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What to Expect

Your request for an Observership will be processed upon receipt of your application (see Application Process page for required documents). Your application will not be processed without all the required documents. We will be in contact with you as soon as we have all the information needed.

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Definition of "Observership"

According the Council on Medical Education, observership is defined as "a structured opportunity for an IMG to observe clinical practice in a variety of health care settings under the guidance of a physician mentor and to learn about the general structure, characteristics, and financing of health care delivery in the US." Therefore, the observer has no direct patient care responsibilities but is encouraged to participate in daily teaching rounds and discussion of patient care.

Where to Report

Specific reporting instructions will be included in your acceptance correspondence, and will be based on the rotations in which you are scheduled to participate.

Identification Badges

Report to the Payroll Department with a form issued by Payroll (Request for Non-Employee ID Badge), with an approved signature from the appropriate department, and an additional form of photo identification in order to obtain an ID badge. At the completion of your rotation, return the ID badge to the observership coordinator. ID badges must be worn at all times.

Dress Code

Observers are expected to dress in a professional manner. T-shirts, cutoffs, open toe shoes etc. are not allowed. It is recommended that you wear comfortable shoes.


You are responsible for all parking costs. Parking passes must be obtained directly from the Parking Office, located in Room 1801, University Hospital

Lab Coats

It is required that you wear a lab coat during your rotation and while on the premises of Upstate Medical University. You are responsible for providing your own lab coat, one will not be provided for you.

Working Hours

Services vary with each specialty. Once approved, the attending your will be working with will provide your specific working hours.


The sponsoring institution does not provide funding for meals. You are responsible for all meals.


Observers are responsible for securing their own accommodations.

Cancellation Policy

Once your assignment has been confirmed via e-mail, you are expected to complete the rotation as we will close out that rotation to other learners. While cancellations may be necessary in the event of an emergency, money paid for rotations will only be refunded if we are notified a minimum of 30 calendar days in advance. No refunds will be given if cancellation takes place less than 30 days to the start of the rotation, or during the rotation itself. As stated earlier, the $300 Application Fee is Non-Refundable under any circumstance.

Termination Policy

SUNY Upstate Medical University reserves the right to terminate an Observer's rotation at any time in the event that the Observer's performance jeopardizes a patient's well-being or performance is unable to achieve the objectives of the educational experience. If termination of rotation is warranted, a pro-rated fee will be refunded to the Observer for the time left in the rotation, however, the $300 application fee remains Non-Refundable.

Medical School Library

Your Identification Badge will allow you to gain access as a visitor to the Medical School Library facilities.

Teaching Conferences

Information will be provided regarding regularly scheduled conferences and didactic sessions.

Absence During Your Rotation

Excused absences are limited to two days per rotation. If a problem arises, please see the Observership Program Coordinator and the Supervising Physician for approval. Unexcused absences may result in termination of the rotation and inability to obtain a Completion Certificate. Please see Termination Policy above regarding refunds of monies paid in the event of termination!


At the completion of the approved rotation, Observers will receive a certificate acknowledging their participation and length of rotation at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

Prior to the completion of your rotation, you are also expected to complete a form to evaluate your experience here. Please complete this form and return it to the Observership Program Coordinator before you leave. This feedback is very important as it provides us with critical information about our rotations. Certificates of Completion will not be provided until you have completed the evaluation of your experience and handed in your ID badge.

We look forward to seeing you and hope your rotation with us is educationally rewarding. If you have any question, please feel free to contact the Observership Program Coordinator – we will be happy to assist you in any way we can.

General Questions

If you have questions about your rotation, or if a problem arises, please contact the Observership Program Coordinator immediately, [email protected]

Information on the City of Syracuse, New York

Please refer to the following links/websites to learn more about our program and the Syracuse area and for the latest updates on what is happening in the city during the time of your visit.

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York shall admit students of any race, color, religion, sex, age, national origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or Vietnam veteran, to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to all of the students involved in any of the Clinic's educational programs.

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse New York will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, nation origins or ancestry, handicap, or status as a disabled or military veteran, in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, training programs, stipend awards and all other such administrated programs.

Acceptance of an individual to the Observership Program does not constitute a commitment by SUNY Upstate Medical University or the Department of Neurology to interview or accept the individual for residency training in the Department of Neurology or any residency or fellowship program at Upstate Medical University.