International Medicine Rotation Elective

Many physicians are interested in providing medical care to people of other countries and other cultures. We are committed to facilitating international experiences for our residents.

An elective in international medicine is available to our second- and third-year residents. The rotation is typically 2-4 weeks in duration (1/2-1 block), but there is flexibility. During the elective, the residency continues to provide salary, liability insurance and the usual benefits. Some funds are budgeted to assist with the costs of the rotation.

A number of our faculty members have served abroad, and we are happy to be able to match residents with the type of experience they are looking for (language preference, urban vs. rural, etc.). While abroad, each of the residents is involved in either direct patient care or in medical research and is supervised by a qualified physician on site. Preparation for the rotation includes assigned readings and discussion about the general principles of delivering care in developing countries, and also information about the medical problems that are likely to be encountered in the region specific to the individual rotation. Upon returning to the U.S., the resident shares his or her experience either by doing a presentation or a paper. Naturally, we avoid parts of the world that are known to be politically unstable or potentially unsafe.

Some of the countries where our residents have served abroad include:

  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Malawi
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Romania
  • Venezuela
  • South Africa
  • Zambia

During the 2010-2011 academic year, three residents did rotations abroad. Jamin Yoder, M.D., was one of those, and had this to say on his return:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in El Salvador on the international medicine elective. Not only did I learn an incredible amount medically; I also learned much culturally. I felt an incredible satisfaction in what I was doing, as though perhaps this may be my calling.”

Katie Michalczyk, M.D., remarked: “Going to Zambia was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I learned so much about myself, but more importantly about others. I got to see an entirely new way to live and practice medicine and it changed me in a permanent way into a better doctor and person.”

John Wells, M.D., made these comments: “Traveling to other countries as part of my medical education during residency was an incredible experience. Having gone to Bolivia last year and Honduras this year I had the privilege of learning about other healthcare systems. It was a lesson in working with limited resources to provide quality patient care. I was made more grateful for the resources we have and also made aware of some areas where improvements could be made. In both locations I was able to work with those countries’ equivalent of residents which provided a great exchange to receive and share information. It's something I will continue in my practice.”

A number of our residents also have the opportunity to travel abroad to cover sporting events with Mark Lavallee, M.D. Below is the list of residents who have attended International sporting events:

Date Resident Competition Location
2000 Steve Norris 2000 IWF World Masters Disney's Wide World of sports, Orlando, FL
2001 Chad Smoker 2001 IWF World Masters Kefalonia, GREECE
2002 Jason Hix and Jen Brake 2002 World Masters Games Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
2003 Kevin McAward 2003 IWF World Masters Savannah, GA
2004 Marty Baur 2004 IWF Masters Baden, AUSTRIA
2005 Joel Kary (external res) 2005 World Masters Games Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA
2006 None 2006 IWF World Masters Bordeaux, FRANCE
2007 Mike Galbraith 2007 IWF World Masters Karzincbarcika, HUNGARY
2008 Matt Gullone 2008 IWF World Masters Kefalonia, GREECE
2009 Megan Johnston 2009 World Masters Games Sydney, AUSTRALIA
2010 Tucker Balam and Cameron Trubey 2010 IWF World Masters Ceichenow, POLAND
2011 Chris Johnson, Tucker Balam, and Rebecca Meyers 2011 IWF World Masters Lismal, CYPRUS