Global Health

Michigan State University College of Human Medicine offers medical students several international health study opportunities throughout the academic year. Students often spend breaks between classes in the winter, spring and summer to travel abroad and experience international health in underserved areas of the world.

Early Clinical Experience (ECE) and Middle Clinical Experience (MCE) students may consider attending the college programs offered in Cuba and Costa Rica during Spring Break. Students in Late Clinic Experience (LCE) may work with the Director of Student Programs on their campus to obtain approval for international health study programs. See below for more information on International Clinical Electives. 

LCE students who are in the Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved (LMU) Certificate Program will work with the LMU Director to establish their international opportunities for their 4th year. Visit the LMU webpage for more information.

Students may contact Dr. Mieka Smart to discuss additional opportunities.

Electives

  • Learning About Health Care and Providing Care in Cuba

    Learning About Health Care and Providing Care in Cuba

    This College of Human Medicine Education Abroad Program is a 1 credit elective that introduces students to health care in Cuba. This program is intended to give first- and second-year College of Human Medicine students an introduction to a universal health care system where everyone is covered. In addition, this elective offers students the opportunity to provide service to hospitals, clinics, and the community. Therefore, this program will fulfill the CHM 40 hours of service requirement. Efforts will begin in the months prior to travel, in which students will assist with collecting medical supplies that will be provided during their visit to Cuba.  

    This elective is expected to relaunch in 2023.

    Instructional Objectives

    1. Learn about the history of the Cuban health care system
    2. Compare Cuban and US health care systems and statistics
    3. Understand the limitations of food availability in Cuba
    4. Provide service and medical supplies to the Cuban communities

     

    Faculty Course Director & Instructor: Dr. Mieka Smart, 810-600-5682

  • Broadening Perspectives on Health Care in Costa Rica

    Broadening Perspectives on Health Care in Costa Rica

    This College of Human Medicine Education Abroad Program is a 1 credit elective that provides students with an introduction to health care in Costa Rica. The program is provided in partnership with IHCAI Institute. It is intended to give first- and second-year College of Human Medicine students an introduction to a universal health care system where everyone is covered. In addition to the academic components, the program will also offer service opportunities with two non-government organizations that support breast cancer patients. Service will begin in the months prior to travel and culminate in the provision of supplies and service with patients in Costa Rica. This program will meet the CHM 40 hours of service requirement.

    This elective is expected to relaunch in 2024.

    Instructional Objectives

    1. Learn about the history and proposals for reform of the health care system
    2. Compare public and private health care
    3. Speak to patients about their experiences
    4. Learn about full-service rural health care clinics
    5. Learn about tropical diseases

    Faculty Course Director & Instructor: Dr. Mieka Smart, 810-600-5682

Resources

Preparing for International Experiences

Students preparing for an international experience should visit the following links for more information:

Checklist for International Health Experiences

  1. See the college's Global Health sponsored programs, scholarships and websites of other organizations that provide international programs for medical students. This is not an endorsement of other programs but a listing of sites for programs other medical students have used. View the "International Rotations" tab for additional opportunities.

  2. The policy of MSU College of Human Medicine is that students must complete their required third year clerkships and be in their fourth year before they can take any electives. A year-long experience abroad is best after the third year.

    After you have found an international clinical elective or clinical research, discuss this opportunity with your Director of Student Programs (DSP). Your DSP will let you know if this is an acceptable off campus experience.

    The Off Campus Clerkship requires a program description, dates, and a letter from the international site stating that you have been approved for the elective.

  3. Submit your letter of approval from the international site which includes the clerkship dates, and a brief program description to your community administrator. This information will be attached to the Inter Campus/Off Campus Clerkship Request form and will be sent to the appropriate department for approval. If approved, the department will forward the information to the CHM Records Officer who will return the information to the appropriate community administrator.

  4. Clinical students must apply for study abroad at least 6 weeks before departure through the MSU Office for Education Abroad (EA). To do this, please complete this online rotation entry form, which is automatically submitted to EA. On this form, you must provide firm arrival and departure dates, city/country, and indicate your community administrator for approval for evaluation for the college.

    A representative from EA will then create a program online based on your entry form, and will email you with instructions on how to submit an online EA application. You will also be asked to provide a cost estimate if you wish to request financial aid (EA sends your request to the Office of Financial Aid.) EA will charge you $300 for CHM required evacuation/repatriation and extra health insurance through HTH.

    If you plan your study experience in a country for which the US State Department has issued a travel warning then please follow the steps outlined by the Office for Education Abroad medical rotations webpage and EA must approve your travel.

    Students may check the Education Abroad website for information on scholarships. Follow directions to apply and note deadlines. No essay is required.

  5. You will need a valid passport and you may need a visa to enter a country. You should apply for both months in advance. Check your post office for passport applications. See useful information on obtaining a passport. Check the State Department website for visa information.

  6. At least 2 months before you travel, we recommend that you visit the MSU Travel Clinic at Olin Health Center or another Travel Clinic for advice on immunizations and preventive medications, if they are needed. MSU Office for Education Abroad policy is that if immunizations or medications are appropriate, they recommend, but do not require, that you get these before your departure. In some cases, you need immunizations to get into or out of certain countries. Call (517) 353-3161 for an appointment, to get some information, visit the Travel Clinic website or The World Health Organization. Be prepared to bring your immunization record with you to the clinic. (If you are at a community campus contact the area county health department which can advise you about travel immunizations.)

  7. The Office for Education Abroad (EA) will have your emergency contact info on file from your EA application, should an emergency arise in the country abroad. Prior to departure, EA will also ask you to complete this online on-site contact info form, which is used only in cases of an emergency. If an emergency occurs, refer to the card you will receive by email before you go abroad, and call COLLECT the MSU Emergency Assistance line at (517) 353-3784. This number can be accessed world wide at all times. Emergencies are defined as serious threat to safety, security or health. Your evacuation/repatriation insurance card will also provide numbers to call.

  8. The College of Human Medicine strongly recommends that you prepare for your global health experience. Read the online EA Student Handbook on safety and preparation. We encourage you to also prepare to take advantage of the cross cultural opportunities you will have while abroad, recommendations can be found here.

Resources for International Rotations

The following websites are for resource purposes only. You will need to work with the individual
international opportunity for application and access to rotations.

  • Emergency Residents' Association (EMRA)
    An international elective can be a rich experience. By rotating outside of the United States, medical students gain exposure to different cultures, health systems, populations, and medical practices. Even for the student who plans for a future career entirely within the US, recognizing and learning to deal with cultural barriers can be very helpful. By rotating outside of the US, medical students are guaranteed to see a health system that spends less per capita than the American system.

  • George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences – Office of International Medicine Programs/Partners

  • Universidad Autonoma De Nuevo Leon
    Outpatient Elective in Family Medicine at UANL, Monterrey, Mexico.
    (Approved Family Medicine FM 610 Elective offered by CHM)
    Contact: Joy Hull, Course Assistant. hullam@msu.edu or 517‐884‐0424

  • Global Health India
    Rural health delivery to a variety of patients, with experience in pediatrics, women’s health, mental health and tropical disease.
    (Approved Primary Care elective offered by CHM)
    Contact: Dr. Aniruddh Behere. Aniruddh.Behere@helendevoschildrens.org

  • Kenyatta University/PACE Rural Clinic ‐ Kenya
    Outpatient Elective in Family Medicine conducted by Dr. Kenya Sekoni.
    (Approved Family Medicine FM 610 Elective offered by CHM)
    Contact: Dr. Kenya Sekoni sekonike@msu.edu