Asia Opportunities (including Mideast & Oceania)

The Center for Global Health can help students to pursue global health experiences in several Asian countries.  Please click on the country name to explore specific opportunities.  Under "Penn Med Student-Arranged Experiences" you will find ragpicker in mumbai slum surrounded by landfillinformation about a large number of additional activities that Penn Med students have arranged on their own. 

East Asia


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China: Beijing Acupuncture Education International

China Beijing International Acupuncture Training Center(CBIATC) was set up in 1975 at the request of the World Health Organization (WHO) and with the approval of the State Council. Under the leadership of the Chinese government, WHO and the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS), it has developed into an authoritative organization of acupuncture training that is well known in the world. 

In the 1970s, in response to foreign demand, the Chinese Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Trade asked the State Council for guidelines to run an acupuncture training course for foreign doctors.  With the approval of the State Council and the full support of WHO, the training center was established in April 1975, and it was acknowledged as an International Acupuncture Training Center by the United Nations Development Program in 1982.  In 1983, it was named CBIATC, according to File 281 of the Ministry of Health, to reflect the fact that more and more foreign doctors were coming to study acupuncture. Aimed at spreading acupuncture to medical workers all over the world, the center has provided training in acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Qigong, etc. for more than 100 countries. As the WHO collaborating center for traditional medicine, the center has successfully fulfilled the task given by WHO: "to perfect methods for training in acupuncture and to provide training opportunities for foreign students."

  • Application:  For more information and to apply, contact Dr. Jun Mao in Family Medicine. 
  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Special Requirements:  Student Health Services will prescribe Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) drugs -- student must travel with PEP

China: Jintan Child Health Project

Dr. Liu is an Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and also a faculty member of the Penn MPH program and CEET in the School of Medicine. Dr. Liu's research examines early health risk factors, including prenatal/postnatal (e.g. birth complications, prenatal stress, prenatal toxin exposure), early nutrition, and environmental toxicity (e.g. lead and tobacco exposure) and how they influence emotional and behavioral development in children and adolescents. She is particularly interested in how brain mechanisms account for these early health factors and later behavior outcomes. Her research has three main features: an interdisciplinary collaborative approach, working in international settings, and the use of longitudinal methodology. She is the PI on the China Jintan Child Health Project, a longitudinal study set up in 2004 which follows children into adolescence to investigate the influence of lead exposure and micronutrient deficiency on children's behavior. Dr. Liu's research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

About Jintan: Jintan is located in southern Jiangsu, 150 miles from Shanghai and 35 miles from Nanjing. Due to limited mobility for people from Jintan, it is ideal for a longitudinal study to follow up and track study participants. Jintan is a fast developing city with different social structures, which may also help in assessing the influence of the social environment.

Please contact Dr. Liu ( for more information about working with her on this project in Philadelphia and in China. (updated 4/18/2012) Top ↑

China: Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine:  Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine has invited Penn medical students (MS1-4) to participate in a special introductory course to traditional Chinese medicine.  Students will be exposed to philosophy, principles, and practices of Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and moxibustion (a technique using a stick or cone of burning mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris, is placed over an inflamed or affected area on the body to stimulate and strengthen the blood and the life energy, or qi, of the body), massage therapy, and herbal therapies.  There will also be presentations on community and public health services.  In addition, students may be provided with opportunities to improve their Mandarin language skills and to practice martial arts. 

  • Availability:  January to December
  • Length of rotation:  4 weeks to 6 months
  • Language:  training will be in English and Mandarin.  An intermediate level of Mandarin comprehension and speaking ability is a prerequisite.  Chinese writing skills will allow the participate to have a more enriching experience.
  • Accommodations: For a fee of 150 RMB (approximately $20) per day, students will be provided with a double room (single rooms may be availabe for 300 RMB per day) on campus.
  • Tuition:  $200 per week
  • Application Process: At least two months in advance of your planned study date, please submit the following, via email attachment, to The Center for Global Health:
    • 1-2 page statement, describing your background and interest in traditional Chinese medicine.  Please be sure to specify your Chinese language skill level
    • CV, including a list of medical school courses completed
    • transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable)

For your information, we are providing you with a sample of a similar program that was designed for a small group of Hong Kong University medical students in 2006.  Your specific program may vary considerably from this sample. 

