Global Health Elective - Final Steps

Step 1

Global Health Elective Essay

This report comprises part of your evaluation for this elective and correlates directly with global health objectives for competency in performing medical work in resource-limited settings. To reflect on the experiences of your days abroad, some amount of personal journaling each evening is recommended. You may use excerpts from your journal as part of these reflections, but please compose this essay separately as a largely post-elective, reflective activity. The document is to be submitted to Dr. Beyda prior to your 3rd meeting.


Where did you work? Describe your daily responsibilities and location assignment. Describe the clinical and teaching environment: inpatient and/or outpatient.  Expound on interesting clinical cases and patient/family interactions. Would you recommend this site to future medical students?  Why? Any significant non-medical experiences you had during your rotation that you would recommend to future residents?


  1. Discuss how you feel your own culture and nationality played a part in your patients’ expressed needs and perceptions of you as a health care provider, and how these may have been different from your patient care experiences in the U.S.  How did you manage those needs and perceptions as you cared for your patients abroad? Describe and discuss a situation in which you were aware of your own ethnocentrism and how you managed that conflict personally.
  2. The global health competency objectives for professionalism stress the values of curiosity, openness to learning from other cultures, and acknowledgement of the privilege it is to work with international colleagues. Describe and discuss a situation in which your openness and curiosity fostered a situation where both you and your international colleagues were able to learn from each other.
  3. Prior to your departure for this experience, describe how you prepared to be able to control stress while you were abroad, e.g., losing your passport, becoming ill, preceptor plans do not work out, communication difficulties, or lack of diagnostic or therapeutic resources, death of a patient, etc. Reflect on whether this preparation was adequate. If not adequate, write how you could have prepared differently or how you wish you had prepared.
  4. Give one or more specific examples of a challenge of equity in ethical considerations of undertaking research in resource-poor areas, distribution of vaccines, distribution of medicines, and/or distribution of knowledge.
  5. Write about one thing you learned in the international setting that would be useful in building a better health care delivery system in the U.S.  Describe one or more strengths you identified as part of the different system of medical training that you observed, and what that system’s strengths bring to the practice of medicine, research and teaching in that country.
  6. Describe and discuss a situation in which you reserved a judgment of the medical system or a political opinion while abroad. How have you reconciled that conflict in your own mind since you have returned home? (If not reconciled, see David Beyda, MD to discuss the situation further!)
  7. Discuss how the international experience has informed your practice of medicine in the U.S. Has the experience transformed how you view your role as a physician? Explain.
  8. Will this experience impact your career plans? If yes, how?

Step 2

Request your third appointment with Dr. Beyda.