Americas:  North, Central, South & Caribbean

pueblaThe Center for Global Health can help students to pursue global health experiences in several countries in the Americas.  Please click on the country name or the category to explore specific opportunities.  Under "Penn Med Student-Arranged Experiences" you will find information about a large number of additional activities that Penn Med students have arranged on their own.


Multi-Nation:  Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is an international public health agency with 100 years of experience in working to improve health and living standards of the countries of the Americas. It serves as the specialized organization for health of the Inter-American System. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization and enjoys international recognition as part of the United Nations system. PAHO offers unpaid summer internships to provide practical experience to emerging public health leaders.

  • Internship: June to August:  8-week minimum; 10-12 weeks preferred  
    • Gain hands-on experience in a specific focus area of public health under the supervision of technical health professionals
    • Develop understanding of the comprehensive field of public health and PAHO's role in technical cooperation as the WHO Regional Office of the Americas
    • Potential to work directly on projects and tasks, participate in weekly "Brown Bag Lunches" with technical advisors to gain exposure to their unit's operation and programming in the Americas, meet with external organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank, Organization of American States, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund
  • Location:  Washington, DC and possibly PAHO Country Offices
  • Desirable Intern Skills/Qualities/Experience
    • Spanish fluency
    • Abilities in planning, organizing, problem-solving, and decision-making
    • Detailed-oriented
    • Public Health knowledge with courses in health policy
    • Knowledge of Latin American countries
    • Coursework in international health and/or public health
    • Experience designing and using databases
    • Research skills (including literature searches on the internet)
    • Computer skills (Excel a must, Access an asset)
    • Ability to create and work with listserves and other online tools
    • Team-player, self-driven, initiative-taker
    • Good communication skills (written & oral)
  • Application Process
    • See PAHO website for ideas on internships of interest.  Possible fields include:
      • AIDS
      • Communicable disease
      • Non-communicable disease
      • Child and maternal health
      • Community health
      • Environmental health
      • Immunology
      • Vaccines
      • Epidemiology
      • Nutrition
      • Policy and governance
      • Telemedicine
    • Prepare a 1-2 page statement describing the work you would like to do and the skills/qualities/experience that make you a desirable candidate; be sure to include your Spanish level
    • For more information (including application): Check out the PAHO Internship Program website.


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Central America & Caribbean


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Belize: Hillside Healthcare Center

Hillside Health Care International operates a primary care clinic in Eldridgeville, a village outside Punta Gorda in southern Belize. Established in 2000, Hillside is a non-profit organization that provides free medical care to an impoverished, under-served, diverse population, made up of Maya, East Indian, Creole, and Garifuna cultures. Hillside works closely and in collaboration with the Belize Ministry of Health. Description: C:\Belize pictures 2010-2011\AllPics\DSC00929.JPG

Hillside has incorporated students into the clinic model since its inception. Every month 10 to 12 medical, physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy students and/or medical residents come from the US, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia for rotations at Hillside. Rotations are open to students in their final year of training. The clinic itself is a modern facility, consisting of the clinic building, pharmacy, and a dorm for students. Hillside has academic partnerships with several US universities and medical schools, including Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, Marquette, and Rosalind Franklin University. Academic partners send students and faculty members to Hillside on a regular basis.

he clinic is a comprehensive outpatient primary care facility that sees 8000 patients a year. Students spend half their clinical time at the clinic site and half on mobile clinics to more remote villages, including overnights. The clinic runs Monday through Friday. Students interview and examine patients, present patients to the preceptor and formulate a management plan for each patient. Minor procedures such as incision and drainage of abscesses and suturing are done at the clinic. Each student sees approximately 5 to 10 patients per clinic session. Students are supervised at all times by licensed preceptors from the United States. Tuition for the month long rotation is $1450 which includes housing and directly supports clinic operations.