Clinical Electives for MS 3-4:  Shanghai Jiao Tong University also offers Penn medical students the opportunity to participate in clinical electives in leading hospitals (Renji, Ruijin, and Shanghai Children's) in Shanghai where predominantly western medicine is practiced, with integration of some traditional Chinese medicine.  Electives are available as follows: 

  • Internal medicine
  • Hematology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Respiratory
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • General Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Urology
  • Orthopedics
  • Radiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Genetics

To apply for a clinical elective, follow all of the application instructions provided above and specify the electives of interest in your statement.  Please note that most of these electives require intermediate to advanced level of Chinese reading and writing skills, as well as Mandarin oral comprehension and speaking skills.  There may be an opportunity for non-Chinese speakers as well.  To inquire about these or any other specific questions about the opportunities described above, you may contact Professor Fanyi Zeng, Senior Assistant to the Dean, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2010


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Japan: Schools of Medicine of Keio University, Kyoto University, and Nagoya University

There are varied research and clinical opportunities in four locations in Japan: Keio University School of Medicine, Kyoto University School of Medicine, and Nagoya University School of Medicine. Each of these institutions will take a small number of students for research or clinical rotations.  Please direct inquiries to the office of The Center for Global Health.

Japan: University of Tokyo Faculty and Graduate School of Medicine

Penn medical students can pursue a variety of research and clinical opportunities at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine.  Please see scholarship information below and direct inquiries to the office of The Center for Global Health.

  • University of Tokyo Scholarship: For stays of three months or more, Penn students are invited to apply for special scholarships from the government of Japan that provide a discount economy class roundtrip air ticket and a monthly stipend of 80,000 Japanese Yen (~$775 in March 2008).
    • Applications should be prepared six months to one year before the start of the program.  Please contact The Center for Global Health for more information.  
  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2014, 2005


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Korea: Seoul National University College of Medicine

Penn medical students in their third and fourth year can pursue a large variety of research and clinical opportunities at the Seoul National University College of Medicine (SNUCM). Experiences at SNUCM can be between one and three months in duration. Housing is typically available for $15 to $30 per night.

  • Applications should be submitted a minimum of three months before the start of the program. Please contact The Center for Global Health for more information.


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Singapore: National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

The National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine offers clinical electives to Penn medical students who are already in their clinical years.  A large number of electives are available at more than 10 different clinical sites.  NUS has a website with an online application. Complete applications must be submitted at least 3 months prior to the start of the clinical elective but no more than 12 months in advance. 

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice:  2014, 2006



Taiwan: National Taiwan University College of Medicine

National Taiwan University College of Medicine (NTUCM) offers clinical electives for foreign medical students who have completed the basic medical sciences and partially completed clerkships.  In order to be eligible for a limited number of clinical clerkship positions for foreign medical students, students must be in good health and in good academic standing in their own medical school.  They should have completed and passed at least 48 weeks of required clerkships including a course of Internal Medicine, and they need proficiency in Chinese or English.  Teaching is mainly in Mandarin, accompanied by English textbook, slides, and history system.

South & Southeast Asia


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India: All India Institute of Medical Science

All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is a leading academic medical center in New Delhi that was created through an Act of Parliament in 1956 as an autonomous national institution.  AIIMS was established to develop patterns of teaching in undergraduate and post-graduate medical education that would set a high standard of medical education in India; to bring together in one place educational facilities of the highest order; and to attain self-sufficiency in post-graduate medical education.  The Institute has comprehensive facilities for teaching, research and patient care. AIIMS strives to make world class clinical care available to millions of underprivileged citizens of India and neighboring countires.  Its corridors are thronged by patients, most of them too poor to afford quality treatment elsewhere.  Teaching and research are conducted in 42 disciplines. In the field of medical research in India, AIIMS is a leader, with more than 600 research publications annually.

