Click on the countries below for additional information on the program at each location:
Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM), in conjunction with the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS), offers a global health elective for fourth year medical students. The global health elective will include a clinical rotation at UGMS's teaching hospital, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, in Ghana's capital city of Accra. Clerkships are available in the following departments: Medicine, Microbiology, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Anesthesia, Chemical Pathology, Hematology, Pediatrics, Pathology, Surgery, Radiology, Psychiatry, and Community Health.
Students may elect to do a clinical elective during a 4-week block during the months of January through May (subject to availability of clinical slots). Rotations must be a minimum of four weeks, with an eight week option available for those wishing to do a research or public health project. Students wishing to do a clinical elective must be accepted for placement by applying directly to the University of Ghana Medical School. Contact Lauren Kinderknecht for application document.
Students will rotate on inpatient units as well as in outpatient clinics. By the end of the rotation, students will have a broad exposure to both tropical and chronic non-communicable diseases and will learn skills in disease diagnosis, management, and prevention. Under the supervision of attending physicians, students will manage patients and follow them longitudinally during the duration of the rotation. Students will be expected to maintain a patient log and a reflection journal as educational tools to capture the different patient encounters, knowledge, and skills they acquire.
Students wishing to complete an independent project, such as an ALE, can arrange to stay an additional four weeks after completion of the clinical elective. Projects should be completed with the help of a faculty mentor and may be based on specific patients, health systems, public or community health issue identified by the student in close collaboration with the faculty mentor.
There is no language requirement to participate in this program, but use of translators will be necessary at times while working in the hospital. Housing is available within walking distance of the medical school for a fee.
Kimberly M. Burke
Tufts University School of Medicine
This program places 4th year medical students at Christian Medical College (CMC), the premier private medical school in India. CMC is located in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, which is in South India. TUSM has had a long relationship with CMC in infectious disease research and medical and graduate student exchange
CMC is collaborating with Tufts in planning and directing clinical and public health experiences for our students. Students will have the opportunity to participate in clinical rounds in areas of their interest at CMC's major teaching hospital, and to work in the Community Health and Development (CHAD) program in Vellore and its surrounding villages, where they will see and participate in public health practiced in a well-organized, community setting. Students can also participate in a project to help transfer TUSK to the CMC curriculum, teaching the faculty and students to use this unique tool.
Those wishing to do a family medicine rotation work primarily in outpatient and community settings and have the opportunity to assist CMC faculty in developing distance-learning modules on various primary care topics for general practitioners throughout the country. Students spend a week in each of the Low Cost Effective Care Unit (LCECU), the Community Health and Development (CHAD) program, and the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA), and have the option to spend their final week at a different specialty of interest at CMC.
In addition to receiving approval through TUSM, students wishing to do a clinical elective must be accepted for placement by applying directly to CMC. More information can be found on the CMC website.
There is no language requirement to participate in this program.
Honorine Ward, MD
Professor of Medicine
Tufts University School of Medicine
Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases
Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Fourth-Year Global Health Elective in Panama
In February 2020 a new exchange program between Tufts and the University of Panama Facultad de Medicina began. Up to 6 Tufts students may travel to Panama City to take rotations offered to local students, and University of Panama students may come to Boston to do the same.
The current format of the Block 10 elective calls for 2 weeks spent at the major “downtown” hospitals in Panama City, followed by 2 weeks at a “suburban” hospital. Students list what they’re interested in, and our Panamanian counterparts fit them into the existing University of Panama clinical courses. Students work alongside other students, interns, and residents under the supervision of members of the physician staff in a manner analogous to what one might find here, though the implementation is somewhat different.
In the first year the exposure was mostly to hospital medicine, though there were clinic opportunities as well. This too students may request. In general the rotations are M-F, 7 – 3.
Stay at local hotels, suite hotels, or hostels. Apartment rental is also possible though most are only advertised locally. Metro is great. Many tourist destinations are available for weekends off.
Spanish language skills are important. Because of the long Canal Zone presence of the United States, and the general cosmopolitan nature of Panama City, many health care professionals do speak some English. But proficiency in Spanish is essential to benefit from this elective.
Fourth year students may participate in this four-week elective during Block 10. This global health rotation is in Hormiguero, Nicaragua. Hormiguero is a rural town located in the RAAN (Región Autónoma del Atlántico Norte), the north-eastern region of the country. Hormiguero is a market town that is a hub for many surrounding communities. The rotation is run in collaboration with Bridges to Community, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Tufts has been working with BTC at this clinic site for more than 10 years. Students are accompanied by volunteer faculty members from Tufts and affiliated hospitals as well as some faculty from other institutions.
The rotation consists of three weeks of clinic (six days a week). At the clinic, each student will see upwards of 10-15 patients a day with the supervision of faculty. Patients are from Hormiguero and the surrounding communities. Many of the patients that students see in clinic walk or come on horseback from many hours away. The clinic is urgent care style with the most common conditions including chronic musculoskeletal pain, headaches, cough, cold, GERD/gastritis, and UTIs. Students also have the opportunity to provide pregnancy tests, prenatal ultrasounds/dating, and ultrasounds for other problems. Students learn treatment and dosing of medications, diagnosis and treatment of more rare conditions or conditions prevalent in the area (parasites, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, trench foot, and pterygium), and management of acute conditions such as dehydration and wounds/lacerations. Each student works one on one with a translator (translators work for BTC) while in clinic; however, previous Spanish knowledge/ability is very useful. During the rotation, students are also expected to give at least one talk to community health leaders and may be asked to give public health talks to patient groups. The rotation may also include a trip to an outlying community either to visit or provide medical care (this could include a couple hour walk/trek) and a tour of the local hospital.
All housing, food, and in-country travel is provided through a fee paid to the NGO from Tufts. Accommodations are modest-- a shared bunk house, latrines, and bucket showers. There is electricity, but no Wi-Fi.
The last week of the rotation includes a trip to the Pacific coast and possibly other cities in Nicaragua to explore. This is a group activity organized by BTC and occurs with BTC staff.
Please note that this rotation does include a fundraising requirement. The money raised is used to directly purchase supplies and medications for the clinic. The fundraising goal is $3,500 shared among the students accepted for the elective. While students are not individually held to any specific dollar amount, each student will be expected to ask/send an email appeal to 20-25 contacts. A sample fundraising email/letter will be provided to students to make this requirement as easy as possible. The group will create a fundraising website to use as the main platform for receiving donations.
In addition to fundraising, prior to departure students will work in pairs to complete a variety of tasks such as organizing and buying supplies and preparing talks to give to health leaders from the community.
Richard Rohrer, MD
Tufts University School of Medicine