, and nursing. In addition, they complete a community health assessment project that increases their understanding of urban health issues.


Students who want to engage in urban, underserved care and become more comfortable with the psychosocial aspects of wellness, regardless of specialty, should consider applying to the MetroPAP program. Ultimately, MetroPAP students learn how to:

  • Provide culturally sensitive, comprehensive care to individuals from a variety of backgrounds 
  • Work effectively with other members of the local healthcare team to enhance individual and community health
  • Communicate in a way that’s sensitive to psychosocial, sexual, and family components of medical problems
  • Understand and address urban environmental effects on health and the impact of poverty on the health of individuals and populations
  • Identify the factors which contribute to and perpetuate health disparities
  • Become advocates for patients and their communities

MetroPAP Sites

Students are assigned to a primary care home practice in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.


Hospital students work at:

North Memorial Hospital


Hospital students work at:

CentraCare Family Health Center is both a clinic and a hospital



Hospital students work at:

Methodist Hospital


Central Avenue Clinic cropped photo 

Hospital students work at:

North Memorial Hospital


Hospital students work at:

North Memorial Hospital

Organizational Background, Mission, and Major Programming:

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center (NorthPoint) is a comprehensive community health center providing a full range of primary medical care, behavioral health, and dental health services to over 25,500 patients yearly. NorthPoint is a safety net provider, a unit of Hennepin County and a federally qualified community health center (FQHC). NorthPoint is designated by the Minnesota Department of Health as a Health Care Home, and a partner in the Hennepin Health ACO. NorthPoint’s mission is “partnering to create a healthier community.”

NorthPoint’s clinics offer a comprehensive array of primary care services including family practice, obstetrics, internal medicine, pediatrics, and specialty care; as well as dental and behavioral health services. Ancillary services available at NorthPoint include optometry, nutrition services, laboratory, a full-service pharmacy and radiology. NorthPoint also provides facilitative services consisting of transportation, culturally competent and multilingual staff, translation and interpretation assistance, on-site assistance to apply for public health and financial programs, and a sliding fee scale.

The demographics of NorthPoint’s 25,574 clinical patients closely reflect that of the surrounding Near North Community —52% are African American, 25% are Hispanic, and 12% are Asian. Forty-four percent of patients are male, and 56% are female. Thirty-one percent of NorthPoint’s clients speak a language other than English at home and require translation services. Spanish and Hmong are the primary foreign languages spoken by NorthPoint’s clients. Approximately 39% of NorthPoint’s patients are covered by Medicaid, 17% by Medicare, 6% by private insurance while the remaining 38% are uninsured (UDS report, 2015).

NorthPoint has a unique governance structure, in which the clinic is a department of Hennepin County, but programming is determined by the community board, who is also the board of directors to NorthPoint Inc. (NP Inc.) As a result, NorthPoint and NP Inc. are sister agencies working together to seamlessly integrate healthcare with human services. NP Inc. provides a continuum of services to more than 50,000 individuals annually designed to meet clients’ basic needs and promote health and self-reliance. Programming and services include a food shelf, Rule 25 Chemical Dependency assessments and services; Renaissance, an outpatient chemical dependency treatment program; Gateway and On Point, workforce development services; housing counseling and emergency housing grants; and the African American Men's Project (AAMP).

All clinic and NP Inc. programming is supported by extensive community outreach. Community Health Workers connect with individuals and families through health fairs, community events, school partnerships, and street-based outreach. Outreach workers provide basic health assessments, and inform people about the services available through NorthPoint and NP Inc. Participants are recruited for health-related programs and events including breast and cervical cancer screenings, family planning and sexual health, diabetes management, oral cancer and dental care, hypertension, exercise/wellness and more.


Hospital students work at:

St. John's Hospital


Hospital students work at:

Fairview Southdale Hospital



West Side Community Health Services is the largest community clinic in Minnesota with multiple locations in the St. Paul area: LaClinica, East Side Family Medicine, McDonough Homes, Health Start in the Schools, and Health Care for the Homeless. WCHS provides comprehensive health care with multicultural/multilingual services and education to immigrant and low-income communities. The providers and staff at all our clinics are bilingual and bicultural serving the Latino, Hmong, the homeless population, and adolescents in a service area which includes a significant portion of the City of St. Paul and Ramsey County. Our providers are compromised of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwife, mental health, social workers, health education specialists, (mental health, HIV, diabetes, and women’s health) and a registered dietician. Some basic demographic data about our clinic system includes that 86% of patients were from communities of color including Asian, African American, American Indian or Latino, 98% had incomes below 200% of poverty, 41% do not have health insurance, and 46% were enrolled in Medicaid or other public health insurance WCHS provides primary care to all ages and offers the following services to their patients in the following areas: HIV Clinic; Adolescent Care; Women’s Health (mammograms, pap smears, cervical cancer screening, OB, OB ultrasound, Prenatal Care); Diabetes care (counseling, nutrition, health educator); Nutrition Services; Pharmacy Services; Dental Care; Well Child Care and Immunizations; Geriatric Health Care; Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program; Family Planning and pregnancy testing; Health Care for the Homeless; Family support and mental health counseling. We have been a teaching organization for over 30 years and have students of diverse programs in our organization. WCHS is accredited through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare, JCAHO, and the Healthcare for the Home, HCH.

Hospital students work at:

Regions Hospital

*New Site in 19-20

*New site in 19-20