Graduate Medical Education - Global Health Track for UPHS Residents

The global health interests of residents in the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) are addressed primarily by the Graduate Medical Education's Global Health Track for Residents.botswanapmh


In 2008, the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) launched a track in global health for interested residents. Major elements in the track are: international rotations in developing countries, continuity clinics in Philadelphia for medically underserved populations, a one-month intensive seminar program, bi-weekly on-line curriculum on relevant topics, monthly speakers and discussions, and a scholarly project pertinent to global health. Some components of the track are also available to residents in other specialties (see the Tabular Summary below). On this page you will also find descriptions explaining the goals of the program, its components, and the selection process for interested applicants. This information is meant for both:

  1. Current UPHS residents and
  2. Medical students with an interest in global health who are considering applying for residencies at the UPHS

Tabular Summary of The Center for Global Health for Residents


The Global Health residency track has several goals.  First, we seek to provide educational opportunities that will nurture and train health professionals who want to address health disparities, domestically or internationally.  Second, we seek to promote physician advocacy and service through working with our community and global partners to improve health care and medical education.  Thirdly, the track exposes participants to public health and population-based approaches to prevention and care in under-resourced settings.

Curriculum Components

The following table provides a bird's eye view of the Global Health Track, which begins in PGY1.

Post Graduate Year

One Month Seminar Course *

Ongoing Curriculum

Continuity Clinics in Philadelphia

International Rotation

Scholarly Project



















* From mid-August to mid-September

Didactic Curriculum

This program exposes residents to the major areas that are generally included in the territory of global health, including: measures of disease; determinants of health; environmental health; injuries and occupational health; nutrition; maternal and child health; humanitarian disasters; health systems, ethics; and global aid.

One-month Seminar Course

Residents in the program participate in an intensive month-long course exploring contextual issues in global and community health, and examine different strategies used to address these issues.  Topics covered in this course range from health system integrity and health care financing to interaction between gender and health. Throughout the course, residents meet and interact with experts in various fields that relate to health equity.  Speakers are drawn from academia, policy makers and community advocates in order to expose residents to a broad range of stake-holders in health. Residents also participate in analyzing cases studies in order to engage trainees in critical problem solving.

Ongoing Curriculum

Residents will continue to participate in didactic experiences throughout the program through our on-line curriculum and lecture series.

  1. On-Line Curriculum: In order to focus on clinical aspects of global diseases, residents will participate in a bi-weekly web-based curriculum. This component will feature both self-guided modules on the epidemiology and clinical aspects of major communicable and non-communicable diseases, with emphasis on high burden illness.  The curriculum includes unknown case presentations and intervention challenges that residents will discuss in an on-line forum.

  2. Lecture Series: There is a monthly lecture and discussion over a potluck meal, with invited speakers or discussants.

  3. Monthly Resident Presentations: Each resident leads a report about a topic on which they are working.  The topic may be drawn from their scholarly project, their abroad experience, or their community continuity site work.
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Clinical Work (Abroad & Philadelphia Community-Based)

Abroad Time

Residents spend 6 weeks abroad in the PGY2 year and 6 weeks in their PGY3 year.  The PGY2 year will be focused on clinical care, whereas the PGY3 time abroad may be either clinical or be dedicated to the resident's scholarly project. Currently, there are two international sites, Botswana and Kenya.  Residents work at one site for both years.

  1. Botswana-UPenn Partnership
    Over the past seven years, Penn has developed a strong relationship with the Princess Marina Hospital and Ministry of Health in Botswana to provide medical education and direct patient care.  Resident responsibilities will include direct clinical care of patients in Princess Marina Hospital, a busy public hospital in the capital, Gaborone.  Rotations are also available at other sites in Botswana.  Residents will be expected to help with intern and medical student education and supervision.  A major goal of the Botswana-UPenn Partnership is to build sustainable, quality health education, and to work with health providers and the government of Botswana to strengthen health care at Princess Marina Hospital.  More information can be found at the website,

  2. Kenya (Nairobi)
    Residents rotate at Mbagathi District Hospital, a large public hospital near Kibera that serves as the national referral hospital for infectious diseases.  Residents work alongside Kenyan trainees and also participate in educational sessions for trainees.  In the second year of the track, residents have the opportunity to work with Kenyan community-based groups and NGOs on health-related projects, policy work and research.