At Hillside students learn how to diagnose and manage patients from different cultures in a limited resource setting. Part of Hillside’s mission is community health outreach and students are responsible for presentations to villages and schools on varied health topics, such as first aid for families, dental hygiene, skin care, diabetes and hypertension. There is a robust educational program for students with didactic sessions on topics including tropical medicine, poverty and health, and managing chronic illness in a resource poor environment. Students are expected to do case presentations for their colleagues as well. Living together in our modern dorm facility students from different disciplines and different countries learn together and from each other.

f you are interested in doing a rotation at Hillside you may find more information at the website:, including the student application, or contact Dr. Susan Leib at or 203 733-4002. Dr. Leib is currently practicing in Philadelphia and could potentially meet with interested students.

Dominican Republic

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Dominican Republic:  CHOP Alliance for International Medicine

Beginning in 2004, a group of Dominican physicians and nurses, with the assistance of Medicines for Humanity, established a mobile clinic program to serve the bateyes surrounding the town of Consuelo in the Dominican Republic. The bateyes are shantytown communities, the majority of whose inhabitants work in sugar cane fields, cutting and transporting the cane from the fields to giant wagons which then go to factories for production of refined sugar. The sugar cane workers are largely of Haitian descent; some are recent arrivals and others may be second or third generation. As a group, they have little education and little or no access to routine medical care.

The mobile clinic travels to each batey twice a month. The clinic works with a health promoter from the batey who assists with organizing community residents and identifying people in need of services. The CHOP Alliance for International Medicine (AIM), headed by Dr. Rodney Finalle, AIM Director and Medical Director of the Primary Care Center at Cobbs Creek, sends interdisciplinary pediatric teams to provide much needed medical care to children of the bateyes. Conditions such as scabies and intestinal parasites, and malnutrition are routine. In addition, educational workshops are provided for the health promoters.

For additional information, please visit the CHOP~AIM website. You may also contact Dr. Finalle.

Julie Linton MS3 Examines Child in BateyDominican Republic:  Hospital de Seguridad Social

This 450 bed Social Security Hospital in Santo Domingo serves as a major clinical teaching site for several of the Dominican Republic medical schools. It offers a full spectrum of medical services ranging from infectious disease to cardiology as well as a full range of surgical subspecialties. There are more than 128 residents engaged in a wide variety of residencies and fellowships offered at this hospital. Despite limited resources, the Chief of Medicine, Jorge Marte Baen MD FACP, FACCP, (friend/former colleague of Dr Larson’s), has developed a well-respected residency program modeled after the training he received in the United States. A clinical experience at the Social Security Hospital is a challenging experience that will highlight the realities of work within the confines of limited resources. Serious upper level medical students and residents interested in a clinical rotation at this hospital may contact Dr. Larson for further information.

Dominican Republic:  Robert Reid Cabral Pediatric Hospital

Also known as the “Angelita”, this former ocean-side hotel built during the Trujillo-era was converted to a pediatric hospital 20 years ago. With over 400 inpatient beds, it is regarded as the best pediatric facility in the Dominican Republic and receives referrals from throughout the country. A full range of med/surg services are offered. A clinical experience at the IGSS is a challenging experience that will highlight the realities of work within the confines of limited resources. Serious upper level medical students and residents interested in a clinical rotation at this hospital may contact Dr. Larson for further information.


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Family Barracks in BateyGuatemala: Behrhorst Partners for Development

The Behrhorst Foundation is a US-based, nonprofit organization committed to the health and social well-being of the rural, indigenous Mayans living in the highlands of central Guatemala. The Behrhorst Clinic, a modest 20-bed hospital and adjacent outpatient clinic, is located in the highland town of Chimaltenango, 60 km north of Guatemala City, along the Pan-American Highway. Funding and administration is maintained in the US through a formal Board of Directors. Community health leadership teams have been developed to tackle specific health care issues including malnutrition, sanitation, potable water, and maternal and child health. Direct observation and participation in the hospital/clinic is offered to Penn medical students. Supervision is maintained by Guatemalan physicians staffing the clinic. There are numerous medical residents and US-trained physicians who volunteer here as well. Rural visits with health promoters are possible and there are ample opportunities for students to participate in health brigades, sanitation and clean water projects, as well as a variety of nutrition and other programs designed to improve maternal-child well-being. Students are placed in secure housing and board is provided. For further information, please contact Dr. Steve Larson. Applications should be submitted to The Center for Global Health.


