MD Program

  • Global Health Distinction Track

    If you would like to discuss the fit of the Global Health Distinction Track to your plans please contact:

    Robin Paetzold, Director, Global Programs
    1187A MERF
    (319) 353-5762

    Global Health is a field of study addressing the health of populations in a global context and transends the political boundaries of nations. The Consortium of Universities for Global Health states, "It has been defined as 'the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide'." Issues in the field include focus on social determinants of health, healthcare disparities including infectious and non-communicable disease issues, human rights as well as economic development, and policy and system issues.


    The purpose of the Global Health Distinction Track is to support and guide students in developing expertise in global health issues with the goal of subsequent career involvement in Global Health involving service, policy making, research, and/or teaching.


    • To prepare students to collaborate in global health projects with the goal of serving individual and community health needs through research, clinical involvement and health education.
    • To provide students with the skill set to appropriately prioritize healthcare concerns and participate in the development and implementation of strategies to address these needs.
    • To provide mentorship to students interested in global health involvement in their careers.
    • To enable students to have perspective on the rewards and challenges of working in environments and cultures in contrast to those of the American system.


    Successful completion of the Global Health Distinction Track includes:

    • Satisfactory completion of two on-campus Global Programs elective courses (050:281 and 050:285).
    • Community-based involvement in approved Global Programs electives and clerkships for a minimum of twelve weeks within the four years.
    • Completion of a Global Health emphasis Project:
      • Identification of an area of Global Health emphasis and faculty mentor to oversee work
      • Project will include submission of concept paper identifying and defining a health care need in a region; submitting an action plan to begin to address the need through healthcare assessment; participation in research or service delivery in the field; identifying College of Medicine faculty member(s) to guide and monitor progress; submission of a final report on activity to Distinction Track Review Committee
    • Submission of information on completion of all requirements to the Review Committee.

    Suggested program for completion of track:

    M1 year

    • Completion of one on-campus elective course
    • Completion of an 8-week Global Programs elective with project during summer between M1 and M2 years under faculty guidance

    M2 year

    • Completion of one on-campus elective course
    • Further development of a global health interest area and identification of faculty mentor
    • Submission of project abstract to acceptable regional/national/international academic conference

    M3 year

    • Definition of interest area and initial work on identifying a community in which to pursue final M4 year clerkship to complete project

    M4 year

    • Completion of at least one M4 Global Programs clerkship relating to chosen emphasis topic
    • Submission of final paper
    • Approval by Review Committee