Penn Med Students
The Center for Global Health (CGH), in cooperation with the Office of the Registrar of the Perelman School of Medicine, invites you to expand your knowledge of and experience in global health. CGH coordinates global health experiences, provides course work in global health, and advises students on how to earn a Master of Public Health, Global Track or Global Health Certificate to accompany the MD degree.
Penn Med students may apply for the MD/MPH dual degree with a global health track. The MPH Global Health Track offers a curriculum designed specifically for applicants to the interdisciplinary Master of Public Health Program who are interested in both the theory and practice of global public health. Recognizing that global health is an emerging area in the field, Penn's global health curriculum delivers core public health skills within a global context. Funding opportunities exist for MD students interested in a dual degree with the MPH program.
The Global Health Certificate program is designed to benefit students who are interested in pursuing careers in this area by allowing them to demonstrate active engagement and longstanding commitment to global health. It is hoped that this commitment, as documented on the student's academic record, can help to overcome what is often a barrier for professionals seeking their first international health post.
- Complete two field experiences (*see Bridging the Gaps below for alternative), each lasting a minimum of 6 weeks (preferably 6-8 weeks), usually occurring the summer between MS1-MS2 and during MS3-MS4. To have these experiences qualify, student must:
- Complete the Global Health Experience Registration 6 weeks in advance of each experience;
- Note: The Registrar and CGH will not recognize any experience that is not registered before departure for international location
- Complete an Evaluation Form by your mentor/supervisor for the global health experience; you must provide the form to the evaluator before you return to Penn
- Complete the Global Health Experience Registration 6 weeks in advance of each experience;
- Enroll in PUBH519: Issues in Global Health course, offered by the Master of Public Health program in the Perelman School of Medicine. (More details can be found within the "Global Health Courses" section below)
- Note: To request a waiver of PUBH519, please contact Megan Doherty and submit a transcript and syllabus documenting the course or courses cover all the material in PUBH519. If a waiver is granted, you may use another global health-oriented PUBH course to satisfy the certificate requirement.
- Complete a scholarly pursuit (or equivalent in rigor) that is global health focused, as determined by CGH. Students should consult with CGH prior to initiating their scholarly pursuit to ensure appropriateness of their projects. Registration is via the standard MD scholarly pursuit process which includes approval from the Associate Dean for Curriculum.
- Note: To count for the Global Health Certificate, the Scholarly Pursuit must directly address: a health issue discussed in a global context; health issues affecting peoples in low-resourced countries; or health issues faced by transnational populations including immigrants, refugees, asylees and/or internally-displaced peoples.
- Submit a Global Health Certificate Request by the fall of your senior year.
Bridging the Gaps, a Community Health Internship Program
As an alternative for the summer between MS1 and MS2, students may wish to participate in this Penn Medicine program and have this experience credited as one of the required experiences for the Global Health Certificate.
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.
PUBH519: Issues in Global Health
(1 CU, Fall Semester, Tuesdays 5-7 PM & 1 hour breakout session)
This course presents an overview of issues in global health from the viewpoint of many different disciplines, with emphasis on economically less developed countries. Themes include the state of the planet, including populations, resources, and environment; determinants of global health, ethical perspectives, challenges in communicable and non-communicable disease, and intervention strategies.
Registration: Please note that before registering for this course, each student is responsible for ensuring that s/he has the approval of the home school. Medical students should contact the registrar.
Frontiers: Challenges in Global Health
This one-week Frontiers course is designed for medical students in their final year with a serious interest in global health. The course assumes a general background in global health and utilizes a problem-solving approach with active student participation, including student-prepared and -led sessions. The course has two components, discussion of selected strategic issues in global health and important methods in global health:
- Each strategic issue is initiated with a lecture/discussion followed by a student presentation of a relevant case study. Case studies address topics such as control of HIV/AIDS, the great neglected diseases, demography and population dynamics, maternal mortality, and child survival.
- Each methodological exercise is assigned to 3 students who act as instructors for the rest of the class. For each exercise, the student instructors are given a few structured questions and asked to provide answers using worked examples.
Registration: Admission is by permission of the course director and the course is limited to 12 students. Medical students should contact the registrar.
Other Penn Global Health Courses
Working with schools across Penn's campus, the Center for Global Health has identified a number of courses that could be of interest to students exploring various aspects of global health.
