UA Medical Students Global Distinction Track

The Global Health Distinction Track is an academic program open to medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson beginning in second semester of Year 1.

The distinction track introduces students to the interdisciplinary challenges of clinical and public health care in developing nations. Students will:

  • Apply medical knowledge to health care situations around the world
  • Learn from colleagues and global health experts abroad
  • Practice rigorous, evidence-based medicine
  • Overcome obstacles to health care in resource-constrained conditions

Students involved in this track return better prepared to advocate for health equity and to provide care to patients and communities in Arizona, United States, and around the world.

Note: MED891C, MED896A and MED891A are also individual courses and can be taken without being in the Distinction Track

Elements of the Global Health Distinction Track

There are 5 elements in the distinction track. Students move through these elements in order. Students who complete all 5 elements prior to graduation will be designated at graduation as having achieved "Distinction in Global Health."

Element 1: Pre-Clinical Externship Preparation Course (MED 891C)

8 class hours, spring semester. Field externship: 2-4 weeks, prior to Year III.

Objectives/Goals: This clinical and community health externship, preceded by an 8 hour orientation course at UA CoM, is a faculty-mentored experience. Emphasis is on identifying local health needs, culturally appropriate approaches, clinical observation, and linkages with community and government resources in faculty-approved sites in less-developed countries.

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Element 2: Global Health Forum

Participation in activities and/or leadership, typically emphasized in Year II.

Objectives/Goals: Documented, active participation in the programs of this student organization at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Completion of duties as an elected Global Health Forum leader and/or participation in one of the committees in Years I and II.

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Element 3: Clinical & Community Care Course (MED 896A)

3 weeks, 4 credits.

As the name implies, this course integrates community public health aspects of global health with clinical practice challenges common to developing nations and resource-poor health care settings in the United States. The experienced clinicians who teach emphasize evidence-based practice under resource constraints. This full-time, three-week interactive class is held annually in Year IV to enable the senior medical student to prepare for the Global Health Preceptorship at any time during Year IV.

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Element 4: Global Health Clinical Preceptorship (MED 891A)

6 weeks, 6 credits.

Objectives/Goals: This preceptorship ensures Year IV medical student participation in supervised clinical and public health care in monitored settings in less-developed countries. Our preferred sites for physician and medical student service and learning, as recommended by the World Health Organization, are district-level hospitals, especially those supervising community health programs. We maintain an updated database of evaluated sites. Sites suggested by students can also be approved for preceptorships if those facilities meet listed goals for this element of the distinction track.

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Element 5: Capstone Project (evidence-based synthesis paper) (Med 800C)

4 credits, to be completed in Year IV.

Objectives/Goals: To ensure rigorous analysis of one clinical disease or community health problem in global health practice, each student in the distinction track completes a fully-referenced paper in publishable style, typically in “meta-analysis” format. The topic is preferably drawn from that student’s field experiences in the Global Health Distinction Track. The paper becomes the subject of an oral examination prior to graduation. 

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