Going Abroad & Funding

Funding CategoryApplications DueAwards
UNC Resident Physician Global Health Scholarship 2/15 & 9/15 3/15 & 10/15
Dr. Sanders Project & Hope Residency Scholarship 3/31


Congratulations to the Fall 2016 International Fellowship recipients!

Patience Obasaju, Pediatrics                     Lola Owolabi, Pediatrics                                                      

Mark Munns, ERMD                                    Erin Sukhu, Pediatrics                                            

Aaron Kline, Radiology                                Zarina Sharalaya, Internal Medicine                                                                


All UNC resident physicians are expected to matriculate through the Office of International Activities (OIA) in coordination with the GME Office. The GME Office must approve all international rotations and receives most of the required paperwork. We are happy to assist you with the planning of your international rotation to ensure that all GME Office and UNC policies are met and to help you navigate this process.  The first thing you should do is read over the UNC Resident International Rotation Policy provided in the GME requirements below. For a quick overview of what you need to do for the GME Office and for the OIA, see the GME and OIA Process Flowchart for Residents.

We want to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.  Please email for an appointment (shay_slifko@med.unc.edu) stop by our office, or ask us to meet you at Starbucks or another convenient location in the hospital! All GME forms should be turned into Kathryn Hill (kshill@unch.unc.edu) at the GME Office. All OIA forms should be turned into Shay Slifko () in the Office of International Activities.

Below the list of required forms is a step-by-step plan to help get you started and funding information.


Katie Koval-MD MPH PGY3 _Kenya
Katie Koval (PGY3) MD, MPH

OIA/UNCH Pre-Departure Requirements for International Rotations

(For questions and to schedule a meeting, please contact Shay_slifko@med.unc.edu)

1.  You MUST obtain UNC-sanctioned HTH international travel insurance in order to complete an international elective during residency and/or or receive funding from UNC sources. Fill out the HTH online travel health/evacuation insurance form.  Once you submit this form, wait for an email from the OIA within 7 business days instructing you in the next steps. You will purchase insurance after you receive an email from the OIA instructing you to do so. The email will include a link for purchasing HTH travel insurance and access to Sakai modules. Please allow at least 7 business days to process the insurance form before emailing Shay Slifko.

2.  Purchase travel health/evacuation insurance through UNC. (You will receive an email from the OIA instructing you how to purchase HTH travel insurance and give you access to Sakai. Please allow at least 7 business days to process the insurance form before emailing Shay Slifko).  

You will not receive the email instructing you to print your ID card until your registration information to HTH (which depending on your travel dates can be a couple of weeks – at the most) is sent. The emails are generated by HTH since they have unique certificate #s. Please expect a few weeks (or 3-5 days prior to your departure date) before you receive the link to print your insurance card.

3.  No less than 6-8 weeks prior to travel, all UNC resident physicians (and fellows or subspecialty residents under GME) must go through either Occupational Health Services (for hospital-paid residents/subsp residents) or University Employee Occupational Health Clinic for pre-travel medical evaluation prior to global health travel for international electives or research as per the UNC GME Policy on International Rotations (see below). All UNC/H residents (and fellows under GME) traveling international are required to see Occupational Health Services or University Employee Health Services 6-8 weeks prior to departing the U.S. to receive pre-travel medical evaluation (including vaccinations and prophylactic medications recommended by the CDC). Failure to secure an appointment with OHS within a minimum of 4 weeks from your departure date may result in official residency travel being prohibited.

  •           Hospital-paid Residents/Subspecialty Residents submit the COMPLETED OHS Pre-Appointment Form for Traveling Residents via email to Natalie.Guynn@unchealth.unc.edu. You will receive a confirmation email that this form has been received. Once the form has been reviewed by Occupational Health, you will be contacted with an appointment date and time. Please note: Appointments will not be scheduled same day and generally will not be scheduled that same week due to previous standing appointments. Failure to secure an appointment with OHS within a minimum of 4 weeks from your departure date may result in official residency travel being prohibited.
  •         University-paid Residents/Subspecialty Residents should go through the University Employee Health Services and should complete the Travel Immunization form on this page, and fax to UEOHC at 919-966-6337 after which you will be contacted to schedule an appointment.

4.  Register with the UNC Global Travel Registry/ Sign the travel waiver form at the end of the GTR (you will receive daily reminders if you do not submit the waiver).  You will not submit the completed travel waiver form to the OIA.

5.  Complete the two required online global health modules and subsequent quizzes. The two required travel modules are Cross-cultural Issues, Professionalism, and Ethics for Global Health Electives and Travel, Health and Safety Module. The login information for the quizzes are revealed within the modules.