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Guatemala: Guatemala Health Initiative / Hospitalito Atitlán

Philip Lederer, Justin Schram & Interpretors 2005The Guatemala Health Initiative (GHI) is a joint organization of students from the School of Medicine and School of Nursing advised by Kent Bream, MD (Department of Family Practice and Community Medicine) and Mamie Guidera, MSN, CNM (Nurse-Midwifery Program). GHI supports the efforts of Hospitalito Atitlán to improve the health status of the Tz’utujil Maya town of Santiago Atitlán by coordinating community health projects, medical and nursing student electives, and service learning delegations to the Hospitalito; raising funds, medical supplies, and medications for the Hospitalito; and organizing educational events on campus to raise awareness about health and human rights in Guatemala. A central goal of the partnership between GHI and the Hospitalito is to put the knowledge gained through participatory research intodesigning effective, sustainable, and culturally sensitive health interventions. You can view a film entitled The Life & Rebirth of Hospitalito Atitlan by scrolling down once you click on this link

Guatemala Health Initiative's health education videos in the Tz'utujil Maya language are used by Hospitalito Atitlán for patient education.  Here, a newly diagnosed asthmatic from Santiago Atitlán learns how to use an asthma inahaler properly (2006)In summer 2005, two medical students (Justin Schram and Phil Lederer) and two nursing students (Nancy Etzel and Marilyn Arenas) completed a community health assessment of Santiago Atitlán.

In March 2006, a team of medical, nursing, and pre-medical students produced a series of health education films for Hospitalito Atitlán under the directorship of filmmakers Nathaniel Smith (Graduate School of Education) and Ignacio Tello. The films address topics that the Hospitalito identified as priorities, and are narrated in both Tz’utujil and Spanish.  You can access these films and more detailed information on the GHI website


Guatemala:  Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social (IGSS) Trauma Center

The Instituto Guatemalteco De Seguridad Social (IGSS) is a Guatemalan health care system that provides coverage to approximately 900,000 workers and their families nationwide. The IGSS Trauma Hospital in Guatemala City is the largest of 3 nationwide IGSS trauma centers in Guatemala. With over 300 beds, it serves as a primary trauma center for adults and children in Guatemala City; it also receives referrals from across the country. The hospital specializes in surgical sub-specialties, including orthopedics and neurosurgery. It maintains a 23 bed emergency department and a modest trauma resuscitation bay staffed by medicine and surgical housestaff and faculty. Clinical electives in trauma, surgery, orthopedics and emergency medicine are available at the IGSS Trauma Hospital. A clinical experience at the IGSS is a challenging experience that will highlight the realities of work within the confines of limited resources (ie. no cat scan, no blood bank). Serious upper level medical students and residents interested in a clinical rotation at this hospital may contact Dr. Larson for further information.

Guatemala:  Mayan Medical Aid

Mayan Medical Aid is a US-based 501c3 nonprofit atitlan landscapeorganization founded in 2004 by Craig Sinkinson, MD.  (Emergency Medicine).  Working out of the Puesto de Salud in the lakefront Caxquitel village of Santa Cruz, Dr Sinkinson has laid the foundation for an exciting program in global health that addresses not only the immediate health needs of the villagers, but focuses attention on the cultural and linguistic challenges this unique village represents. Santa Cruz has a population of 2000 people, with an additional 3000 living in the nearby villages/hamlets.  Few of the villagers speak Spanish; the majority of the population exists through subsistence farming; families survive on less than one US dollar per day.  Malnutrition is rampant throughout the village and one of Mayan Medical Relief's initial priorities has been to augment nutritional intake among the village's pregnant women and young children through supplemental feeding programs. Sanitation, hygiene, and potable water are issues being addressed as well.  The medical clinic is housed in a modern facility, located centrally within the village.  On the first floor there is a clean waiting room/triage area, an emergency room with a single bed, 3 additional exam rooms, and a pharmacy.  Upstairs there is an administrative office, a conference room, a kitchen that oversees the nutrition program and several bathrooms as well as an on-call space.  An indigenous villager trained as a nurse is present during normal working hours and 24/7 for emergencies.  To support the clinic's mission, long-range goals include the development of a Medical Spanish program as well as CME.  Students can find housing locally or in nearby Panajachel.  Activities for medical students range from public health, water, sanitation, and nutrition studies (MS1) to assisting in clinical care (MS3-4).  For more information, please visit the Mayan Medical Aid website.

