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Special Elective Information & Forms

The IUSM offers an extensive list of elective courses in the course catalog. However, students can identify and create rotation opportunities called “Special Electives”, which are rotations outside of the regular catalog offerings in a student’s area of interest. Special electives may be rotations offered in the state of Indiana or out of state. A special elective request requires review by IUSM faculty and staff to ensure academic integrity, compliance with IUSM standards, and appropriateness for the student’s academic program. Please note: Submission of a proposal does not guarantee approval. A special elective proposal must be submitted for all special elective rotations including rotations at IUSM, VSLO, Military, and international rotations. For more information about special electives, see the Elective Program Policies and Procedures. 

Types of Special Electives: 

  • Military Special Electives (“Military” on request form): Students completing required Military rotations should submit a special elective request form with supporting documentation a minimum of 30 days before the start of the rotation. 
  • AAMC VSLO Special Electives (“VSLO” on request form): Students interested in rotations at other institutions participating in the AAMC VSLO Program should use the AAMC VSLO system to find and apply for opportunities away from IUSM. A special elective request form should be submitted with supporting documentation from the host institution as soon as approval has been received for the rotation from the host institution. A special elective request form should be submitted a minimum of 30 days before the start of the rotation. 
  • International Special Electives (“International Special Elective” on request form): To initiate the process of applying for an International Special Elective, please contact the Registrar, Amanda Ybarra (ajybarra@iu.edu). It is strongly recommended that students begin the planning and application process 4-6 months in advance for International rotations. A special elective request form and supporting documentation should be submitted no later than two months prior to the first day of the rotation. Students must have approval from the Course Director/Host Institution and the IUPUI Study Abroad Office before submitting a special elective request form.  
  • IUSM Special Electives & Away Rotations that are not through AAMC VSLO (“Special Elective (All Other Request Types)” on request form): Students may propose special electives at IUSM and IUSM-affiliated sites that are outside of the regular electives catalog offerings. Students may also propose special elective rotations outside of IUSM at LCME-accredited institutions, non-LCME accredited institutions, and private practice sites that are not affiliated with IUSM and that are not part of the AAMC VSLO Program. Rotations at LCME-accredited, non-LCME accredited, and private practice sites that are not affiliated with the IUSM and that are not part of the AAMC VSLO may require additional information following submission of the proposal form about the Site/Institution and/or the Course Director’s credentials. A faculty and/or staff member may contact you during the proposal review process if additional information is required regarding the Site/Institution and/or the Course Director’s credentials. For special electives at IUSM and IUSM-affiliated sites, please see the information below about individuals to contact in Departments and at regional campuses to begin the process of identifying special elective opportunities. The Campus and Departmental contacts specified below should be contacted before submitting a special elective proposal form (form link below). 

IUSM Special Elective Contacts 

Special electives allow students to develop unique experiences at the School of Medicine or at outside institutions. To assist students with finding special elective opportunities in their areas of interest at IUSM and IUSM-affiliated sites, we have provided a list of Campus and Departmental contacts below that you should reach out to in order to find these opportunities. These Campus and Departmental contacts will help connect you with available faculty members and play a critical role in ensuring the availability of faculty time, space, and resources across all our clinical rotations. 

These Campus and Departmental contacts should be contacted before submitting a special elective proposal form

Regional Campus Contacts: 

  • Bloomington – Students interested in special electives in Bloomington should reach out to Suzi Tolliver (stolliv@iu.edu).
  • Evansville – Students interested in special electives at the Evansville campus will first need to reach out to Caren Whitehouse (whitca@iu.edu) for faculty availability, clinical site coordination, and facility requirements.
  • Fort Wayne – Students interested in special electives at the Fort Wayne regional campus will first need to reach out to Sharon Roberts (robeshar@iu.edu) for faculty availability, clinical site coordination, and facility requirements.
  • Muncie – Students interested in special electives at the Muncie regional campus should reach out to their Lead Advisor and/or the preceptor they are interested in working with.
  • Northwest-Gary – Students interested in a special elective at the Northwest campus should contact Amy Han, PhD (amyhan@iu.edu) prior to completing the approval process.
  • South Bend – Students who are interested in creating a Special Elective at the IUSM-South Bend campus should contact Stacey Patrick (sapats@iu.edu) for review and approval.
  • Terre Haute – Students interested in special electives at the Terre Haute regional campus will first need to reach out to Heather LeBrun (heather.lebrun@indstate.edu) for faculty availability, clinical site coordination, and facility requirements.
  • West Lafayette – Students interested in special electives at the West Lafayette Regional Campus will first need to reach out to Natalie O’Neal (oneal17@purdue.edu) for faculty availability, clinical site coordination and facility requirements.

Indianapolis Departmental Contacts: 

  • Anesthesia – Students interested in an Anesthesia Special Elective in Indianapolis, please reach out to Belinda Sanborn (bmsanbor@iu.edu). 
  • Emergency Medicine – Students interested in a special elective in Emergency Medicine in Indianapolis should reach out to Jim Graber (jamgrabe@iu.edu).  
  • Family Medicine – Students interested in special electives in Family Medicine in Indianapolis should reach out to Natalie Rollman (nrollman@iu.edu). 
  • Neurology – Students interested in a special elective in Neurology should reach out to the preceptor that they will work with. 
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology – Students interested in special electives in OB/GYN should reach out to Cheryl Avery (cavery@iupui.edu) for information on how to start the process. Students should have an idea of what they would like to do (what their special elective would entail) and where/with whom they would complete the rotation, if approved.  
  • Psychiatry – Students interested in special electives in Psychiatry should reach out to Vicki Anderson (vpetrou@iupui.edu). 
  • Radiology – Students interested in special electives in Diagnostic Radiology should reach out to Carlene Webb-Burton (cwebbbur@iu.ed) or Dr. Richard Gunderman (rbgunder@iu.edu) or stop by our office, Riley, room #1053 
  • Surgery – Students interested in special electives in Surgery or surgical specialties should reach out to Megan Rendina (mrendina@iu.edu). 
  • Other Indianapolis-Based Departments – Students interested in Indianapolis Departments that are not listed above should work with their Career Mentors, Lead Advisors, and/or Faculty to identify opportunities for special elective rotations.  

Special Electives Form 

Once you have discussed the rotation with the contacts above and have obtained email approval from a Course Director/Host Institution, you must submit a special elective request form before the start of the rotation: 

The completed form and supporting documentation must be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the start of the rotation (unless otherwise noted above for International requests). Please note: A rotation is not officially approved until all the appropriate IUSM faculty and staff have reviewed and approved the proposal. Students will receive a notification once their proposal has been approved.

For these reasons, we strongly recommend planning ahead – do not wait until the last minute.