6. Read, sign and submit the online Code of Conduct

7. Register your travel dates with the U.S. Department of State, take care of any immunizations, and leave a copy of emergency plans and contact information with a family member.

8. Complete all forms and waivers required by the GME and submit to in the GME Office. (see below)

9. Submit the evaluation of your international rotation to us, no later than 30 days, after your trip

10. Read and Print (2 copies) the UNC Emergency Plan for Resident Physicians during international travel. Leave one copy with a family member in the U.S. Save a backup on email or Google Drive.


GME Required Forms and Information Sheets for Residents

(For questions, please contact Kathryn Hill at Kathryn.Hill@unchealth.unc.edu)

UNC Residents International Rotation Policy (Overview of requirements, PDF sample of forms. Sections V and VII.C. refer to the resident reporting to Occupational Health Services before and (if necessary) after travel.) Submit and return to the GME office.

Letter of Agreement between UNC Health Care System and Host Institution (Template for letter mentioned in Section III of above rotation policy, obtain the signatures of your program director and host institution and return to the GME Office, which will obtain the signature of UNC Hospitals Vice President. Sign and return to the GME Office.)

Voluntary Participation and Assumption of Risk Agreement (Note that in section 3. the "issue date" refers to the U.S. Department of States' destination-site issued travel risks. No notary or witness required. Sign and return to the GME Office.)

Special Projects Professional Liability Form
(required for all away rotations, obtain signature of residency program director and return to the
GME Office, which will obtain the signature of UNC Hospitals Vice President and Chair of the Liability Council. Sign and return to the GME Office.)

Letter from Program Director for Non-Clinical Away Rotations
(only required if your rotation does not involve any direct patient care, return to the GME Office)

Resident Evaluation of International Rotation
(complete and return by email to the OIA to serve as a resource for future residents. If a fillable PDF form does not open, try a different browser or request this form by email. You must have Adobe Reader 8 or a newer version to save your responses. You can download the free Adobe Reader here)

Resident Physician Global Health Elective End of Elective Assessment by On-Site Supervisor (supervisor completes and resident returns to Resident's Program Coordinator or Program Director)

Submit to GME: All required documents listed above with the exception of 1) the Resident Evaluation of International Rotation- Submit to the OIA and 2) End of Elective Assessment by On-Site Supervisor

                                          Please view our timeline for residents interested in establishing an international rotation.

Step 1 - Get a clear understanding of what your options are for electives during residency at UNC

Here is a list of places and organizations residents have worked with in the past.  It might be helpful to look at these resources including the GHEC Residency Handbook and some of the national and international organizations that medical students at UNC have worked with over the years. Also, we have access to other resources and several global health education listservs that we can use to help you find a site or organization. Planning any kind of international project takes a considerable amount of time and energy and its important to start the process early and to have your international elective approved by your program director and the GME office.  Moreover, sometimes a trip can fall through for a variety of reasons thus the earlier you plan, the more time you will have to work out the kinks or make other plans.

Step 2 - Plan ahead for your international elective

There are established opportunities in many countries, and you can always create your own opportunity as well. It is an RRC requirement that all resident physicians working abroad are directly supervised by a board certified physician and covered under UNC's malpractice policy.

Please note that all UNC students, residents and faculty must comply with UNC travel policies, which relies on the US State Department and the CDC to determine countries (and sometimes regions within countries) which are considered safe and appropriate for elective travel.  Residents must read and sign the "Release and Hold Harmless Agreement" in the GME International Rotations Policy regarding the risks of international travel. There is a current  list of countries that residents cannot travel to and others for which special waivers are needed maintained on the Office of Global Health site through the SPH. For more information or concerns, please contact OIA director Martha Carlough (martha_carlough@med.unc.edu).

Step 3 - Identify a faculty advisor in your department to work with 

Identify a faculty advisor in your department to work with who will assist you in developing educational objectives and completing the UNC Resident International Rotation Policy (see form above).  The required forms will also have to be approved by your program director and forwarded to Kathryn Hill ((kathryn.hill@unchealth.unc.edu) at the GME Office. The OIA can assist you in finding faculty with an interest in global health and walking you through the required forms if you need additional support. Below is a list of global health contact faculty within UNC residencies. These faculty are a good place to start for mentoring, ideas, and resources connecting you to global health, but if there is not a point person in your residency or you need help, please contact the OIA.