AIIMS is generally considered the leading academic medical center in India among 150 government operated medical schools.  AIIMS operates a 2,000 bed hospital and outpatient service (more than 3,000 daily visits) in an urban area, providing exposure to a wide variety of simple and complicated illnesses.  New Delhi is the capital of India and has many historic sites and numerous bazaars, restaurants, and cultural amenities.  International students are accommodated in medical student dormitories (enhancing contact with AIIMS medical students).  These are always available to female students and may be available to male students.  AIIMS is recommended for students interested in a wide exposure to diseases in a developing country in an outstanding tertiary care hospital.  A two-month rotation is suggested.  Internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics & gynaecology, pediatrics, otorhinolaryngology, and community medicine (rural posting near Delhi Village) are among the possibilities.  Basic departments like pathology and microbiology are also options.  AIIMS summer holidays are from mid May to mid July.  It is therefore not possible to participate during those two months.  The best period is between October and March, after the monsoon season and before the heat of summer.  Interested students should contact The Center for Global Health for consultation and initiation of the application process.

  • Application (apply as early as possible, preferably at least four months in advance; it will take 1-2 months to receive a reply from AIIMS).  To apply, send the following four items as email attachments to The Center for Global Health:
    1. Letter of request:  this letter should specify the time period in which you are available (minimum of one month and maximum of two) and the disciplines which you would like to pursue
    2. Your CV/resume
    3. Copy of Passport face page
    4. Additional scanned passport-size photo
  • Cost:  Nominal fees are charged for this experience
  • Logistics:  Accommodations are not always available on campus.  If needed, the Dean's office at AIIMS will provide a list of recommended hotels/inns near campus.  In addition, if you opt for a rural experience, hostel facilities are available. 

India: AVSAR:  Alliance of Volunteers for Service, Action & Reform (not currently available)

AVSAR is a US-based nonprofit organization offering structured volunteer and internship service opportunities in Mumbai, India.  AVSAR connects volunteers to grassroots nonprofit organizations working to provide healthcare and other services in the slums and underprivileged areas of Mumbai and Delhi (often with street children, child-laborers, sweatshop employees, etc.). The experience is structured, rewarding, and provides excellent support at minimal cost.  AVSAR recruits year-round.  There are opportunities in public health and medicine. 


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India: Christian Medical College

Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore, India, is one of the leading academic medical centers in India.   CMC began in 1900 as a one-bed clinic established by Dr. Ida Scudder, an American missionary. Two years later, in 1902, Dr. Scudder built a 40-bed hospital, the forerunner of today's 1700-bed medical center. In 1909, she started the School of Nursing, and in 1918, a medical school for women was opened. CMC occupies a prominent place among medical institutions in India (and in the world) as a 2,000-bed multi-campus complex that is a vital, diverse, inter-denominational community.  The Center for Global Health has an inspiring DVD on CMC.  Please contact us if you would like to borrow it. 

  • Clinical Opportunities for Penn Medical Students
    CMC is noted for training primary care physicians and is a major referral center for India.  In addition, CMC operates a primary care facility for a local population of 100,000 people.  CMC offers clinical opportunities in the hospital as well as in the community service program.  Penn students are accommodated in the same dormitories as CMC students, providing close contact with resident students and faculty.  CMC is a warm community of physicians and caregivers and would provide an outstanding clinical experience in India, particularly for those interested in primary care provision in a developing country.  A two month experience is recommended. 
  • Research Opportunities
    In addition to the opportunities described above, Dr. Kurien Thomas, the director of an INCLEN (International Clinical Epidemiology Network) unit at CMC, has enthusiastically agreed to an affiliation with Penn Medicine, under which he can take responsibility for a few Penn students each year. These experiences can be either clinical assignments in the hospital or clinical research in their Indian Clinical Epidemiology Network (IndiaCLEN) unit.

