Externship - MED 891C

Element 1 of the Global Health Distinction Track

The externship preparatory course is open to all medical students at the College of Medicine – Tucson. You do not need to be part of the Distinction Track.

There are two parts to the Global Health Externship: a preparatory course, and the field externship itself. The preparatory course is a prerequisite for the field externship.

Students enrolled in the Global Health Distinction Track must complete their externships prior to Year III.

Global Health Externship: MED 891C Link to College of Medicine course description

Externship Preparation Class

This 4 session preparatory course is a prerequisite for students who wish to do the field externship. Students not enrolled in the Global Health Distinction Track may also enroll in this course.


Designed in response to a growing interest in Global Health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, this 8-hour orientation course [4 evening session of 2 hours each] prepares students for field externships to less-developed countries. Attendance is required at all 4 sessions.

For more information, or registration information, email Arleen Heimann (aheimann@email.arisona.edu).   Watch for an initial email in December with details about registration and times for the class.


The Externship Preparation Course takes place over 4 two-hour weekly evening sessions. The class is scheduled during the early part of Spring semester.

How to register

Email Arleen Heimann at aheimann@email.arizona.edu in late December.

Topics covered are:

  • Logistics
  • Passports
  • Immunizations and prophylaxis
  • Liability waivers
  • Trip and evacuation Insurance
  • In-country transportation
  • Safety issues and emergency contacts
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Chronic Disease

Field Externship

A Field Externship is required if you are part of the Global Health Distinction Track. Students not yet enrolled in the Distinction Track may also do the field externship, but must take the Externship class first. 


The field externship is a 2-4 week, faculty-mentored experience in a less-developed country. The focus is on clinical observation and community assessment. Externship sites must be approved by Global Health Program faculty.

Requirements include a clinical activity log, an online evaluation of your site, and a follow-up assessment of the class and field experience.


After completing the Externship prep class and before you start your Year III clerkships.


Check out the Global Health Learning Sites tab for a link to possible Externship sites. There is also a list of organizations and programs located at the Global Health Learning Sites tab but they are not specific to preclinical rotations.  You will have to look at their URL to see if they take preclinical medical students.  Or talk to Ron Pust or Tracy Carroll for suggestions. When you decide on a site whether it is in our listing or something you located, complete the  Preclinical Site Proposal Form and email to Arleen Heimann.  Dr. Pust will check it out and approve or request more information before approval. 

Completing Field Externship -

In addition to turning in your log sheet of hours and activities, please log in and fill out an evaluation form after you complete your field externship.  Site evaluation


Externship FAQ’s   

Can I do a Global Health Externship if I'm not enrolled in the Global Health Distinction Track?
Yes. While the Global Health Externship is the first element in the Global Health Distinction Track, it is possible to take the externship courses without (or before) enrolling in the distinction track.

Where can I learn about field externship sites? 

Visit the Pre-Clinical sites  (NetID login required).

Suggest a new site that you believe meets the clinical and community health goals of the Global Health Externship. Submit your suggestion to aheimann@email.arizona.edu. Tracy Carroll, MPH and Ron Pust, MD will promptly evaluate its suitability as a field externship site.

Will I learn a foreign language during my field externship?

Acquiring foreign language skills is not a primary objective of in the Global Health Externship. In evaluating a site/program that has a foreign language component, we will want to be sure that the preponderance of time and focus is on Global Health, not on language acquisition. If you intend to do your field externship in a location where the primary language is one in which you are not fluent, make sure that you have help in translation, or be skilled enough that you can manage without translation.

Medical Spanish

While we allow some medical Spanish training during your externshp rotation, if you are interested in a full experience, contact Dr. Oscar Beita for his Medical Spanish program.  Learn More

Also,in 2005, medical student Mary Foote created a list of international medical Spanish courses.  It was updated in 2008. This is only a partial list, but feel free to download it and look into the programs.  Spanish Language/ Medical Spanish Courses Programs