Department Physician Email
Anesthesiology Jay A. Anderson, DDS, MD janderson@aims.unc.edu
Dermatology Luis Diaz, MD Luis_Diaz@med.unc.edu
Emergency Medicine Justin Myers, DO, MPH Justin_Myers@med.unc.edu
ENT Carol Shores, MD MPH carol_shores@med.unc.edu
Family Medicine Martha Carlough, MD, MPH Martha_carlough@med.unc.edu
Sylvia Becker-Dreps,MD, MPH sbd@email.unc.edu
Med/Peds Rick Hobbs, MD Richard_hobbs@med.unc.edu
Alan Liles, MD Edmund_liles@med.unc.edu
Medicine Lee Berkowitz, MD lee_berkowitz@med.unc.edu
Neonatology Wayne Price, MD wayne_price@med.unc.edu
Melissa Bauserman, MD MPH melissa_bauserman@med.unc.edu
Neurology David Huang, MD huangd@neurology.unc.edu
Neurosurgery Deanna Sasaki-Adams, MD deanna_sasaski_adams@med.unc.edu
OB/GYN Jeff Stringer, MD (CIDRZ - Zambia) jeff_stringer@unc.edu
Tom Ivester, MD Thomas_ivester@med.unc.edu
Gretchen Stuart, MD gretchen_stuart@med.unc.edu
Ophthalmology Kenneth Cohen, MD Kenneth_l_cohen@med.unc.edu
Orthopaedics Robert Esther, MD bob@med.unc.edu
Laurence Dahners laury@med.unc.edu
Pediatrics Richard Hobbs, MD Richard.Hobbs@unchealth.unc.edu
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Heather Walker, MD heather_walker@med.unc.edu
Preventive Medicine Deborah Porterfield, MD, MPH deborah_porterfield@med.unc.edu
Psychiatry Adult and Pediatric Roberto Blanco, MD roberto_blanco@med.unc.edu
Radiology Sheryl Jordan, MD and Robert Dixon, MD (Assoc Director) sheryl_jordan@med.unc.edu
Surgery Anthony Charles, MD anthony_charles@med.unc.edu
UNC Project Malawi/Infectious Disease Myron Cohen, MD myron_cohen@med.unc.edu
Irving Hoffman, PA irving_hoffman@med.unc.edu

The University Center for Global Initiatives maintains a search engine of collaborative agreements and faculty involved in international projects which may be helpful as well.  Also check with the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease and the School of Public Health Office of Global Health for specific areas of interest and geographic experience of UNC faculty for ideas. Many faculty are willing to help with international electives.

Step 4 - Make a schedule of deadlines and required forms and review these with your faculty advisor

It is very easy, in the busyness of residency, to get overwhelmed with paperwork and arrangements and to miss deadlines for getting things done. Global health opportunities are usually well worth the effort, but do require staying on top of things.

Step 5 - Find and apply for funding $$$

Finding funding for going abroad generally comes from a combination of 3 sources: yourself (including your salary), scholarships or grants. In most situations, a global health elective is going to cost some money out of your pocket.  Funding is available for UNC/H resident physicians (and fellows under GME office) for global health electives on a competitive basis. Scholarships will be funded for up to $2,000 per resident offered on a biannual funding cycle through the SOM Office of International Activities (awards in March and October each year). In order for a resident to apply, he/she must have completed at least the first year of postgraduate training, be in academic good standing, have the approval of the Program Director (including approval of away dates) and Departmental chair, and have completed all other requirements according to the Policy and Procedures of the GME office for international rotations. Electives must be a minimum of two weeks in duration and four weeks is encouraged. Applications are available here and will be considered according to the following schedule:

  • Applications are due by February 15th, with decision by March 15th
  • Applications are due by September 15th with decision by October 15th

For any questions about this process, please contact the Office of International Activities before completing the application.

Additional Funding Sources:

American Women's Hospital Services Overseas Assistance Grant program provides travel grants for  residents working in clinics around the world.  Students have traveled to a number of countries ranging from Uganda, Peru, India, Nepal, South Africa. $1,000 max.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynocologists Global Health Scholars Program is designed to develop the global health skills of Fellows and Junior Fellows by providing supervised experiences for residents or junior faculty from each setting.

The University of Washington Global and Rural Health Fellowship in Internal Medicine is a two year program based in a structured curriculum containing clinical and research training in global health, clinical training with Native populations in Alaska and South Dakota, education, mentorship, and teaching opportunities. 

The Dr. Charles A Sanders/Project HOPE International Residency Scholarship Program is open to medical residents from UNC/Chapel Hill, Duke University, East Carolina University, and Wake Forest University and awards funding for a one to two month supervised global health elective at a HOPE program site. Applications available in January/February each year and are submitted directly to Project Hope.


Step 6 - Get ready to travel safely and be prepared for emergencies

Travel insurance including evacuation is required for all UNC residents and faculty traveling outside of the US as part of work or residency experience.  Residents are required to purchase travel health insurance through UNC School of Medicine.