  •  Penn Med Students Reports & Advice:  2006, 2005


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Guatemala:  Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro

Located in central Antigua and in operation since the '80s, Obras Sociales del Hermano Pedro (OSHP) serves the poor through a variety of outreach programs.  First and foremost, OSHP is home to more than 250 mentally and physically impaired patients of all ages and gender, many of whom have been abandoned by their families.  It serves as a nutrition center for undernourished babies and children and functions as a food distribution center as well.  There is an outpatient clinic on the site as well as clinical facilities for opthalmology, general surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, and orthopedics.  While attending language school in Antigua, students can volunteer on a part-time basis.  Students can also arrange full-time experiences, ranging from orderly-type duties for MS1 students to assisting physicians (MS3-4).  For more information, please contact Dr. Steve Larson

Guatemala:  San Lucas Tolimán Mission

The San Lucas Mission is a community-based integral human development organization in Sololá Guatemala committed to promoting social justice and the dignity of individuals by responding to the expressed-felt needs of the people. Founded by a Priest from Minnesota in 1963, Fr. Greg Schaffer, the Mission has a diverse array of programming that strives meet all of the community's needs: spiritual, intellectual, and physical.  These programming areas include land distribution and housing construction, education, healthcare, and providing employment to community members.  The Parish also has a direct trade coffee program which supports over 650 families in the production of their cash crop.

The center of the healthcare effort is the Parish Clinic, a 65-bed facility which focuses on providing high quality outpatient services and emergency care for urgent problems.  There are consultation rooms; two delivery rooms; men's, women's, and children's wards; a pharmacy providing highly discounted medicine; a dental clinic; an eye clinic; x-ray machine; ultrasound machine; EKG machine; operating room; emergency room and ambulance.  The head of the clinic is Dr. Rafael Tun, a native to San Lucas and fluent in two indigenous languages of the region in addition to Spanish.  A team of health promotors support the needs of the outlying rural communities and are educated in basic medicine, emergency care, nutrition, and recognizing warning signs of chronic illness. 

The Parish welcomes over 1,200 visitors and volunteers a year in the spirit of accompaniment and lending gracious support to the people of San Lucas.  Volunteers are able to get involved in construction and agricultural projects, although work in the clinic is generally not allowed.  For volunteers to work in the clinic, they must be 1) be licensed in their profession, 2) have fluency in medical Spanish, and 3) spend at least three months in San Lucas (with more being better).  This latter requirement is put in place to ensure the cultural sensitivity of any volunteers; the clinic staff desire to provide sensitive, consistent, and culturally relevant care to their patients.  Furthermore, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to orient short-term volunteers for work in the clinic.  Those accepted in the long-term volunteer program also have a trial period before working in the clinic to ensure the volunteer is a good fit.  Alternatively, the Mission welcomes groups of medical professionals who set up mobile clinics in the rural communities outside of San Lucas.  The Mission can accommodate doctors or groups with appropriate student:attending ratios and sufficient translator ratios. 

The Mission hosts volunteers year-round and for various lengths of time.  For short-term visitors, the Mission asks for a contribution of $30/day per person.  This goes towards covering transportation, lodging, and food.  For medium-term volunteers (2-8 weeks), there is a sliding scale.  For long-term volunteers (2 months or more), the contribution is $100/month.  The application process differs for short-term individuals, long-term individuals, and groups.  Find out more about volunteering on the Mission's website.