Community-Based Continuity Clinics

In addition to the resident’s primary continuity clinic, GHT residents work in a second continuity clinic site focused on issues of community health and immigrant health.  Sites include:

  1. Prevention Point Street-Side Health Project.  Based at the North Philadelphia Prevention Point center, this site aims to bring primary health care, screening, family planning, referrals and other basic medical services to some of the most medically underserved populations in Philadelphia.

  2. Philadelphia County Prison Health.  Philadelphia County Prison health provides health care to residents of the county jails. Residents work alongside the infectious disease provider for the jail system to provide health care and HIV care to these patients.

  3. Public Health Department.  The Philadelphia Public Health Department provides care for adults and children with tuberculosis as well as sexually transmitted infections. Residents provide clinical care and work with health department staff on epidemiologic tracking and outbreak description.

  4. Jonathan Lax Center.  The Lax Center is housed within Philadelphia FIGHT, a major provider of HIV care and services. Residents work at the Lax Center which is an HIV primary care clinic that serves the urban HIV positive population of Philadelphia.

  5. Puentes de Salud.  Puentes is a clinic in South Philadelphia that serves the Latino population through clinical, education and outreach services. Many of the patients served by this clinic are recent immigrants or undocumented individuals.

  6. Penn-supported Refugee Clinic.  Based at PCPC (Penn Center for Primary Care), this clinic provides initial care and screenings to refugees hosted by Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and is run in conjunction with the Primary Care Track of the Internal Medicine residency program.

Instructions for International Clinical Rotations

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Scholarly Project

All residents are required to complete a scholarly project, and residents in the GHT select a topic relevant to global health.  The format for the activity itself is flexible and can range from clinical research to policy research or a community service project.  Where appropriate, residents are supported to work closely with partner organizations outside of the University to complete these projects.  The project may involve a pre-existing  or a new activity.  Proposals for scholarly projects must be reviewed and cleared through the Global Health Track director and a Penn faculty member who is the resident’s mentor.  The goals, objectives and products of the scholarly project will vary depending on the topic and format selected by the resident.

Career Building

Recognizing that many residents who choose this program are looking towards careers in global health, this program will support residents to attend career fairs and conferences.  The global health program also aims to foster relationships between program participants and experts in the field of global health, including through direct mentorship during activities such as scholarly projects.

This is one of the few programs where residents from different specialties come together for a longitudinal experience. As such, the track also fosters community through monthly potlucks and activities for the global health residents.

Application Process

Residents in Medicine

During the match process for internal medicine, applicants can indicate their interest in the global health track on the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) application. Residents applying in either the categorical or primary care program may apply.  The track can accommodate 4 residents each year.  If the incoming cohort has more than 4 residents interested in global health, the program selects 4 for the full track, and offers the other residents access to several components of the program, including an international rotation during the PGY3 and didactic components. 

The track also has one additional slot for a medicine-pediatrics resident. Residents in this program will apply during post-graduate year 1 and will be selected by January of that year.

Residents in other Specialties

Currently, the Global Health Track accepts residents from the following specialties:  Dermatology, Neurology, Emergency Medicine, and Radiation Oncology.  Residents from other specialties cannot apply for the Track as part of their match process.  Instead, interested residents should indicate their interest in the Track to their program director during their internship year.  Depending on the residency program, 1-2 residents will be selected to participate in some elements of the Global Health Track, including didactic portions, abroad time and in some cases, participating in working with the continuity clinic sites in Philadelphia.

International Fellowship Opportunities

Last updated:  July 28, 2015

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