STEP (Student Education Training Program) applications are currently not being accepted due to the COVID-19 situation. We are uncertain when the spread of COVID-19 will be contained and therefore request that you check back periodically. Please stay safe and healthy. 

STEP (Student Education Training Program) is the core FACES training program which provides opportunities for medical students, health professional students, and residents to carry out clinical, project, or research electives at FACES sites and with FACES-affiliated research projects in Kenya.

Read on below for more information about:

  • Clinical Electives
  • Project and Research Electives
  • Supervision
  • Costs
  • Application Procedure
  • Orientation Materials
  • Evaluation Forms

Clinical Electives

Clinical electives are available to medical students who are in their clerkship year/s of study, and to residents. To benefit both the participant and the program, clinical electives must be at least 6-8 weeks. However, it is recommended that elective students stay for a minimum of 8 weeks to include more than one site. Learners who join FACES for a clinical elective at any of our sites will be involved in the following activities:

  • Patient Care: Clinical care of HIV positive adults and children in a family-centered outpatient clinic.
  • Home visits: Follow-up of patients in the community.
  • Hospital visits: Hospital visits to our patients who require inpatient care.
  • Multidisciplinary team meetings: In-depth discussions to develop or modify care plans for particular patients and their families.
  • Clinical team meetings: Weekly case-based clinical discussions.
  • Internal continuing medical education (CME) program: Weekly CMEs on various relevant topics.  Learners will be required to present at least once during their rotation (if space is available), as well as present a case during M&M rounds (held monthly).  Each site also hosts a full-day Saturday staff training on alternate months.
  • Student/Resident projects: Learners may choose or be assigned a project to complete during their elective.  The projects are chosen based on program needs and learner interests.  Learners are encouraged to think of potential projects when they apply.
  • Teaching: Residents will assist with the clinical supervision of medical students, as well as run “physical examination skills” sessions for staff.

Site-specific opportunities:

There are currently nine unique FACES sites within Kisumu County where STEP participants can carry out clinical electives:

Project and Research Electives

Research and project electives are available to students and residents at any level of training, for a minimum of 8 weeks.  Projects are usually specific program-related tasks that the learner will see completed from start to finish, whereas research electives generally involve taking on a specific role in a study that is underway.  Students that are coming for long-term electives (6 months or more) are encouraged to work with the research team to develop and conduct new studies. FACES and its associated research projects have ongoing studies focused on sexually transmitted infections and HIV treatment and prevention. A detailed list of current projects, as well as study-specific contact information, can be found on our Studies page. Additional things to note for STEP participants:

  • Participants will need to start working on the project or study before arriving on site, and may need to continue their involvement upon return to their home institution.
  • Research or project electives cannot be combined with clinical electives except for during long-term electives.


Trainees who are self-motivated, flexible, and able to work independently will thrive in STEP electives. STEP participants will regularly have someone available to mentor, assist, and refer to, though participants should not anticipate 100% one-on-one supervision. Clinical electives are usually supervised by the assistant program coordinator at each site. Clinical mentoring is provided by on-site staff, including medical officers and clinical officers, as well as by residents on elective or other medical professionals when appropriate. Research electives include remote and direct supervision. Off-site staff are available through e-mail and conference calls, and may be available for face-to-face discussions at the learner’s home institution before and after the elective.

Craig Cohen, MD, MPH Principal Investigator, FACES Professor, UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences On-site at UCSF for pre-elective planning and post-elective write-up. Off-site support through e-mail and telephone, and approximately 10% time in Kenya.

Elizabeth Bukusi, MBCHB, MPH, MMed (OB/GYN), PhD Co-Principal Investigator, FACES Honorary Lecturer, U of Nairobi Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Chief Research Officer, Centre for Microbiology Research, KEMRI Off-site support through e-mail and telephone, and on-site support in Kisumu approximately 20% time.

Julie Kadima, MBCHB Program Coordinator/Medical Officer/Care and Treatment Technical Adviser On-site full time in Nyanza Province. 


International (non-Kenyan) STEP applicants who are not affiliated with UCSF will be asked to make a $500 donation to help support the administration of STEP and the FACES program. This donation can be made through the FACES website  hereParticipants are also responsible for all of their own expenses including international and local travel, food and accommodations

Application Procedure - applications are currently not being accepted due to the COVID-19 situation, please check back later.  

Electives with FACES are open to medical students and residents from any institution, however priority will be given to those from University of Nairobi, University of California San Francisco, and University of British Columbia. Applicants from other health-related fields of study will also be considered. Applicants for clinical electives are encouraged to adhere to the following application schedule:

  • January 10 for UCSF Global Health Fellows Resident Program
  • February 1 for elective requests from June through until end of September (and any slots that have remained vacant for the period between February and June)
  • June 15 for elective requests from October through until end of January (and any slots that have remained vacant for the period between June and October)
  • October 1 for elective requests from February through until end of May (and any slots that have remained vacant for the period between October and May)
  • Requests for projects from June-August (non-clinical) will be reviewed March 1st each year. Applications for research electives will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

The following application material must be submitted electronically to Jayne Kulzer, at: [email protected] 

  • Letter of Interest: A letter outlining reasons for interest in the elective, including relevance to future career goals. This should include the type of elective you are requesting (clinical or non-clinical), your site preference, and the dates you would like to come (maximum 1 page) Save document as: lastname.firstname.letter.doc
  • Statement of Objectives: Your general and specific objectives for the elective (maximum 1 page). Save document as: lastname.firstname.objectives.doc
  • Curriculum Vitae: Save document as: lastname.firstname.CV.doc

You will receive e-mail confirmation of receipt of your application, and will be contacted with a decision within 1 month of the application review date. If you would like more information about elective opportunities with FACES, please contact:



Other countries: Contact any of the above

Orientation Materials

Evaluation Forms

Students and residents are required to complete a participant evaluation at the end of their elective, as well as be evaluated by their primary mentors. Click the links below to access the participant and supervisor evaluation forms: