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Global Health Opportunities

  • A resource for "Global Health Opportunities for Students & Residents"
  • Experiences for 4th year UMMS medical students
  • Conferences 
  • Other opportunities 

A resource for "Global Health Opportunities for Students & Residents"

Click here to download a 6-page PDF document that provides hyperlinks to various websites that may be useful to medical students and residents who are interested in global health.

The document is provided courtesy of Prachi Godiwala (UMMS Class of 2015) who started this document as a medical student. The document was developed for attendees of the annual 1-day conference on global health for medical students and residents, hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) in January 2015.

The document provides information about the following topics

  • Getting started
  • Finding an international elective
  • Funding an international elective
  • Preparing for your international elective
  • Further professional training
  • New England medical and dental school websites

Experiences for 4th and 5th year UMMS medical students
  • Infectious disease elective in Cochabamba, Bolivia for 4th year UMMS medical students and UMMS residents

Since 2012 UMMS has offered an annual, one-month infectious disease elective in February, at Viedma Hospital, which is located in the city of Cochabamba, Bolivia. 

The elective is held annually in February and is organized by Dr. Douglas Golenbock, who is the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases & Immunology at UMMS and Dr. Wayra Salazar, who is a UMMS-trained ID physician who was born and raised in Cochabamba. 

Elective description: 

    • The elective focuses on HIV care in a third world setting, although there are abundant opportunities to see, study and help manage other classical infectious diseases such as dengue, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever.  
    • Bolivia still has an abundance of active Chagas Disease (Trypanosoma cruzi), and the Viedma Hospital has an affiliated Chagas clinic in Punata, about 60 minutes from Cochabamba by car or van; students are welcome to spend one or more days seeing Chagas patients if they wish.
    • During this elective UMMS medical students attend a three-day conference on Infectious Diseases, which is held in Cochabamba every year.  This meeting is organized by the newly formed Bolivian Society of Infectious Diseases, and UMMS professors deliver a large percentage of the lectures (sometimes in Spanish). 
    • Ideally, students should contact Dr. Golenbock by June (i.e., at least 6 months prior to the February elective) if they are interested. 


  • 2-week elective with Surgicorps International, a non-profit organization providing surgical care in developing countries

For over 20 years, Surgicorps International has been establishing long-term relationships with facilities and providing free surgical care to people in various developing countries. Surgicorps International strives to improve the lives of patients.  It also provides volunteers with the opportunity to improve their medical skills, build relationships with people despite possible language barriers, and learn about the practice of medicine in a different country.

This 2-week elective (typically held in August of each year, for one UMMS 4th year medical student) consists of one week in Guatemala followed by a second week of writing and reflection. During the first week in Guatemala, the student will typically have the opportunity to participate in surgical casese covering four areas: craniofacial, hand, general, and gynecological surgeries. During the week of writing and reflection, the student will create a presentation of an interesting case encountered on the trip and will write a brief paper about his or her experiences. Please see the course overview for additional details. 

History of UMMS students' participation with Surgicorps International:

    • August 2015: Ella Kipervasser was the first participant in the 2-week elective 
  • The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in Lambaréné, Gabon

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship selects four senior medical students to spend three months working as Schweitzer Fellows at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon on clinical rotations. Fellows work as junior physicians, supervised by Schweitzer Hospital medical staff. Fellows generally spend the full rotation on either the Pediatrics or Medicine service.

This three-month immersion requires that students have a functional fluency in French, as all patient encounters occur in French. To learn more about Fellowship Requirements, visit this page that details timing, pre-requisites, and desired skills & experience. 

History of UMMS students' participation in The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship:


Since its inaugural meeting in 2008, in 2015 this annual meeting was attended by approximately 1,400 people (including approximately 500 students). The meeting brings together committed leaders, professionals, educators, students from divers fields of study including engineering, business, law, policy, natural sciences, nursing, public health, medicine, and environmental studies to explore, discuss and critically assess the global health landscape.

 Other Opportunities
  • China Opportunity for UMMS Medical Students

Through a collaboration between the China Program Office at UMMS, and several hospitals and medical schools in China, selected UMMS medical students have the opportunity to participate in either:

    • a two-week International Medical Student Camp at the West China School of Medicine, which is a program for medical students from various schools in the US, Canada, and Europe to learn about healthcare in China, or
    • an 8-week global health immersion experience in China (typically in June through August; the exact duration of the program can be modified according to the individual needs of the participant, and typically includes the two-week International Medical Student Camp at the West China School of Medicine).

For the July/August 2017 opportunity: students should contact Dr. Zou and Dr. Gao by March 1, 2017, and should send completed applications to Dr. Zou and Dr. Gao by March 20, 2017.

For more information, see this UMMS web page with additional information: UMMS China Program site

  • Global Emergency Care Collaborative (GECC)

The Global Emergency Care Collaborative (GECC) has research and public health opportunities for UMMS medical students in 2nd through 4th year of their medical school training.

GECC currently has programs in Uganda, with potential developing programs in other countries. 

GECC is a non-governmental non-profit organization that provides advanced training in emergency care to non-physician clinicians, in order to increase access to care where there are severe physician shortages. Non-physician health workers are more plentiful than physicians in rural Uganda, and training them is less expensive and time-intensive than training doctors. GECC educates new classes of Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs) who then become trainers themselves, creating a sustainable process for training more providers and reaching more patients.

Dr. Mark Bisanzo is President and Co-Founder of GECC, and currently is an emergency medicine physician at UMMS.

UMMS medical students who have had learning/service experiences with GECC:

    • Summer 2014: Simone Miller spent approximately 6 weeks at GECC's site in Uganda during the summer before her 2nd year of medical school.
    • May 2014-December 2014Caleb Dresser spent 7 months working as GECC program director in rural Uganda during a Gap year.


  • Global Health Pediatric Research Scholar 

One-year clinical research experience for a graduate-level North American student in the health professions. This is an opportunity for a highly motivated individual to have a mentored pediatric research experience at a model, NIH-funded research center in Kenya. AMPATH consortium school students are preferences. 

updated 2.17.2017cjb