Guatemala:  Universidad Francisco Marroquín Facultad de Medicina

Penn medical students who are fluent Spanish speakers are invited to apply to participate in clinical electives (MS3/4 only) or public health activities (MS1/3/4) in a rural setting as part of the Universidad Francisco Marroquín Facultad de Medicina (UFM)'s program in rural public health.  Students will be assigned to small village health posts supported by the Clínica Bárbara.  UFM is enthusiastic about their affiliation with Penn.  If you are interested in pursuing a global health experience at UFM, please review the application process below and contact Nancy Biller who will submit your application. 

  • Application Process
    (please print application, complete, and submit to CGH, 1007 Blockley for submission to UFM via Penn's affiliation)

Guatemala: Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala Facultad de Ciencias Médicas

Penn medical students with strong Spanish language skills are invited to apply to participate in clinical electives (MS3/4USAC Opportunity only) at the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala (USAC) Facultad de Ciencias Médicasas. Established in 1676, this public university is the oldest and largest university in Guatemala, and the fourth oldest in the Americas. The main campus is in Guatemala City but there are medical and academic campuses in almost every region/department of the country, and arrangements can be made for students to spend a select number of days in Guatemala City followed by placement in a regional hospital or centro de salud run by USAC elsewhere in the country. Rotations can last from one to two months and USAC university space is available for qualified students  (click here to see photos).

Clinical electives can potentially be made available in various medical and surgical specialties, as well as research and public health opportunities. Personal connections to USAC medical students will be encouraged in promoting exchanges where Guatemalan medical students subsequently come to Penn Med for experiences. 

Please contact Nancy Biller if you would like to pursue an elective at USAC.   She will request a resume and a 1-page statement that describes your interest in this opportunity, your relevant Spanish language skills, the dates when you are available, and the clinical electives of greatest interest to you.


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Honduras: Shoulder to Shoulder (Hombro a Hombro)

Shoulder to Shoulder is a nonprofit nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving health outcomes in poor rural Honduran communities through primary health care, public health, dental care, nutrition, and education. Founded in 1993, it represents a partnership between the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine, the Ministry of Health of Honduras, and the Community Health Board of Santa Lucia. Shoulder-to-Shoulder maintains a state-of-the-art medical clinic in the remote (8-hour drive from the nearest paved road) rural western mountains of Honduras, adjacent to the border of El Salvador. Staffed by two Honduran physicians year-round and supported by volunteer physicians and students, since 1993 Shoulder to Shoulder has had the participation of 172 medical students, 117 residents, 134 faculty physicians, 30 nurses, and 15 dentists from various US medical schools. A large facility with beds, showers, and a kitchen can house up to 45 people working with Shoulder-to-Shoulder in Santa Lucia. Transportation is arranged through the administrative offices in the US and coordinated with teams in Honduras. For further information, please see the Shoulder to Shoulder website.  There is detailed information on the organization and the role of the volunteer. 


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Nicaragua: Acción Médica Cristiana

Founded in 1984, Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC) is recognized as one of the top ten nongovernmental organizations working in Nicaragua. An 8-week commitment and intermediate-level Spanish are required.  AMC is a leading Christian NGO in Nicaragua, working to empower people for God's purpose in community health (HIV/AIDS, clean water and sanitation, essential medicines, traditional health, dental health, health models), food security, knowledge management, disaster risk reduction and response. Field locations are Matagalpa, RAAN and RAAS, and Managua Central Office.  AMC Strategic Areas: 

  • Community Health.
  • Food Security 
  • Disaster Prevention and Response
  • Knowledge Management

Please click here to open a .pdf document with a complete description:   Nicaragua AMC 2007. 

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2007, 2005


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South America


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Argentina: Universidad Austral Facultad de Ciencias Biomédicas

Hugo & Deepah with the Team 2005Deepa Kumaraiah Instructed by Austral PhysicianThis clinical opportunity was established in the spring of 2005.  Each year, a maximum of two Penn third or fourth year medical students who have good Spanish language skills can pursue rotations in Austral's university hospital (academic tertiary care), in their affiliated primary and secondary care centers, or in a combination of environments.

