Introduction: The Clinical Topics in Global Health course introduces students to the most important global health problems with a focus on clinical practice. This multi-disciplinary, skills-based global health elective has been offered yearly to Harvard medical students since 2009. It has been particularly useful for first-year medical students who lack sufficient preparation before their international electives in the summer between first- and second-year. Methods: Ten 3-hour evening sessions introduce students to the evidence-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to perform at an appropriate level as a rotating student in a resource-limited international setting. Topics covered include neonatal, child, and maternal mortality, major and neglected infectious diseases, chronic non-communicable diseases, and working in global health. Results: Clinical Topics in Global Health has been offered annually to Harvard Medical Students as an optional, pass/fail elective since 2009. The course has received praise from students in two local publications. Anonymous course feedback has been positive. For example, 100% of medical student respondents strongly agreed that “I would recommend this course to my classmates and colleagues” and that “this course has prepared me to work more effectively in developing countries.” In addition, 100% agreed and 71.4% strongly agreed that “the practical skill sessions helped clarify the instruction.” Discussion: The curriculum has several limitations. First, the knowledge assessment could be more tightly aligned to session-specific learning objectives. Second, the current course website could be expanded to include social media capabilities to complement the in-class activities and provide a forum for continued engagement and mutual learning between students and faculty during students’ international electives. Third, a more formal mixed-methods evaluation could be conducted to test the efficacy of the curriculum in improving student preparedness to perform at an appropriate level as a rotating student in resource-limited international settings.
- Demonstrate the evidence-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to perform at an appropriate level as a rotating student in resource-limited international settings.
- Understand the most important global health problems with a particular focus on clinical practice.
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