Opportunities for Independent Projects

Students looking for opportunities outside of TUSM-established programs may pursue independent projects for the Summer Global Health Experience (for 1st year MD students), Applied Practice Experience (APE) or Integrated Learning Experience (ILE) (for MPH, MD/MPH, DVM/MPH, or other dual degree students), or Spring Clinical Elective (4th year MD or MD/MPH students). Students wishing to work with an Independent Program will be held to high standards and must have a well thought out application. Requirements include:

  • Identify a TUSM faculty mentor
  • Have an agreement with a credible partner organization (provide website if available) and a preceptor within that organization
  • Provide a detailed description of the partner organization and its experience working with students/capacity to provide support to students
  • Form a clear project proposal and plan for carrying out the project
  • Arrange all travel, housing, and project logistics
  • Projects must be a minimum of seven weeks long (four weeks for 4th year MD or MD/MPH students)

Examples of Independent Programs

Recently, TUSM students have pursued independent projects in Taiwan, Malaysia, Rwanda, Brazil, Armenia, India, (Chennai, Mumbai), Japan and other countries. Details for two of these programs are provide below:

  • Students are invited to do an independent project at Hospitalito in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. Located on the picturesque shores of Lago de Atitlan. Hospitalito is a non-profit hospital that serves the local Mayan people who live in the surrounding regions, hours from any other hospitals that have 24/7 emergency services. Hospitalito offers trauma and orthopedic surgery, OB/GYN, pediatrics, family medicine, ophthalmology, and emergency medicine staffed by local physicians. There are also rotating specialty clinics run by Guatemalan and foreign volunteer groups. Hospitalito has a full-time volunteer coordinator who supports volunteers from around the world including medical and public health students. 

    More information on the application process can be found at the Hospitalito website. Hospitalito also offers CME/CNE medical Spanish courses and opportunities for research. 

    For more information, contact:

    Aleksandra Yakhkind, MD MS
    Assistant Professor
    Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery
    Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts Medical Center


    Dara Arons, MD
    Clinical Assistant Professor
    Department of Family Medicine
    Tufts University School of Medicine


  • The Global Health Independent Program in Malaysia offers MPH and MD/MPH students a transformative 7-8 week summer experience in Kuala Lumpur. Participants engage in hands-on research in public health and reproductive health, gaining data collection and analysis skills and fostering a deep understanding of local challenges through direct community engagement. Malaysia's diverse cultural landscape provides a unique environment for cultural immersion, promoting global perspectives and cultural sensitivity. Participants establish connections with NGOs, fulfilling Applied Learning Experience (ALE) requirements and translating theoretical knowledge into practical skills. Program highlights include understanding issues affecting communities, women, and children, designing evidence-based interventions, exploring reproductive health systems globally, and analyzing the impact of diversity on healthcare access. This program promises academic growth, cultural enrichment, and the opportunity to advocate for public health beyond the classroom, encouraging prospective participants to apply for an experience that shapes compassionate and knowledgeable advocates for global health. 

    For more information contact: 

    Shayesteh Jahanfar, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine
    Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
    Tufts University School of Medicine


Students working on independent projects are strongly encouraged to start the planning process as early as possible, at least a few months before the application deadline.  For more information, examples of other organizations with which TUSM has informal relationships, or independent programs that TUSM students have worked with in the past, please contact:

MD students:

MPH, MD/MPH or other dual degree students: