About the Center for Global Health Education learning through meaningful partnerships

International Electives

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 (JA Crump & J Sugarman. 2008. Ethical considerations for short-term experiences by trainees in global health. JAMA, 300(12), 1456-1458.) 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.

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October 12, 2013

Global Health Education Symposium: The Role of Students in Global Health

Visit the conference website to register and submit abstracts.