Rotations usually last 1 or 2 months.  They begin on different dates each year due to adjustments to the Universidad Austral Facultad de Ciencias Biomédicas academic year.

Although not guaranteed, clinical electives are typically available in:

  • Internal medicine (academic or community hospital)
  • Pediatrics (academic or community hospital)
  • Surgery
  • ObGyn
  • Emergency Medicine                   
  • Dermatology
  • Primary care                                    
  • Intensive care
  • Cardiology
  • Orthopedics

Please apply six months in advance of your planned travel by submitting a 1-2 page statement in the form of a Microsoft Word document, and a CV or resume.  The two separate documents should be attached in a single email to the Office of The Center for Global Health.  The statement should cover the following:

  1. Why you are interested in this opportunity
  2. Your Spanish language skills
  3. Dates when you would like to be in Argentina
  4. Ranking (#1 = most desirable to you) of clinical electives that interest you from the list above 


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Peru: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH)

The Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) is a private university located in Lima, Peru. UPCH is one of the predominant centers for Tropical Medicine in the world, and offers the world-renowned Gorgas Course in Clinical Tropical Medicine. UPCH also is a center for epidemiological and biomedical research, with modern facilities and faculty with broad interests in all aspects of health.

Clinical Electives: Our colleagues at the UPCH are enthusiastic about welcoming Penn medical students for clinical electives. They can offer most medical specialties. Students taking a Medicine rotation gain extensive exposure to the diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases. Although many of their faculty speak English, good Spanish language skills are required for rotation students. Please contact Nancy Biller if you would like to consider a clinical elective.

Summer Courses: Summer programs at UPCH include tropical medicine short courses and a course on outbreak investigations (in collaboration with the US Navy in Lima). Further information is available on the UPCH website.

Research: There are also many research opportunities at the UPCH. Since 2004 Penn faculty and UPCH faculty have been collaborating on a project to examine the factors surrounding the urbanization of Chagas disease in southern Peru. Opportunities in all aspects of this project are available for students interested in a longer-term commitment. Other collaborative projects between UPCH and UPenn focus on chronic disease, antibiotic usage, stroke, TB, and oral rehydration therapy. Please contact Dr. Mike Levy for more information about research possibilities.

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2013, 2009


Peru:  ImpactaPeru

If you are a fluent Spanish speaker and interested in a public health research environment, you may be able to participate in a project in Peru, through Asociación Civil Impacta Salud y Educación  (if you get no response from the website, please try this link)  with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) or the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).  Please send your CV and a letter of interest to Nancy Biller for consideration. 

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2009


Peru: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos/Clinical Obstetrics/Gynecology

This clinical opportunity in obstetrics and gynecology in Lima is for students who have at least a basic command of Spanish and an interest in global and women’s health. Preference will be given to students who have completed core clinical courses such as medicine and obstetrics/gynecology.

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant, modern city, next to the ocean, with a growing population of over eight million people. The city represents a cosmos of different socio-economic and ethnic groups with a vast majority of poor people moving from the Andes to the capital in search of better conditions and living in the outskirts of the city. As a developing country, Peru faces significant maternal and neonatal morbidity rates, despite governmental efforts.

The Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos is the oldest university in South America, founded in the 1500s. It is a state school with multiple training sites for medical students and residents. Penn medical students can have international experiences in obstetrics and gynecology in two of its primary sites in Lima, the Hospital Materno-Infantil San Bartolome and the Instituto Nacional Materno-Perinatal. These primary sites for core courses in obstetrics and gynecology for Peruvian medical students offer lectures, exposure to outpatient clinics, and labor and delivery experience. Students can be active participants in the outpatient and inpatient setting.

