Global Health Interprofessional Core Course (GHICC)
Spanning over a year’s time, this course is offered to students from all four schools at UTMB. The curriculum provides an overview of critical issues in understanding global health challenges in contemporary society within a multidisciplinary, inter-professional learning environment. For each module covered, there are both large-group seminars and case-based discussions. The GHICC is taught by a multidisciplinary team of UTMB and guest faculty with experience in the topic areas. Topics covered include:
• Introduction to global health and international development
• Human rights and social justice
• Public health and socio-economic determinants of health
• Non-governmental associations and civil society
• International aid and humanitarian assistance
• Medical volunteerism and cultural competency
The course is designed to encourage reflection on the local as well as the global applications of the aforementioned topics. Special sessions cover additional cross-cutting global health topics:
• Biotechnology in global health
• Medical decision-making in resource-limited settings
• Travel safety and health
Global Health Track (SOM)
The global health track at UTMB offers a unique opportunity for medical students to study the many dimensions of global health and development, and gain hands-on experience working in settings around the globe.
All students enrolled in UTMB’s School of Medicine are eligible to apply for the GHT. Students should demonstrate a strong interest in global health issues, and be able to participate in all the required activities, including overseas electives. To remain in the track, students must successfully complete each required activity as outlined in the table below. Students who complete the track will be eligible to sit for the Certification Exam in Tropical and Travel Medicine through the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Full certification by ASTMH requires a medical diploma and a license, so cannot be completed until after graduation
The curriculum is integrated into the full four years of medical school, and involves coursework, clinical and/or research electives overseas or in border communities, as well as independent study and completion of a scholarly paper based on the overseas experience. The basic elements of the curriculum are noted in the table below. Some of the topics covered in the track include global public health, global infectious diseases, epidemiology, maternal and child health, nutrition, sustainable development for health, and social determinants of health and their impact on the global burden of disease.
Each student will have a faculty mentor, who will work with them to oversee their activities and progress in the track. Students will be encouraged to submit scholarly work (abstract, poster, etc.) for a local, national or international global health conference.
The CGHE seeks to engage international partners in sustainable, long-term relationships focused on educational exchange. We have established such partnerships with several institutions around the world and attempt to create value-adding projects for students to perform while completing their international electives.
Utilizing the principles of the “three S’s,” the CGHE attempts to mainstream the ethical principles for international health electives proposed by Crump and Sugarman (insert ref) and the Working Group on Ethics Guidelines for Global Health Training.
Safety – this principle addresses two elements of safety: that of the student and that of the patient. Students completing international electives must be living and working in safe environments, adequately prepared for the type of work they will be doing, and engaging in activities that are at their level of training. Proper training includes providing a fund of knowledge of basic principles of global health and international development, moderation of expectations, and site-specific travel health. Preparing students sufficiently for the elective also ensures that patients on the ground remain safe from well-intentioned students that could potentially cause unintended harm.
Supervision – this principle is closely related to student and patient safety. Ensuring adequate supervision implies several things: first, that a supervisor has been identified, vetted by UTMB, and deemed to be qualified to oversee the activities of students at his/her site; second, that the clinical environment is one in which supervision may take place; and third, that a process exists to monitor the activities of students while they are abroad.
Scholarship – international electives that have little to no locally-meaningful scholarly component may run the risk of becoming “elective safaris,” in which tourism and sensationalism become the focus of the experience. The CGHE asks students to add value by seeking guidance from local partners on where they may contribute to ongoing research, clinical care, or community-based projects.
Global Health Education Research
Recent decades have witnessed a proliferation in trans-national health care exchange and collaborative initiatives. Meanwhile, global health education is becoming increasingly important in medical training. As the quantity of international opportunities have expanded, the quality of such experiences remains highly variable. The CGHE is committed to making meaningful contributions to the global health education discourse and is open to collaborators interested in similar issues.
• Interprofessional global health education – the multidisciplinary nature of the global health discourse lends itself to interprofessional dialogue and mutual learning. We are studying the changes in perceptions of students from various healthcare disciplines regarding other professions as they complete the GHICC.
• Preparation for global health experiences – the CGHE has generated a comprehensive pre-departure training curriculum that must be completed by all students enrolled in international health electives. We are measuring subjective and objective outcomes before and after the electives to gauge efficacy of the training program.
• Host site impact – one of the critical gaps in the global health educational literature is in the area of impact of students on host sites. In collaboration with our international partners, we are starting to generate a framework to evaluate the effects of foreign medical student rotations on a host site or community.