FAQ


For Penn Med Students...

I've missed the February 1 deadline for submitting a Planning Form. Is a global health experience still possible?

Yes, submit your form as soon as possible to make sure there is an adequate amount of time to plan your trip and that CGH funds are available.

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To pursue the Botswana clinical elective as an MS3/4, am I required to submit a Planning Form?

No.  For the Botswana clinical elective, be sure to register for and attend the mandatory information session that is announced by email in the fall.  You must also meet the deadline for submission of the lottery form that you will receive shortly after that session.

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To apply for the Max Kade Fellowship as an MS4, should I submit a Planning Form?

No, it is not necessary to submit a Planning Form; simply respond to the invitation to submit an application that CGH sends via email in the summer. 

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What should I do if my plans change after I submit a planning form?

If your plans change, please contact CGH and let us know if you wish to cancel entirely or simply changes dates and/or destination.  If you have been approved for CGH funding, the funding amount will be adjusted to the appropriate level for your new plans. 

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How do I set up a meeting for advice regarding my global health interests?

Begin by carefully reviewing the information on this website and preparing your specific questions.  Email CGH to request a meeting and provide a few dates and times when you are available.

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Can I get credit towards graduation for my global health experience?

When you submit registration and evaluation forms, as required, your experience will be automatically noted on your transcript.  However, you will not receive credit towards graduation.  The only exception is the Botswana clinical experience for which the commitment is seven weeks and you earn four weeks of away elective credit.

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CGH requires a four-week commitment for funding. Is an exception possible?

No exceptions are possible for this requirement.   CGH requires that a student be in a location working full-time on a project for a minimum of four weeks.

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I know that CGH does not fund experiences in countries on the US State Department's Current Travel Warnings list but could I request an exception to this rule as I know the country and language well and have a support system there?

You are strongly encouraged to explore opportunities in another country as 99% of such exceptions requests will be denied. 

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Am I limited to global health experiences presented on your website?

No, you are welcome to explore other opportunities that meet the requirements of CGH with respect to location, length, and relevance.  Clinical experiences require CGH approval before you proceed to make arrangements. 

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Do I need to submit a Registration Form if I am not getting funding from CGH?

Yes, all global health-relevant travel must be registered. In addition to being a professional obligation, CGH works in coordination with the Registrar to file your global health travel on your official record.

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Does my personal health insurance cover me while I am traveling?

Please contact your insurance carrier directly to learn the limits of coverage and whether you should purchase additional insurance.

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Should I purchase emergency evacuation insurance?

No. On a complimentary basis, the University of Pennsylvania provides emergency (medical and security) evacuation insurance via International SOS for University-related travel.  For coverage, complete the Registration Form, including the entire checklist.

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I made arrangements with my mentor via telephone. Do I need documentation in writing?

Yes, we cannot process your forms without official documentation from your host-country mentor or supervisor.  Documentation should be sent by the mentor on official stationery or from an organizational email address and must include specific dates and responsibilities.

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For a Global Health Certificate, do I need to take PUBH519 Issues in Global Health if I have already completed similar courses?

To request a waiver of PUBH519, please submit a transcript and syllabus documenting that the course or courses cover all the material in the PUBH519 to Megan Doherty.

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CGH funding is not sufficient to cover all costs of my global health experience. Am I permitted to get additional funding from outside organizations?

This is permitted if the outside organization is not included on our funding page and if they do not restrict funds in a conflicting way.  Funding from more than one SOM or Penn entity is not permitted. 

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When will I get my travel advance?

Although you may receive your travel advance in only a few weeks, we require that you submit all registration materials at least six weeks in advance to allow for unforeseen delays.  Once CGH has received your registration materials in full, you will receive an email with personalized instructions for completing a report via Concur.

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After return from travel, where do I go to reconcile my Travel Advance?

After CGH has received your Report/Questionnaire, you will receive an email with personalized instructions for completing a report via Concur.

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For International Students...

May I apply independently if I am from one of the listed affiliated medical schools?

No, students may only apply with and be selected by the representative designated in the affiliated institutions above.   We cannot accept independent applications given the limited availability of openings in each elective.

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Am I eligible to apply if I am a US citizen attending an unaffiliated medical school?

Unfortunately, US citizenship does not determine eligibility.  Eligibility is limited to students attending affiliated institutions.

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If my medical school is not affiliated with Penn, can we set up an exchange agreement?

At this time the Center for Global Health is not establishing new exchange agreements.

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Do I need to obtain a special identification (ID) card to participate in clinical electives?

Each elective site has its own identification requirements.  When you report to your assigned elective, you will be instructed on how to obtain identification, if required.  In addition, you may opt to obtain a PennCard. 

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I understand that the maximum number of clinical electives is two. However, if I return at another time, may I register for an additional elective or two?

No, the maximum of two is applied to the sum of clinical electives any individual student takes at Penn at any time. The clinical elective experience for students from international medical schools is intended to provide exposure to a new health care and educational system. It is not meant to substitute for the requirements of a student's home medical school. As clinical elective slots are extremely limited, strict adherence to this restriction is mandated.

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How is a PennCard useful?

The PennCard is the official University of Pennsylvania identification card for students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Penn community. The PennCard is also used for many activities including building access, recreation, and library services.

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Do I need to obtain a special identification (ID) card for my research assignment?

Yes, students with research assignments are required to have a PennCard. 

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How do I obtain a PennCard?

Contact The Center for Global Health to arrange a time to pick up the required form that you will then bring, along with photo ID (e.g. passport, student ID card, driver's license), to the PennCard Center.  The PennCard is provided to you at no charge.

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How many days in advance of my assignment start date should I arrive?

You should plan your travel and housing accommodations according to your own discretion/comfort level.  Any administrative issues that may arise can be addressed during the first week of your assignment.

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How can I contact my course director prior to the start of my clinical elective?

Students should only contact their course directors or coordinators if specifically instructed to do so in the reporting details that accompanied the elective assignment provided CGH.  Otherwise, students are strongly discouraged from contacting the hosting department.

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If I am interested in a clinical elective not listed on the CGH application form, should I try to find the course director and ask for permission to enroll?

No, you must NOT contact any department's course director, physician, or administrator unless specifically authorized to do so. Failure to comply can result in a total rejection of your application.

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Am I eligible to participate in clinical assignments after graduation from my home institution?

No, you must be in active medical student status for the entire duration of your assignment at Penn and must be returning for completion of your studies at your home institution.

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Am I eligible to participate in research assignments after graduation from my home institution?

The research assignments arranged through CGH are generally intended for medical students who will return to their home institution to complete medical school.

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How can I improve the likelihood of being placed for a research assignment?

We require a minimum commitment of two months for research assignments.  You are more likely to be placed if you can be available for a longer period (up to 6 months).

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Is it possible to obtain a research assignment longer than 6 months duration?

No. The maximum research assignment is 6 months long. This cannot be extended under any circumstances.

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