A case for an international health elective training program during residency: a four-points call for action

Teach Learn Med. 2013;25(3):266-71. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2013.797347.


Background: International Health Electives (IHE) are becoming more popular among graduate training programs. This is likely due to the high demands from graduating medical students who are seeking to have an international health experience during their post-graduate training. Despite the important educational experiences associated with an IHE, this opportunity does not exist in all graduate medical programs and fewer have formal established programs.

Summary: We are suggesting that graduate training programs are in a unique position to provide such experiences to our future physicians, in turn creating immediate benefits to host nations as well as long-term impacts on our society in the United States. We are proposing Four Points for stakeholders involved in training future physicians to use as they consider designing such opportunities for future trainees. The four points include: residents are capable of providing service to host nations, improve the quality of care to communities in the U.S., foster graduating medical students' global health interests and increase global health mentorship.

Conclusions: We hope that addressing these four points will reemphasize the importance of establishing an IHE in all graduate training programs.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Graduate / organization & administration*
  • Global Health / education*
  • Humans
  • International Educational Exchange*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • United States