1st Year Global Health Course - MED 891C

Element 1 of the Global Health Distinction Track

The 1st Year 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 1st Year Global Health course : a preparatory course, and the field experience itself. The preparatory course is a prerequisite for the field experience.

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

1st Year Global Health Course (formerly Global Health Externship): MED 891C Link to College of Medicine course description

1st Year Global Health Preparation Class

This 4 session preparatory course is a prerequisite for students who wish to do the field experience. 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 a field experience to less-developed countries. Attendance is required at all 4 sessions.

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


The 1st Year Global Health 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 Experience

A Field Experience is required if you are part of the Global Health Distinction Track. Students not yet enrolled in the Distinction Track may also do a global health rotation, but must take the 4 session class first. 


The field experience is a 2-4 week, faculty-mentored experience in a less-developed country. The focus is on clinical observation and community assessment. Rotation  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 1st Year Global  Health prep class and before you start your Year III clerkships.


Check out the Global Health Learning Sites tab for a link to possible global health 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 Drs. Moore or Koleski 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.  We will check it out and approve or request more information before approval. 

Completing Field Work-

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 work.  Site evaluation


1st Year Global Health FAQ’s   

Can I take the 1st Year Global Health course if I'm not enrolled in the Global Health Distinction Track?
Yes. While the 1st Year Global Health Course is the first element in the Global Health Distinction Track, it is possible to take the 1st year Global Health course without (or before) enrolling in the distinction track.

Where can I learn about Global Health field 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 1st Year Global Health Course. Submit your suggestion to aheimann@email.arizona.edu. Melissa Moore, MD and Jerry Koleski, MD will promptly evaluate its suitability as a 1st year field site.

Will I learn a foreign language during my field work?

Acquiring foreign language skills is not a primary objective of in the 1st year Global Health course. 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 experiencein 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.

What if I want to do more than one Distinction Track?

We will work with you on it.  Other students have managed to complete more than one track.  If you are interested in the Spanish Distinction Track, let us know right away so we can coordinate class meetings with them.  If you are interested in the Research Track (MSRP), there is time for your field rotation.  You can go over winter holiday break or if you speak Spanish, you might be able to do 2 separate weeks at the Nogales Hospital.  Let us know your interst PRIOR to the first class so we can discuss options with you.. 

Is there a checklist from MED 891C?

Yes.  Follow this link and print it off for your personal use.

Medical Spanish

While we allow some medical Spanish training during your 1st year 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.  These programs have no affiliation with the University ofArizona.  This is only a partial list, but feel free to download it and look into the programs.  Spanish Language/ Medical Spanish Courses Programs