- Ecohealth (Environmental Change & Our Health)
- Health Sciences Online
- Institute for International Medicine Online Course
- Stanford Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training
- Tropical Medicine
- East Africa Diploma Course (for licensed clinicians)
- Gorgas Diploma Course (no medical students)
- Hopkins Summer Institute in Tropical Medicine and Public Health
- Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Diploma in Tropical Nursing (3-week course)
- Lumbreras Course in Lima, Peru at UPCH (3rd & 4th year medical students)
- U of Colorado Denver (health professionals only)
- U of Minnesota Online Global/Tropical Medicine Course
- West Virginia U Clinical Training in Tropical Medicine and Travelers' Health
- University of Pittsburgh Supercourse
- USAID Global Health eLearning Center Training
Penn medical students are eligible to take a Year–Out during their third year of medical school. See the "General Funding" tab on our website (Global Health Funding Opportunities) for specific programs and funding opportunities for year-out experiences.
Please note that you should see the Registrar to discuss the financial implications of taking a year out (i.e. leave of absence vs. active student).
The Center for Global Health coordinates global health research assistant opportunities for Penn students. By engaging in ongoing global health research at Penn, these opportunities provide Penn students with insights into global health careers and scientific discovery while sharpening or gaining skill-sets useful in the field. Most of these opportunities are available in the summer, though some are open throughout the academic year.
Summer research opportunities are distributed via email to the MS1 listserv, the GHSAC members, and the MPH Program beginning early in the Spring semester. Program details, as well as application instructions are included in these emails. Interested students can apply to any program; if more than one application, please rank your selections. Your application will be sent to the partner. If the partner is interested, they will reach out to CGH to set up an interview.
To be eligible for funding, or counted as a Global Health Experience, research opportunities must be at least 6 weeks long. For more information, please contact the Center for Global Health.
Penn Students should never agree to engage in activities at a global health site that they would NOT be qualified for at Penn Medicine.
Penn med students can choose from a variety of CGH-approved clinical rotations, which are based at our partner institutions and provide appropriate supervision and clinical exposure for trainees. Any clinical experience that could expose students to blood/body fluids will require the student to review PEP instructions and have a reliable source of PEP drugs. If the planned experience could include phlebotomy, IV placement, para- or thoracentesis, and/or lumbar puncture, the student must also complete ITD357 and a phlebotomy log before departure. Currently, the only pre-approved site for such work is the Botswana clinical elective arranged via selection process.
To propose any other clinical location, students must make an appointment with the CGH office to propose the activity. The scope of activities and background of the onsite supervisor/mentor (i.e. CV) are essential.
This is our current list of partners. They have different application processes. Please click on the link below for partners that interest you. Note that many links email CGH, this is because we work directly with the partner on these electives.
- Botswana Clinical Elective : This rotation works by selection process. An email will be sent to students when the application opens.
- Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI): Students can apply directly to RCSI. Contact: Ms. Malgorzata Jankowska. You must apply at least 6 months in advance.
- Trinity College Dublin
- University College Dublin
- Alaska Native Medical Center
- Indian Health Service (multiple sites)
- Bridging the Gaps Clinical Program- Prevention Point
- Puentes de Salud
More info on: Global Health Experience Procedures
More info on: CGH Student Funding
Students may explore other opportunities that meet the requirements of the Center for Global Health with respect to location, length, and relevance. Students who identify their own experience typically have a previous working relationship with the proposed organization. Clinical experiences require CGH approval at least four months before your planned start date before you proceed to make arrangements. The scope of activities and background of the onsite supervisor/mentor (i.e. CV) are essential.
If pursuing a non-CGH arranged opportunity, please put your onsite supervisor/mentor in contact with the CGH Office.
The Global Health Student Advisory Council (GHSAC) convenes global health student groups across schools and disciplines to integrate, strengthen, and expand global health opportunities for the Penn community and beyond. This collaborative effort brings together students, faculty, and staff with a focus or interest in global health. Integrating various groups mirrors the notion that global health is an interdisciplinary field and working in global health requires collusion with individuals and groups with varying perspectives and skill sets.
Current student groups on the GHSAC are:
- Penn Global Surgery Group
- Global Oncology Student Group
- Penn Vet One Health Club
- Global Health Society
- Penn Dental Chapter of AAPHD
If your group is interested, but not listed, please contact Maria Cortese Hering.