Clinical & Community Care Course Details


The goal of this interactive course is to prepare fourth-year North American medical students, primary care residents and other health care professionals to succeed at a rural district hospital. Working and learning under local leadership, prepared and adaptable clinicians can work alongside this team, devise and deliver clinical and community care appropriate in the developing world. As the longest-established course of its type in North America, the "Arizona course" remains more clinically-focused than most others.

Using a small-group, problem-based format, this intensive course introduces students not only to the clinical but also to public health, cultural and economic issues which mold the lives and health of the people they will help serve.

The course faculty reflects this team approach from an interdisciplinary background. Drawn from family practice, pediatrics, nutrition, public health, health education, internal medicine (infectious disease and parasitology), obstetrics, nursing, physical therapy, dentistry, hydrology and anthropology, faculty bring to the course not only their expertise but also their personal and professional experience in developing nations.

The course is developed around five integrated process areas:

  1. Assessment
  2. Problem Definition
  3. Program
  4. Roles
  5. Regions

Together, these five provide a process-oriented approach to the complex problems of living and working in the developing world.

The opening week introduces four major problems, focusing on assessment and problem definition in nutrition, population, infectious and chronic diseases. We begin to explore the cross-cultural and clinical roles of health workers. We analyze programs for clinical and community control of these prevalent diseases, debating the relative merits of vertical (categorical, selective) vs. horizontal (primary care, Health for All) program approaches.

We then focus in-depth on community analysis and on teaching and learning with others, expecially at the district hospital and community level.

We next look intensively at infectious disease at clinical and community levels. Those chosen for presentation reflect the priorities for intervention proposed by Walsh and Warren in their classic article Selective Primary Health Care (NEJM 1979;301:967-874). More actual clinical infectious disease cases seen at district hospitals and their related community health problems are solved by the small groups (SGCP).

The roles of women as political activists and as mothers in developing nations are perhaps the most crucial in the whole process of human development toward health.

Finally, we explore the global economy and how it affects health care and our roles as health care providers, both at home and in developing countries. Our professional roles as colleague (clinician), coach (teacher), critic (researcher), and citizen (advocate) are re-explored with new perspective. As expatriate guests in other nations, we confront political and ethical controversies as well as career opportunities and risks.

Sample schedule  (subject to change)             Syllabus Chapter List  (subject to change)

For more information, see our printable course brochure 


Open to medical students in years 3-4, primary care residents and physicians. Also open to other health care clinicians. Enrollment is limited to 24, to allow case-based teaching in small groups.

When offered

September 24 - October 12, 2018.  We expect this course to continue annually, as it has since 1982.


This course is designed for, and priority is given to, students actively planning for a student or professional experience in a developing country.


UA Medical students: 4 week elective credit: 80 classroom hours. Other participants (if space is available): 3-5 credits depending on institution


Participants should be actively planning for a student or professional experience in a less developed country. The actual site must be arranged through the student's home school.

Medical students (US or Canada): 3rd or 4th year student; must have completed second (and preferably third) year.
Primary Care resident physicians and/or graduate-level health professional with a clinical orientation who are interested in community-based, primary health care.


Applications are due by August 15.  Apply anytime between January 15 and August 15 for the course in the same year. Late registration may be possible. Call or email to see if there are still openings.


Extensive syllabus: no cost
Books: about $75
Transportation, food and lodging: varies. (The Global Health Program can arrange low-cost shared housing for the duration of the course, with an average cost of $400-500.)

Course fees:
Medical students and medical residents from medical schools in the USA currently No course fees (registration through your medical school program).
Physicians and other health care professionals: $475 course fee.
All others: contact us.

Contact information

If you have questions after reviewing this website, contact us using the information below.

Mailing address

Office of Global and Border Health
University of Arizona College of Medicine
Department of Family and Community Medicine
PO Box 245052
Tucson AZ 85724

Email and phone

Arleen Heimann, course coordinator:, (520) 626-1992


(520) 626-6134 (Attn: Arleen Heimann)