“…I am humbled by the knowledge that the people that I had come to serve had instead served me by allowing me a view into their lives by literally opening their homes and communities to a complete stranger- teaching me how to be a more compassionate, caring, and culturally competent future physician” Joly Aziz UF COM MD Candidate Class 2020, DR HELP/SALUD
UF has a rich history of global health education and service learning which dates back at least 25 years to the first medical-student-led spring break service learning trips. While we continue this tradition with six multi-disciplinary teams providing care to underserved patients alongside partners from local universities and non-profit organizations, the global health education programs at UF COM are now much more robust. Current global health offerings include our Local/Global Health Equity Discovery Pathway, Medical Student Research Program, and medical student electives for both UF students and our global partners. If you are interested in global health, there are many ways for UF COM Alumni and Friends to get involved and to support our students’ global health education.
Spring Break Service Learning Trips:
Each year approximately 250 UF students and faculty participate in trips to countries including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico and Nicaragua alongside partners from local medical schools and non-profit organizations to provide primary care in underserved areas. Students learn from local partners about the health system and culture as it relates to health. UF students and local medical, pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing and nutrition students work together to provide care and practice working in intercultural, multi-disciplinary teams. Annually, students raise approximately $200,000 to facilitate travel and to defray medical supply costs.
Support for these programs could be offered in the form of faculty participation in spring-break travel, donations towards trip costs and donations of goods or services for the annual global health fundraising silent auction.
Local/Global Health Equity Discovery Pathway:
The Discovery Pathways Program is an optional program for medical students to build a portfolio of accomplishment and scholarship in a defined area. The Local/Global Health Equity Track approaches health equity by examining health disparities through seminars, critical thinking exercises and service learning experiences to build a construct for improving these future physicians’ abilities to address healthcare needs of patients and encourage lifelong engagement in care for the underserved on both a local and global level. Students participate in a 3 semester seminar series during the preclinical years to explore topics through local and global lenses. They also complete either a scholarly project related to health equity in either the summer of their 1st year or 4th year. Students successfully completing the seminar and scholarly project requirements of the track during their 4 years at UF COM earn an Award of Distinction in Local and Global Health Equity at graduation.
Opportunities for UF COM Alumni and Friends to support this program could be in participating as a seminar series speaker, offering opportunities for student field work and making introductions for further collaboration with local and global partners for such participation by others.
Medical Student Research Program
First year UFCOM medical students may apply for scholarships to support 10-week individual summer research experiences. Typically, students receive approximately $2000 to complete projects in Gainesville and Jacksonville with UF faculty. The Global Health Education Program identifies a variety of opportunities for projects related to Local/Global Health Equity to meet the requirements of the pathway. Students choosing to participate in international travel for these projects do not currently receive any additional funding.
Opportunities to support this program include sponsoring travel scholarships for students participating in international research and education projects, offering opportunities for students to participate in research and education programs under alumni mentorship with current UF faculty support.
International Medical Student Electives
UFCOM partners with several medical schools abroad to offer opportunities for medical clerkship exchange. Each year, students participate in clinical electives in pre-approved sites at partner medical schools and clinics. Further, senior foreign medical students at institutions participating in our global health education programs are eligible to participate in clerkships in Gainesville and Jacksonville.
Opportunities to support this program include sponsoring travel scholarships for students participating in international clerkships, hosting students at international sites where UFCOM alumni may be working and hosting foreign students for homestays during electives at UF.
We look forward to growing our database of UFCOM Alumni and Friends who are interested in supporting our Global Health Education Programs. Please join our email list at globalhealth.med.ufl.edu to be included in future updates. Gifts may be made by choosing the “Make a Gift” link at the bottom of the website, or by contacting the UF Foundation. Please feel free to contact me to discuss opportunities to get involved by presenting at seminars, participating on trips, mentoring research or if you have another idea you’d like to share.
Elizabeth DeVos MD, MPH, FACEP
Director, UF College of Medicine Global Health Education Programs
Meghan Nodurft-Froman MPH
Assistant Director, UF College of Medicine Global Health Education Programs