Penn Medical Students

Global Health Experiences / Education / Career

Lederer_Schram_Interpreters_Santiago_Atitlan_Guatemala At Penn Med, you are invited to expand your knowledge of and experience in global health.  You may focus on research or on clinical activities -- in resource-rich or resource-poor countries.  You can also have a global health experience without leaving home by working with an immigrant community in Philadelphia, serving as an interpreter, and/or acting as a peer host for a visiting international medical student. The Center for Global Health, in cooperation with the Office of the Registrar of the Perelman School of Medicine, coordinates global health experiences, provides course work in global health, and advises students on how to earn a Global Health Certificate to accompany the MD degree.  Competitive scholarships and prizes for global health may also be available.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Yes, please submit your form at any time.  In the unlikely event that The Center for Global Health funds are no longer available to assist you with this experience, we will notify you.

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.

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 The Center for Global Health typically sends via email in the summer. 

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

If your plans change, please contact The Center for Global Health. We need to know if you wish to cancel entirely or simply changes dates and/or destination.  If you have been approved for The Center for Global Health funding, the funding amount will be adjusted to the appropriate level for your new plans. 

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.  Request a meeting by emailing The Center for Global Health.  In the email, be sure to provide a few dates and times when you are available to meet and you may include specific items for discussion if you like. 

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.

The Center for Global Health requires a four-week commitment for funding.  Is an exception possible?

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

I know that The Center for Global Health 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. 

Am I limited to global health experiences on the Opportunities pages of this website? 

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

Do I need to submit a Registration Form if I am not getting funding from The Center for Global Health?

Yes, all global health-relevant travel must be registered.

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.

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. 

My visit with Student Health Services (SHS) has not yet been completed. I have finished all other parts of the Registration Form.  Should I submit these forms and send the SHS form later?

No, The Center for Global Health will not process incomplete forms.  There is no advantage to submitting incomplete materials.  

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.

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 to The Center for Global Health a transcript and syllabus documenting that the course or courses cover all the material in the PUBH519.

The Center for Global Health (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. 

Must I complete all three travel advance forms before traveling? 

Yes, even though the C-1 is for reimbursement, because of the way Penn's financial offices work, this must be submitted before you travel, along with the C-7 and the Request for Travel Funds. 

When will I get my travel advance?

Although you may receive your travel advance in only a few weeks, we recommend that you submit your paperwork at least six weeks in advance to allow for unforeseen delays.  After submission to The Center for Global Health electronically and in hard copy (as instructed on forms), you will be directed via email to our Finance Office in Anatomy-Chemistry. 

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

Reconciliation is to be arranged with Tracey Betzale in the Finance Office, 417 Anat-Chem. 

Please let The Center for Global Health know if you would like to see additional questions answered here. 


Last updated: July 10, 2015

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