It is recommended that students pursue experiences in India between October and March, after the monsoon season and before the heat of summer.  Interested students should contact The Center for Global Health.

Please direct inquiries to the Office of The Center for Global Health.

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2012. 2009

India: Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed

The Comprehensive Rural Health Project, Jamkhed (CRHP), has been working among the rural poor and marginalized for over 40 years. Founded in 1970 by Drs. Raj and Mabelle Arole to bring healthcare to the poorest of the poor, CRHP has become an organization that empowers people to eliminate injustices through integrated efforts in health and development. CRHP works by mobilizing and building the capacity of communities to achieve access to comprehensive development and freedom from stigma, poverty and disease. Pioneering a comprehensive approach to primary community-based healthcare (also known as the Jamkhed Model), CRHP has been a leader in public health and development in rural communities in India and around the world.

The work of CRHP has been recognized by the WHO and UNICEF, and has been introduced to 178 countries across the world. Annually, CRHP provides services that directly impact half a million people in the state of Maharashtra.  Since the opening of the Training Center in 1994, over 22,000 local and 2,700 international representatives from NGOs, governments and healthcare professionals have been trained in the CRHP approach. At the core of this comprehensive community-based approach is its embrace of equity for all, utilizing healthcare as a means to break the cycle of poverty.


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Thailand: Chulalongkorn University College of Public Health

Penn medical students may pursue public health/epidemiology internships at the Chulalongkorn University College of Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand.  There will be 1-2 internships per year.  Although not required, Thai language skills are helpful, especially for field research.  This is an ideal year-out or scholarly pursuit activity.  A minimum commitment of 3 months is required.  Please note that this opportunity was made available to PennMed students through the efforts of Jaime Moo Young, PennMed Year Out Student 2006-7.

  • Background
    Chulalongkorn University is the oldest and one of the most prestigious universities in Thailand. The college of public health was established 15 years ago and has become a leading academic hub for research aimed at improving the health of people in the Southeast Asia region. Currently, the college is involved in projects about topics such as transmission of avian flu, reproductive health needs among tsunami victims, controlling infectious
    diseases along the Thai/Burma border, and resistence to ARVs among people living in slum communities. Chula is also collaborating on a joint project with UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the WHO called the AIDS Data Hub for Asia and the Pacific, which aims to collate, validate, and compile reliable epidemiological data concerning the AIDS epidemic in Asia. This project has been underway since July 2006.  It has a 2-3 year timeline, and a research assistant is needed to continue the work that was started by the 2006-7 Chula intern (Jaime Moo Young, MS3 Year Out PennMed student).

  • Internship Activities
    Interns at the Chulalongkorn University College of Public Health have opportunities for many different types of work. The college conducts several research projects simultaneously, and you may have the opportunity to work as a research assistant for one of them, depending on the stage of the project. You would help organize project logistics, collect data, compose questionnaires if necessary, analyze data, and write the report. If you have a particular topic of interest that is not currently being researched by the college, Chula staff will link you up with contacts and resources for you to conduct an independent research project, which would require more self-motivation. In addition to these research opportunities, you may be asked to render some services for the college, such as editing papers and reports for publication in English, teaching English to staff members for 2-3 hrs/week, or writing field reports on visits to sites in other provinces.

