OVERVIEW

The DFMPH Global Health Program has offered international service and learning opportunities to medical students, residents and attending physicians for more than 10 years via volunteer brigades, electives, and the M3 family medicine clerkship.  Our Global Health Program connects students and faculty with a variety of opportunities for safe, enjoyable and high-quality learning experiences in international settings.

Students participating in our Global Health Program options strengthen their clinical judgment and physical exam skills while developing enhanced skills in cultural competency and communication. Through service to developing nations, students also learn how to build relationships with communities, develop sustainable medical services and better appreciate the importance of health disparities and barriers to care.  The knowledge and skills gained through global health experiences can then be applied to patient care here in the United States.

For more information, please contact:

Sharon Kaufer Flores, MS
DFMPH Global Health Program Director
sharon.flores@vcuhealth.org
(804) 628-4380
Mark H. Ryan, MD
DFMPH Global Health Medical Director
mark.ryan@vcuhealth.org
(804) 628-3239

LEARN ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH BRIGADE OPPORTUNITIES

Brigades to Pinares, Honduras

DFMPH coordinates three medical brigades each year to the rural community of Pinares, Honduras and surrounding villages; brigades are typically offered in February, June and November, and range in duration from 1-2 weeks.  Brigades are inter-disciplinary and open to students, residents and attendings, as well as community volunteers.  Brigades to Pinares are operated in cooperation with partners from the VCU Fairfax Family Medicine Residency and VCU Shenandoah Valley Family Medicine Residency programs.

Brigades include:

  • ambulatory patient care, in cooperation with a government-run clinic staffed on a part-time basis
  • projects targeting multiple determinants of health, including indoor air quality, clean water, nutrition and education
  • special projects including child health clinics, and water filtration and cookstove distribution

Brigade fees vary depending on trip duration and group size. Brigade fees are paid by participants in advance of travel and cover all in-country transportation, lodging and meals, travel and evacuation insurance, and interpreter services.  A portion of the fees covers the costs of medications and supplies needed for the brigades to operate.  Cost of airline ticket is not included in brigade fee.

M3 and M4 students can apply to receive 2-week elective credit related to participation in brigades to Pinares, Honduras.

Scroll to Global Health Electives to learn more.

Download (PDF): Upcoming DFMPH Global Health Brigades: 2019-2020

Brigades to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

DFMPH coordinates two medical brigades each year to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Brigades are typically offered in June and January, and range in duration from 1-2 weeks. Brigades are inter-disciplinary and open to students, residents and attendings, as well as community volunteers.

Brigades include:

  • clinic-based work (set up in the local school in Paraíso, part of a large barrio northwest of Santo Domingo) focused on chronic disease management, with a large element of acute care
  • community-based medical screening including door-to-door screenings, dental varnish, and parasite medication distribution
  • clinic-based work in a clinic in Los Mina, offering experience with chronic illnesses and acute care, as well as a community that has greater access to the Dominican healthcare system
  • research projects depending on student/faculty/team interest

Brigade fees vary depending on trip duration and group size. Brigade fees cover all in-country transportation, lodging and meals, travel and evacuation insurance, tourist cards (for entry into the DR) and interpreter services. A portion of brigade fees is used to cover the costs of medications and supplies needed for the brigades to operate. Cost of airline ticket is not included in brigade fee.

M3 and M4 students can apply to receive 2-week elective credit related to participation in brigades to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Scroll to Global Health Electives to learn more.

Download (PDF): Upcoming DFMPH Global Health Brigades: 2019-2020

Brigades to Karanda, Zimbabwe

DFMPH coordinates one brigade to Karanda, Zimbabwe each year; this brigade is typically offered in January and lasts for 4 weeks. Brigades are inter-disciplinary and open to students, residents and attendings, as well as community volunteers.

Brigades include:

  • inpatient and outpatient care in Christian mission-based hospitals serving the poor, formulating treatment plans and providing direct clinical care as members of clinical teams
  • opportunities for medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology work
  • participation in hospital-based community health programs

Brigade costs vary depending on group size. Brigade expenses are typically paid individually by participants throughout the brigade experience. Expenses include in-country application fees, airfare, Visa, and expenses of daily living (food, transportation, lodging).

M4 students can apply to receive 4-week clinical elective credit related to participation in brigades to Karanda, Zimbabwe.

Scroll to M4 Cross Cultural Medical Mission Elective to learn more.

