- At time of travel, you must be a third year (spring only) or fourth year (winter or spring) medical student or expanded clinical student at the University of Washington.
- You must be in good academic standing at the University of Washington School of Medicine.
- You must have completed all of your required coursework and required third-year clerkships prior to participation (medicine, pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and family medicine).
This course is designed for students with a genuine interest in global health and in caring for underserved populations. It is particularly suited for students in the Global Health Pathway. It offers a unique experience to explore a different culture, witness a different spectrum of diseases, and to understand the challenges of caring for the sick in areas with constrained resources. Many students have found these experiences to be some of the most meaningful and transformative they have had during medical school. However, by their very nature, clinical rotations in developing countries are deeply challenging, and much different from what students are used to in the U.S. It is important that applicants are realistic about this prior to applying to the program. Here are some of the challenges identified by prior students:
- The rotation may not be as rigorously structured as it rotations in the U.S., and willingness to be patient and adaptable are important.
- Teaching styles can be quite different, and pimping of students is the norm.
- The role of medical students may differ from what you are used to. Depending on the site, it may be more of an observership, rather than participating directly in patient care. In other places, the responsibilities you are asked to carry out may be challenging with your current level of training.
- There is likely to be very limited diagnostic support (clinical imaging and laboratory tests).
- Physical exam skills will be heavily relied on.
- Infection control standards may not be as good as in the US, putting you at increased risk of exposure to transmissible diseases such as TB and HIV.
- The care of patients, including their ability to receive tests and/or medications may be dependent on what they are able to pay. You will likely see patients who do not receive the care they need because they cannot afford it.
- You will likely see more suffering and deaths than you typically experience while working in U.S. hospitals. Limited resources may contribute to suffering and death, and witnessing this can be a difficult experience.
- Language barriers will likely limit your ability to converse with and interact with patients.
- Food, housing, transportation, and climate may not be what you are used to.
- You will be far away from family, loved ones, your usual forms of entertainment, and your usual sources of support.
Applicant Characteristics and Selection Criteria
- Demonstrate genuine interest in global health and care of the underserved.
- Exhibit qualities of professionalism, responsibility, maturity, independence, flexibility, humility and cultural sensitivity.
- Possess realistic expectations about the challenges of living and training in a resource-poor setting, including staffing and equipment.
- Foreign language proficiency where required by the host site.