  • Financial Information
    This is an unpaid internship.  In 2006-7, estimated expenses were:
    • Estimated round-trip airfare: $1200-$1500
    • Daily transportation: $75/month
    • Room/board: $200-$500/month
    • Food/personal expenses: $200-300/month

  • Application
    MS1, 3, and 4 students may apply.  Although this internship is best suited to a year-out experience so that students have time to contribute substantially to a project, students who simply want an introduction to the field of public health and its applications in SE Asia can learn a lot in a few months.  They will have the opportunity to make some good contacts and gain exposure to some of the major public health issues in this region.  To apply, please prepare a 1-page statement describing your interest and how your background makes you a good fit for this opportunity.  Please attach the statement, along with a copy of your resume, in an email to The Center for Global Health

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice:  2013, 2009, 2007, 2006-7  also, see Penn Med Student-Arranged Activities Below for Report on Mae Tao Clinic experience 

Penn Med Student-Arranged Activities:  Reports & Advice 

  • Cambodia: Childrens Surgical Centre Phnom Penh (2012)
  • China: Crimson China Cultural Exchange (2006)
  • China: Chinese University of Hong Kong (2007, 2006)
  • China: Heilongjiang University (2011)
  • China: Hong Kong University Community Health (2007)
  • China: Lilly Asian Ventures China (2009)
  • China: Shepherds Field Childrens Village (2012)
  • China: St. Mary's Home for the Aged in Hong Kong (2007)
  • China: Tibet General Hospital (2006)
  • China: Tongren Hospital China (2009)
  • India:  Aravind Eye Hospital (2010)
  • India:  Bombay City Eye Institute (2005)
  • India:  Child Family Health International (2005)
  • India: Educate for Life Bakhel Rajasthan India (2013)
  • India:  Himalayan Health Exchange (2007, 2006)
  • India:  Indian Council for Medical Research & CDC (2005)
  • India: IKP Centre for Technologies in Public Health (2012)
  • India:  KEM Hospital in Mumbai (2006)
  • India:  Khambati Charity Hospital (2008)
  • India: MLB Medical College Jhansi (2011)
  • India:  Medical College of Baroda (2008)
  • India:  Sahara Center (2010)
  • India: Tata Cancer Hospital Kolkata (2013)
  • India:  Unite for Sight (2009, 2006)
  • India: World Health Organization New Delhi (2013)
  • Israel: Chaim Sheba Medical Center Tel Aviv (2012)
  • Israel: Hadassah Medical School Jerusalem (2012)
  • Israel: New England Institute of Jewish Studies:  Medical Ethics (2007, 2005)
  • Israel: Physicians for Human Rights (2010, 2009)
  • Israel: Sackler Faculty of Medicine (2012)
  • Israel: Schneider Children's Medical Center (2011, 2007)
  • Israel: Schlesinger Institute/Shaare Zedek Hospital Medical Ethics/Jewish Law (2007)
  • Isreal: Soroka University Medical Center Tel Aviv (2013)
  • Japan: Beyond Tomorrow Global Fund Tokyo (2012)
  • Japan: Showa University (2010)
  • Laos: Changing Childrens Lives Vientiane (2014)
  • Laos: World Health Organization (2012)
  • Nepal: Aloha Medical Mission (2013)
  • Nepal: Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children Banepa (2014)
  • New Zealand:  University of Otago (2010)
  • Philippines:  Philippine Heart Center (2007)
  • South Korea: Yonsei University College (2012)
  • Sri Lanka: Genetech Research Institute Colombo (2012)
  • Thailand: Lions Medical Exchange (2008)
  • Thailand: Mahidol University (2009)
  • Thailand: Mae Tao Clinic (2007)
  • Turkey: Vehbi Koc Foundation (2012, 2009)
  • Vietnam: Cho Ray Hospital Ho Chi Minh City (2013)
  • Vietnam: Experiential Learning International (2008)
  • Vietnam: Health Volunteers Overseas Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam (2011)
  • Vietnam: International Medical Options (2008)
  • Vietnam: US-Vietnam Emergency Medicine Rotation (2011)
  • Vietnam: Volunteers for Peace (2009)

Last updated: July 9, 2015

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