Skip to main content
Expertise in Global Health

Global Health Training for MD Students

MD students at IU School of Medicine can benefit from a variety of global health experiences. Beginning with the first year of training, medical students take a course that advances their cultural competency and can join a student interest group dedicated to global health. Summer and spring break programs allow for deeper immersion, and a range of electives allow for specialty focus in various aspects of global health.

Global Health Student Interest Group

Medical students interested in global health are encouraged to participate in the Global Health Student Interest Group (SIG), a student-led organization that hosts meetings, lectures and activities for participants. This group hosts an annual Hunger Banquet to create awareness and educate the community about global poverty.
Bilal Jawed at AMPATH Kenya

Slemenda Scholars Program

Several rising second-year medical students are invited to travel to Eldoret, Kenya for eight to ten weeks during the summer months. Students learn about the many facets of the AMPATH program, live alongside Kenyan students at Moi University School of Medicine, complete projects and present their activities as part of the IU School of Medicine Medical Student Research Day. For more information, email Jenny Baenziger.

ENLACE: Alternative Spring Break – El Salvador

Open to all Phase 1 students from any IU School of Medicine campus, the ENLACE Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program seeks to heighten awareness of global public health issues, wrestle with the ethics of global volunteerism, hone a more complex understanding of global health infrastructure development and increase cultural humility, thereby encouraging a lifelong commitment to wide-ranging social advocacy and engagement.

During an amazing week in El Salvador, participants get down and dirty constructing an addition to a rural health clinic. New friendships form, with others on the trip and with El Salvadorans that students work and live with during the week. Participants come to know the world and themselves more deeply as they learn about El Salvador’s rich culture and complex history. ASB takes place during the Phase 1 Year 1 designated Spring Break Week. If interested, email Jennifer Custer or visit the IUPUI Study Abroad Office for more information and to submit an application.

ENLACE: El Salvador Summer Language and Cultural Immersion

Between Phase 1 Year 1 and Phase 1 Year 2, the ENLACE Summer Language & Cultural Immersion offers medical students an intensive month-long immersion experience in El Salvador. Participants discover the past and present of El Salvador through an intensive 2-day orientation; participate in small-group classes focused on conversational Spanish; live with host-families; shadow a variety of health care providers in public hospitals and community clinics; participate in home health visits with lay midwives; study the health care delivery system in El Salvador; increase cultural humility;  and analyze their experience against the backdrop of the six core principles of ethics in global health volunteerism. The Summer Language & Cultural Immersion is offered in June. If interested email Jennifer Custer or visit the IUPUI Study Abroad Office for more information and to submit an application. 

ENLACE: El Salvador Global Health Elective

ENLACE Global Health Elective-El Salvador (93ZH900) immerses Phase 3 medical students in a 4-week international global health experience in a developing country. Participants undergo an introduction to global health issues and policies; begin to think critically about ethics in global health volunteerism; examine global health challenges and compare and contrast the systematic, policy and experiential differences between health care in the US and El Salvador. Participants hone Spanish language skills in daily classes, work under the supervision of El Salvadoran health care providers and live with a host family. Clinical work occurs at community-based health care facilities, non-governmental public health organizations and health promoter organizations.

The Global Health elective occurs the months September and February. If interested, email Jennifer Custer or visit the IUPUI Study Abroad Office for more information and to submit an application.

Global Health Summer Education Internship

Rising second-year medical students can participate in the Global Health Summer Education Internship Program during the summer months. Participants establish and conduct research in global health while working collaboratively with key stakeholders to develop curricular materials to present as part of the IU School of Medicine Medical Research Day. For more information, email Jenny Baenziger.

MD Electives

Fourth-year medical students are invited to spend two months in Eldoret, Kenya. Students live alongside Kenyan medical students working in wards (general medicine, pediatrics, reproductive health or surgery) and outpatient clinics, and participate in AMPATH-related and local activities, including the Tumaini Center for Street Children, Rafiki Center for Excellence in Adolescent Health and Sally Test Child Life Program. Students attend lectures and discussions on ethical and global health issues facilitated by permanent IU School of Medicine faculty in Kenya. Upon return, students complete a debriefing session, a journal article or book review, and a reflection/analysis paper. Email Jenny Baenziger for more information.

Fourth-year medical students can travel to various areas across the globe to learn about and participate in health care in a developing country. Participating students complete orientation and debrief sessions, write a journal article or book review, and submit a reflection/analysis paper. Email Jenny Baenziger for more information.

Fourth-year medical students looking for international experience without leaving the United States may choose to participate in local avenues of health care for the Indianapolis global populations. Under the direction of Ruben Hernandez, MD, and the Department of Family Medicine, students spend time at clinics that serve a high volume of Hispanic and Burmese patients as well as the IU Travel Medicine Clinic, IU International Medicine Office, Immigration Welcome Center, the refugee intake clinic through the Marion County Health Department, and the Indiana Latino Health Organization.

The global health elective in Ghana is a four-week international health experience designed to immerse 3rd and 4th year students in the Ghanaian culture including language, public health issues and Ghanaian spiritual beliefs intersecting with health and illness. Students receive training by TMS Global (partnering institution) and Ghanaian professionals on language, culture and medical care as it relates to the patient-doctor relationship and medical decision-making. Students think critically about global health challenges and practices while developing basic Twi language skills and working side by side with host country health care providers located at the Ankaase Hospital in Ankaase, Ghana. Clinical work occurs at community, mission-based health care facilities and governmental based public health organizations. Contact Stacey Patrick for more information.

Students will have an opportunity to learn global health principles and have an alternative opportunity to connect virtually with global health organizations and international global health partners. For more information contact Jennifer Custer.