PHM15: Preparing for Global Health Experiences


Presenters: Gitanjli Arora, Phuc Le, and Christiana Russ


Overseas medical missions can be rewarding experiences for both trainees as part of a supervised program and attending physicians. There is substantial inequity in the global distribution of disease versus health care providers with most providers being located in developed countries and higher disease burdens in underdeveloped countries. The goal of global healthcare training is mutual benefit, where the provider gains clinical experience and the host country gains enhanced medical care. Both provider and hosts gain increased cultural awareness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for a meaningful international experience recommend 4 components:

  • Pre-trip Training. Don’t go without some idea of what to expect
  • Pre-travel preparations. Get your vaccines, travel plans, licensure, scope of practice taken care of.
  • Preceptorship by host and US faculty
  • Post-travel evaluation and feedback

Key Takeaways:

Providers in overseas medical missions will encounter challenging situations—culturally, ethically and medically. Get as much information beforehand. Be respectful of different cultural norms. Get a cultural ambassador. Keep in mind the Serenity Prayer. TH

Next Article:

   Comments ()