Download (PDF): Upcoming DFMPH Global Health Brigades: 2019-2020

LEARN ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH ELECTIVES

M3 Global Health Foundational Elective

M3 students who participate in DFMPH brigades to Pinares, Honduras or Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic can apply to receive 2-week credit through M3 Global Health Foundational Elective.

This elective is designed to give M3 students first-hand experience in global health work in underserved communities outside of the United States. Students will have the opportunity to provide medical care to underserved persons and will also be expected to be involved in various projects to address the broader determinants of health (water supply, education, and nutrition, etc.) as well as understanding the process of developing and sustaining community development projects.

Student learning experiences will be tailored to each student’s level of clinical exposure and proficiency.

If you wish to be contacted for further discussion, please complete the: M3 Global Health Foundational Elective Interest Form.

M4 Global Health Advanced Elective

M4 students who participate in DFMPH brigades to Pinares, Honduras or Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic can apply to receive 2-week credit through M4 Global Health Advanced Elective.

This elective is designed to give M4 students first-hand experience in global health work in underserved communities outside of the United States. Students will have the opportunity to provide medical care to underserved persons and will also be expected to be involved in various projects to address the broader determinants of health (water supply, education, and nutrition, etc.) as well as understanding the process of developing and sustaining community development projects.

Student learning experiences will be tailored to each student’s level of clinical exposure and proficiency.

If you wish to be contacted for further discussion, please complete the: M4 Global Health Advanced Elective Interest Form.

M4 Cross Cultural Medical Mission Elective

M4 students who participate in DFMPH brigades to Karanda, Zimbabe can apply to receive 4-week credit through the M4 Cross Cultural Medical Mission Elective.

This elective is designed to give M4 students first-hand experience in global health work in underserved communities outside of the United States. Students will work alongside and under the supervision of US-based family medicine attendings (including the sponsoring VCU faculty) and local national physicians in hospitals in low-income and developing nations. Students will participate in both inpatient and outpatient care in hospitals which serve the poor in the host communities, formulating treatment plans and providing direct clinical care as members of clinical teams. They will also be exposed to the hospital-based community health programs affiliated with these hospitals. There will be opportunities for medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and obstetrics/gynecology work.

If you wish to be contacted for further discussion, please complete the: M4 Cross Cultural Medical Mission Elective Interest Form.

M4 Clinical Medicine in the Dominican Republic Elective

This 4-week rotation provides M4 students with the opportunity to be members of both the outpatient care clinical teams at a community-based primary care center (Centro de Primer Nivel, CPN) in Hato del Yaque just outside of the city of Santiago, and inpatient care clinical teams local hospitals (the Hospital Bella Vista and the Hospital Juan XXIII). This elective rotation will allow students to evaluate and assess patients, formulate treatment plans, and provide direct clinical care. Students will work alongside clinicians and medical students from the medical school at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM).

Students must have sufficient (conversational or better) Spanish skills in order to be assigned to this elective; Spanish fluency will be assessed by DFMPH faculty. The elective experience will be adapted to each individual student’s level of fluency and comfort with their language skills; adaptations will be mutually agreed-upon by the student and in-country preceptor.

If you wish to be contacted for further discussion, please complete the: M4 Clinical Medicine in the Dominican Republic Elective Interest Form.

LEARN ABOUT THE GLOBAL M3 FAMILY MEDICINE CLERKSHIP

Santiago, Dominican Republic

The M3 family medicine clerkship clinical rotation in Santiago, Dominican Republic is based at a community-based primary care center (Centro de Primer Nivel, CPN) in Hato del Yaque, just outside of the city of Santiago. The CPN is located in a rural community, and is staffed by Director Dra. Yokasta Germosén Almonte and 2-3 physicians who have completed their medical school training and are fulfilling their year-long required government primary care service.

Students assigned to this site will experience a model of social medicine that focuses on family and community health. The CPN provides general primary care services, chronic disease management, and preventive care to the residents of the surrounding community. The CPN physicians and staff (including nurses and community health workers) provide community outreach and educational programs to help address the community's health needs. The CPN is also the site of a childhood vaccine program and a tuberculosis treatment program.

Students must be fully fluent in Spanish to be assigned to this rotation site, Spanish fluency will be assessed by DFMPH faculty. All patient encounters will be completely in Spanish – students will be expected to have full conversations with patients, explain symptoms, be able to describe medication side effects, etc. Spanish fluency will also be important for other interpersonal interactions outside of the clinic.

If you are interested in learning more, please email Sharon Kaufer Flores at Sharon.flores@vcuhealth.org