An Outgrowth of Our Nonprofit Mission
The Health Professional Student Association (HPSA) was founded in 1983 in California by family medicine physicians. (Yes, we were founded by former hippies.) The Student Doctor Network (SDN) was developed in 1999 as a grass-roots donor-supported service providing free advising resources, tools, and peer-support forums to those who would otherwise not have access to such services. HPSA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization.
Regardless of background or financial status, every student should have the same opportunity to attend a health professional school.
We help students from underserved communities increase their chances for admission to health professional schools.
- We identify students from underserved communities and provide them donor-supported coaching and advising.
- We provide a wide range of donor supported resources and tools to assist student on their educational journey.
- We promote health care practice in underserved communities.
- We identify and promote health professional schools, organizations, and associations that align with our vision.
- We believe health care is a right.
- We believe diversity in health care is critical to good health care. We want students of every gender, race, social status, religion, and sexual orientation to become doctors. Having a diverse medical workforce ensures every American has a doctor that reflects their values and history. This improves the quality of health care for all.
- We believe privacy is a right. That’s why we never sell or share member information.
- We believe that academics should be about education, not profit. That’s why all our resources are donor-supported and free for all students. That’s why we don’t promote a service or product, and we have no corporate affiliation.
- We believe in the scientific method and evidence-based medicine. Scientific debate is healthy, but anti-science conspiracy agendas are harmful to the advancement of medicine.
- We believe in the volunteer spirit and investing in our future. The vast majority of our team are volunteers; we have two part-time staff to help with coordination. All revenues generated by the organization are reinvested into enhancing services for students.
This is a community of love, support, and hope… not of profit or fear. If this sounds like a place for you, welcome!
Who we serve
SDN brings together thousands of current and future healthcare students and professionals into one community where they can share information, offer guidance, and encourage their peers and those coming up behind them. Whether considering a gap year, struggling with the intensity of their classes, or navigating the Match, members can find someone who understands what they’re facing.
Our community includes most doctoral-level health fields:
- Dental (DDS and DMD)
- Medical (MD – Allopathic and DO – Osteopathic)
- Optometry (OD)
- Pharmacy (PharmD)
- Podiatry (DPM)
- Psychology (PsyD and PhD)
- Rehabilitation Sciences (AuD,OTD, DPT, PhD)
- Veterinary (DVM)
The Student Doctor Network is the first (and still only) site that brings together doctors and students from across the health care spectrum. The delivery of health care does not exist in silos – doctors work together to make patients better. We believe that students become better doctors when they begin their educational journey together. Every doctor is important to their patient’s wellbeing, and it’s important to recognize the team approach early.
We believe students should have open and free access to admissions information. That’s why the SDN Forums are free and not hidden behind a paywall. We never charge students for our services or resources and instead rely on donations and sponsorship. We believe in the right to privacy. That’s why we never sell or share member data, and we don’t use data for marketing purposes.
We cherish the diversity of people and ideas. On the SDN Forums, we display all comments in order of posting. With threaded discussions on SDN, we do not use up/downvoting to promote or hide comments. We think “downvoting away” a comment can create an echo chamber environment that reinforces inherent biases.
Instead of using downvoting, we rely on our members to alert the volunteer team to inappropriate comments. When alerted, a volunteer will take action. We eject people that cannot maintain respectful discussion. (See our three rules here.)
So, the inherent forum design here means that students may get feedback or input that doesn’t align with their ideas or opinions. Not every post will be applicable or practical. Our volunteers and members prefer this threaded style because it encourages a diversity of views and avoids the potential for an echo chamber. As future doctors, we expect our members to exercise critical thinking; it is an integral element of the health education process. Assessing, challenging, and incorporating differing viewpoints and experiences is the essence of higher-level education and makes our members better doctors.
Our nearly 700,000 members are what make SDN a community. The SDN Forums, the core of our peer-support resources, contain over 20 million posts covering all areas of the healthcare education process. Our diverse membership spans from high school students to attending doctors, surgeons, and physicians from across the US and Canada.
Visit our Newsroom to view our press clippings and learn more about using SDN as a source for news articles.