Distinction Tracks

Four Elements of the Global Health Distinction Track

Element 1: MED 891C Global Health Externship

The first year medical students (MS-1) in the GHDT have six 1-hour lectures which introduce the students to the concepts, ethics and practice of Global Health. 

The summer between the MS-1 and MS-2 years is usually spent in a 2 to 4-week externship where the students observe clinical care in an under resourced setting, internationally or within the US. There are alternatives available to students who are unable to travel during that summer.

At the beginning of second year, students come together for a 1-hour discussion of what they learned and how they are readjusting to the US after a profound learning experience. The students also will write a one to two page reflective paper on their experiences. 

Element 2: MED 896A Global Health: Clinical & Community Care

The Global Health course in MS-4 year now comes in two options:

1. In-person 3-week, 3-credit, intensive course usually offered during Block 3 – September

The in-person course takes advantage of experts within the University of Arizona, alumni of the Global Health course and other experts to teach the latest science supplemented by their personal experience in various aspects of Global Health. The topics range from tropical disease to nutrition, public health and the experience of asylum seekers who come to the United States.

2. Online 135-hour course.

The online course utilizes source material from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other recognized Global Health resources for students whose MS-4 schedules do not allow an in-person class.

Both Global Health course options provide 3 credits toward graduation. 

Both options are open to UACOM students.

Element 3: MED 891A Global Health Clinical Preceptorship

The student does a 4 to 8-week rotation (preceptorship) in an underserved area of the world. The underserved areas can be as close as refugees and asylum seekers in Tucson, or online “virtual” experiences to health care facilities in underserved areas throughout the world. 

While some Global Health programs have a few sites to choose from, the UArizona – Tucson has only a few rules for the site that students may choose:

1. The student must be supervised by a physician, either a host country national or an expatriate.

2. The site must have an affiliation agreement with the University of Arizona. 

If the site does not yet have an affiliation agreement we will try to facilitate one.

3. The site must be approved by University of Arizona Global Travel. Countries, and areas within countries, are evaluated by of a number governmental and private agencies to determine the safety for travelers to the area. Among the elements which contribute the safety of a site are: crime, war, civil unrest, risk of illness and risk of natural disaster.

Some of the sources used to evaluate safety are: the US State Department, the British Foreign Office, the Canadian Foreign Ministry, private security firms and even Lonely Planet. We want to do all we can to help you stay safe while you travel.

University of Arizona policy is that if a site is not deemed safe, a student may go to the site, but the student will not receive credit for time spent in an unsafe location.  

Element 4: MED 800C Global Health Capstone Paper

The culmination of the GHDT is the Global Health Capstone. This is a 4-credit elective resulting in a 12-15 page, well-referenced, research paper. The paper may be based in research done during the global health rotation or other research. It can be associated with the topic or country where the rotation was done, but it does not have to be. 

The paper is completed under the guidance of a faculty advisor and graded by that same advisor. 

Some recent Capstone projects have been:

Culturally-Competent Psychiatry: Learning From American Native Communities

Zika virus: A Review of Origins, Outbreaks, Pathology, and Prevention

The Genetic Predispositions of Hypertension in Africa: Alternative Modalities to Treat Hypertension in that Region and Developing Models to Decrease the Disease Burden.

Effects of 90/90/90 on Patients living with HIV in Togo: Hope or Despair; Centre de Sante de Lome

Characterizing Hematological Malignancy Referrals at a Tertiary Care Center in Gurugram, India

Simon Bolivar’s Nightmare: An Analysis of the Venezuelan Refugee Crisis


How will the accelerated curriculum affect the Global Health Distinction Track (GHDT)?

The GHDT will be EASIER to schedule and COMPLETE in the new accelerated 18 Month curriculum!

The GOOD news is that the Global Health Distinction Track [all of its 4 Elements] will be EASIER /more flexible to schedule and complete than under the previous curriculum.  

Largely this is due to the fact the 10 weeks for Personalized Active Learning (PAL)  allows first year students 2-4 weeks of global health field experience anytime during that period.

The other GOOD news is that with a longer Year 4, you and the GHDT Co-Directors will have more flexibility in scheduling Elements 2, 3, 4 [Global Health: Clinical & Community Care, Global Health Preceptorship and Global Health Capstone] of the GHDT, all of which are in Year 4 [and give you 12 or more weeks of credit toward graduation].

If you plan to do more than one distinction track, let us know so we can help you overcome any conflicts with your class times and rotation. 

Medical Student 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.

Medical Residency Track

Several Residency programs at the University of Arizona College of Medicine have their own Global Health Distinction Tracks