PLENARY: Training in Medical School with a Focus on Global Health
Date & Time
Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

In this age of increased global connectivity, global health education is more important than ever. While numerous residency programs include global programs/activities, fewer are offered during medical school. The Global Medicine Track (GMT) at Rocky Vista University is a 3.5-year formal osteopathic program aimed at training culturally and clinically competent doctors to more effectively serve global and underserved communities, both here and abroad. Major goals include intensive cultural didactic training and clinical exposure. Approximately 12-15 students are accepted into this co-curricular program beginning in their 2nd semester. Each semester of the didactic portion centers around a theme; lectures, discussions, simulations, and student-presentations are geared to each theme. Students spend ~30-40 hours in track activities each semester in addition to the core curriculum. Activities are graded and students must achieve 80% or better to pass and 90% or better to honor while maintain passing grades in the core curriculum. Students then must complete three global-health oriented externships during 3rd and 4th years. Two of them must be overseas while the 3rd may be either overseas or in the US with underserved populations or in public health.

Through multiple student and faculty evaluations of the program each semester, the class activities are changed/modified to allow for greater learning and success of the students. The didactic portion has changed to include more pre-reading so that class-time can be more profitably spent in discussion and reflection. Scenarios are presented to small groups on topics ranging from health systems to ethics to disaster medicine and working in low resource communities. Students analyze community needs and programs designed to lessen the burden of disease by eliminating infectious diseases. More hands-on experiences were added and include working with an interpreter, in-flight emergencies, performing laceration repairs in the field, telemedicine and numerous other experiential-learning opportunities.

GMT surveys assessing former student valuation of the program are evaluated regarding how well GMT performed, if program expectations were met, and whether the program added to their learning and outlook on global health. Student evaluations are generally positive and include suggestions for future changes. GMT graduates have participated as clinicians in RVU-sponsored medical trips to various countries as well as continuing in non-RVU global activities, suggesting the track impacted their desire to participate in global medicine beyond medical school.

Session moderated by Fernando Gomez

Camille Bentley