International Crises and Global Health Electives: Lessons for Faculty and Institutions
Student participation in global health electives and community service initiatives is associated with a number of favorable outcomes, and student interest in participating in such experiences is high. Increasingly, medical schools are facilitating and supervising global health opportunities. The inherent risks and uncertainties of global community service deserve careful consideration as schools engage more actively in this area. This article presents how one institution managed three crises in three electives in a single year. The H1N1 flu epidemic impacted a group of students bound for Mexico, a political upheaval affected a student group working in Honduras, and a hurricane threatened a student group in Nicaragua. This article outlines lessons learned from responding to these crises. Well-defined institutional travel policies, clear communication plans in the event of an emergency, a responsible administrative entity for global experiences, and formal predeparture training for students and faculty can help institutions better respond to unpredictable events. A comprehensive examination of these lessons and reflections on how to institutionalize the various components may help other institutions prepare for such events and lessen negative impact on student learning.
Available from: Kayhan Parsi
- "Such practices often fall under the heading of ‘service-learning’ which emphasizes the reciprocal benefits that are possible when direct-service is integrated with mentoring and reflection. The work of faculty should be supported by their institutions, so that faculty can best help shape the service learning outcomes for their students (7). "
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Interest in global health is rapidly increasing amongst US medical students. Many students aspire to incorporate global health into their future careers, while others seek international opportunities to better prepare themselves for domestic practice. US medical schools have begun responding to this burgeoning interest with varying intensity and through a number of different strategies.
Three important themes involved include: increasing the academic rigor of programming, fostering sustainable site partnerships, and encouraging mentorship and reflection for the students involved. Finally, the growing practice of service learning might also play a helpful role in integrating these themes into expanding global health programs.
Available from: Nigel Bax
- "Whilst this provides an opportunity to experience medicine in other countries, typically, it is not quality assured by the parent university and forms no part of their summative assessments. Such international health electives are considered to be of educational benefit by many (Thompson et al. 2003; GMC 2009) and indeed an industry has grown up around them (Steiner et al. 2010). The appropriateness of comparatively rich western students engaging in what might be seen by some as a form of medical tourism, and in particular the impact of their presence on the local health economy, the standing of local health practitioners and students' traditional tendency to carry out procedures they would not be allowed to carry out at home, has led us (and others, Banatvala & Doyal 1998) to re-evaluate the learning outcomes and supervision of the medical student elective. "
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ABSTRACT: There has been a continuing rise in recent years of the number of medical schools in the developed world offering 'global health' teaching to its students. Yet, the term itself is used in a number of contexts and as yet no clear consensus on what constitutes an appropriate or successful global health education programme has been reached. Approaches to sustainable internationalisation of medical curricula include the expansion of not only opportunities for training in specific global health topics, but also the development of broader generic graduate attributes including global citizenship and ethical, cultural and social responsibility. Key components for successful implementation of such an educational framework includes a breadth of educational approach to effect truly integrated and effective curricular internationalisation. That such programmes can offer benefits is appreciated by both faculty and students alike, but there is also a burgeoning concern about potential negative effects of socially and culturally insensitive programmes. We explore three potential pedagogic approaches to the subject; Model A: an 'additive' or contributory model of global health content (the commonest current approach), Model B: an 'integrated' approach and Model C: the more challenging 'transformative' approach requiring institutional as well as programme flexibility.
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