  • The Hospital Materno-Infantil San Bartolome is the oldest hospital in Peru, founded 350 years ago. It is totally devoted to the care of women and children. It has 7,000 deliveries annually with significant gynecologic and pediatric surgery. The hospital serves an indigent population with no private patients. It is located in the center of Lima. It has a well-established tradition of programs for both medical students and residents, under the supervision of a large attending staff. Despite the lack of economic resources, the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is run following an American model, with constant lectures, rounds, grand rounds and morbidity-mortality conferences, and significant degrees of supervision.
  • The Instituto Nacional Materno-Perinatal is the largest maternity hospital in Peru and one of the largest in Latin America, with close to 100 deliveries per day. It has a residency program and attending staff, but because of the high volume, most deliveries are done by medical students and midwives, without the degree of supervision offered at San Bartolome. It is a great place for “hands-on” experience in a less-structured environment.

These sites in Peru are overseen at Penn by Dr. Jack Ludmir, Professor and Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pennsylvania Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Originally from Peru, Dr. Ludmir has been a faculty member at Harvard and Penn, and he is currently Honorary Professor in two medical schools in Peru. For the past fifteen years, he has been involved in mentoring Peruvian doctors and sending United States residents to Lima. He has close personal and professional contacts onsite who ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for room and board.

Oversight in Peru is provided by a number of Dr. Ludmir’s colleagues. At San Bartolome Hospital, these are Dr. Santiago Cabrera Ramos and Dr. Aurora Villar Chamorro. Dr. Cabrera is the General Director of the Hospital, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at San Marcos. He is Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and is in constant contact with Pennsylvania Hospital, exchanging guidelines, protocols and residents. Dr. Villar is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at San Marcos. She has tremendous experience teaching in outpatient and inpatient settings. She is a great clinician-educator for students and residents, and also has an active private practice. At the Instituto Nacional Materno Perinatal, oversight is provided by Dr. Victor Bazul, Director of the hospital and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at San Marcos. Dr. Bazul has significant experience in guiding students, residents, and midwives.

If you have a serious interest in pursuing this opportunity, and meet the language and study requirements, please contact Dr. Jack Ludmir (

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North America

United States

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USA:  Bridging the Gaps

BTG matches student interns with approximately 100 nonprofit community partners in Philadelphia, Erie, Pittsburgh, and the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey. Students' projects are designed in collaboration with the community organizations, based on community-defined needs and the professional discipline and interests of the students.  To learn more about how you can get involved, please visit the Bridging the Gaps website

USA: Indian Health Service/Chinle, AZ

The Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHC) is a 60-bed inpatient hospital and outpatient clinic providing medical care for ~35,000 Navajo in a rural area, where many patients travel 50 miles each way to get care.  There are elderly patients who live according to traditional cultural practices and speak only Navajo.  A large number of CCHC patients have no electricity or running water in their homes.  CCHC plays a large role in the provision of public health programs for the Navajo Nation and the staff are trained in internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics, OB/GYN, general surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, pharmacy, PT/OT, optometry, psychiatry, dentistry, and radiology. 

CCHC provides an outpatient elective experience to fourth year medical students.  Housing may be provided. CCHC is located in one of the most scenic areas of the country, within a half-day drive of more than 12 national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce, and Zion. 

  • Slide show
  • Application:  Submit letter of intent to Jessica Weeks (, Education Coordinator and Janet Blacksheep, Adminsitrative Assistant ( describing your future goals, plans for work/residency, and interest in a rotation with the Indian Health Service in Chinle.  Include the specific dates that you would like to rotate (4-week minimum) and note that rotations often fill up six months in advance
  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2014, 2013, 2012, 20112010, 2009

USA:  HSHPS:  Hispanic-Serving Health Professionals Schools

Numerous public-health focused internships and fellowship programs for Hispanics and non-Hispanics.  Opportunities in Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland; Arizona, California, and Texas borders with Mexico; and Puerto Rico and Ecuador.  For more information and application, visit the HSHPS website

USA:  Puentes de Salud

Puentes de Salud (Bridges of Health) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that promotes the health and wellness of South Philadelphia's rapidly growing Latino immigrant population through high-quality health care, community building and innovative educational programs.The foundation of Puentes de Salud rests on the belief that community health is not the sole domain of health care providers. Health and wellness result from a collaborative, multidisciplinary effort that focuses stakeholders and resources on addressing the conditions in which we grow, learn, live, work and age. These conditions influence an individual's vulnerability to illness and its consequences. While providing health care to the South Philadelphia Latino community, Puentes de Salud also works in partnership with community members, local public schools, universities, governmental institutions and other nonprofit organizations to improve the adverse economic and social conditions that threaten the health of this vibrant, yet vulnerable community.  Puentes de Salud relies on the diverse skills of nearly 200 volunteer staff who develop and implement clinical, educational and research programs. Volunteers are drawn from many disciplines, including medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, psychology, law, education, urban design and visual arts.  Email Puentes de Salud if you are interested in volunteer opportunites.

