INTD 7003: International Medicine

Course Directors

Ruth Berggren, M.D., MACP
Jason Rosenfeld, DPH, MPH

Course Description

Students will work with the course director and Assistant Director of Global Health to identify an appropriate international elective site, either through established sites/programs or that the students discover on their own.

Students will spend four weeks living and working at an international service site. Sites may allow for a range of experiences, such as participating in patient care, conducting clinical or public health research, and/or participating in a language immersion program. There may also be opportunities for patient education and an emphasis on efforts of local empowerment, aiming to build up the communities in a sustainable way. 

Students are also encouraged to integrate themselves into the health care delivery system, to explore community needs that they could address, and when possible, to strive to make an impact through community education, home visits, and research.

Reflection essays serve as a way to process your experiences, including clinical cases, new perspectives gained, analysis of health care disparities, and strategies for the overcoming poverty-related health problems.  

Course Objectives

  • To advance knowledge of global health issues through clinical, public health, research, and/or community service experiences.  To specifically:
      • Provide medical service and compassionate care to individuals with limited access
      • Broaden clinical skills with respect to the practice of primary care medicine in a resource-poor setting
          • Appreciate the art of history taking an physical examination for bedside diagnosis, when adjunctive means of testing are limited
          • Gain experience in the evaluation/management of common issues in tropical medicine including fever, diarrhea, respiratory disease, dehydration, and dermatological conditions
          • Approach the management of chronic medical problems – diabetes, hypertension – from the perspective of a resource limited setting
      • Enhance public health skills by assisting with the implementation and/or evaluation of preventative health education initiatives
      • Conduct public health and/or clinical research
      • Strive to address community-identified needs
  • To gain insight into health care disparities and the social determinants of health
  • To increase cultural competency
  • To engage in self-reflection as a physician, contemplating the roles of health care providers and health care systems both at home and abroad

Course Requirements:

If you are interested in this course, please contact Iris Mast at or