USA:  Texas-Mexico Border:  STEER (South Texas Environmental Education and Research)

South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) immerses health professions students and faculty in the unique culture and environment of the Texas-Mexico Border. STEER's purpose is to reunite Medicine and Public Health. You may choose to take STEER in Harlingen, Laredo, or both sites for a practicum or elective.  Students come from medical and public health schools across the US.  More information and application are available on the STEER website of the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Penn Med Student-Arranged Activities:  Reports & Advice

  • Argentina: CEDES (2006)
  • Argentina: Fundacion Banco de Alimentos Buenos Aires (2014)
  • Argentina: Fundacion E.C.O. (2008)
  • Argentina: Hospital Pediatrico Garrahan (2009)
  • Argentina: Hospital Italiano (2007)
  • Argentina: IECS (2006)
  • Argentina: Ieladeinu Buenos Aires (2014)
  • Argentina: Universidad de Buenos Aires (2012, 2009)
  • Australia:  Monash University Medical Centre (2007)
  • Australia:  University of Sydney (2007)
  • Bolivia:  Hospital del Nino in La Paz (2008, 2006)
  • Brazil: Santa Casa Hospital (2009)
  • Chile: Hospital Oriente (2012)
  • Chile: Hospital of the University of Chile Santiago (2013)
  • Chile: Universidad Catolica de Chile (2009)
  • Dominican Republic:  CEPROSH in Puerto Plata (2011, 2005)
  • Dominican Republic: El Portal de Belen Foundation Don Juan (2013)
  • Dominican Republic:  Filter Pure Santiago (2011)
  • Dominican Republic: Kerolle Initiative for Community Health (2013)
  • Dominican Republic:  Penn ID Research in Consuelo (2007)
  • Ecuador: Andean Global Studies (2010)
  • Ecuador:  Child Family Health International (2004)
  • Ecuador: Hospital de Niños (2011)
  • Ecuador:  Maternidad Isidro Ayora (2010)
  • El Salvador: CAIPES Clinic (2013)
  • El Salvador: Doctors for Global Health Santa Marta (2012)
  • Guatemala:  Bomberos Voluntarios de Guatemala (2005)
  • Guatemala:  Camino Seguro (2006)
  • Guatemala: God's Child Project (2011)
  • Guatemala:  Primeros Pasos (2008)
  • Guatemala: Unidad de Cardiologia (2009)
  • Guyana:  USAID (2008)
  • Honduras:  Christ the King Mission (2006)
  • Honduras: Clinica Esperanza (2013)
  • Mexico:  I-to-I in Monterrey (2006)
  • Mexico/Texas: Summer Medical Institute (SMI): Southern Texas & Matamoros Mexico (2007, 2005)
  • Nicaragua: Asociacion Pro Ayuda a la Ninez Nicaraguense (2010)
  • Nicaragua: Lowering Poverty and Disease (2012)
  • Panama: Centro Intl Radiocirurgia y Radioterapia Oncologica Panama City (2013)
  • Panama: Instituto Oncologico Nacional Panama City (2011)
  • Peru: CCEB Chagas Disease Research Project (2013)
  • Peru: CDC/Hopkins Research in Lima (2006, 2005)
  • Peru: Instituto Damos Vision (2006)
  • Peru: Rotary International Cusco Peru (2009)
  • United States: Alaska Native Tribal Health (2014, 2011)
  • United States: Harvard Surgery in Global Health Conference (2010)
  • Uruguay:  Asistencial (2007)

Last Updated: November 10, 2016

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