You MUST obtain UNC-sanctioned HTH international travel insurance in order to complete an international elective during residency and/or or receive funding from UNC sources.

HTH (http://www.hthstudents.com) is the provider of the UNC-sanctioned insurance. You must purchase this from Shay Slifko () in the Office of International Activities. The daily premium is $1.42/day. If you need coverage before or after the dates of your project, the premium is $2.95/day.  You will receive an insurance card directly from HTH that you should carry with you when you travel.  You can start the process of purchasing insurance by filling out the web form found here.

**Please note: You are not able to sign up for before/after coverage until after you have received an email from HTH enrollment with your assigned certificate number. Before/after coverage registration is located on a separate website and is not done through our web form.

**(Refer to Kathryn Hill) Your regular UNC disabilities insurance coverage will remain in effect so as long as you:

  • are on 'assignment' for 6 months or less
  • If a student becomes disabled while on assignment, he or she will need to return to the US to file a claim.
  • are in an area that is not under a "red" travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department. 


UNC resident physicians traveling as part of their education, for research or other formal work, or those who have received funding through the University must all review the US State Department country-specific consular information and any travel warnings or alerts (http://www.travel.state.gov/) as well as the information on the Center for Disease Control site (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) prior to travel.

All UNC/H resident physicians traveling as part of their formal residency training (e.g. other than personal travel on vacation) should be aware of the travel restrictions. The UNC Office of the Provost closely follows the information from the US State Department (for political and civil unrest issues as well as natural disasters) and the Center for Disease Control (for health/epidemic issues) in making decisions about where UNC personnel can travel at any given time based on health and safety risks.  It is important to be aware that some countries are off limits for travel for academic/research purposes. The list of countries changes when new travel warnings and alerts are released by the State Department or CDC, and is kept up to date on the Provost website at: http://provost.unc.edu/policies/travel_warning

All UNC resident physicians must also purchase evacuation insurance as directed. If you would like to have additional coverage beyond the maximum coverage dates stated below, you can contact the insurance provider, Highway to Health, directly. For an overview of what this insurance covers, please see the HTH coverage information.

HTH Website: http://www.hthtravelinsurance.com/
HTH brochure: https://www.med.unc.edu/oia/files/HTH%20coverage%20information.pdf


Next Step for Residents:
All residents participating in an international rotation are REQUIRED to complete two online modules:“Travel Health and Safety” and “Cross-cultural Issues, Ethics and Professionalism for global health electives” prior to leaving the US. To access the two required modules, you must first fill out the online insurance form (mentioned above). You will then receive an email granting you access to the GLBE999.MOD.1112 Sakai site where the modules and quizzes are located.  Please click here for more information about these modules.

Conducting Research?

Any resident who is engaged in the planning, conduct or analysis of research involving human subjects MUST complete CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative training (see http://research.unc.edu/offices/human-research-ethics) and have, or be included in, the IRB approval of any research. Residents who fail to comply with this policy will not be allowed to proceed with the international rotation. 


1. If you have a medical emergency (serious illness/hospitalization or injury) that may need attention beyond what is locally available while you are out of the USA, contact the HTH Worldwide at 1-800-257-4823 (toll free inside the US) or 1-610-254-8771 (toll free outside the US) or email assist@hthworldwide.com. If it is a life threatening emergency, seek medical care THEN call HTH Worldwide.

2. If you have a non-medical emergency (know of a disappearance/kidnapping of another student or criminal assault or you are involved in a police action) contact the US embassy or consulate in the country where you are staying. If appropriate, embassy personnel will contact local police on your behalf. Embassy/Consulate information is available at: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/ . Go to this website before you leave the US, and record this information for your country of travel so you have it easily available. Before you travel, you should also complete travel registration on the US Dept of State website at: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/. This let’s the State Department know that you are traveling/staying in a particular country in case there is a need to find you.

Traveling to (country): ___________________________________________________________

Address and phone # of US Embassy or Consulate:


3. If there is concern for serious political crisis or a national disaster (political violence or state of emergency, natural disaster such as a flood or hurricane) in the country where you are staying which is recognized as a state of emergency necessitating evacuation, contact the US embassy who will have information available and a plan for US citizens living abroad for safety precautions and/or evacuation if necessary. ALSO contact HTH Worldwide. For most covered events, HTH will pay for evacuation to the nearest place of safety or home country of residence.
In all cases, be prepared to give information on the name of the person injured/ill or the situation that has occurred along with time, date and place, the telephone # of the person reporting the emergency and a time and # when further communication can take place about the emergency and preferred method (fax, phone, email)

You should also always travel with name and contacts in the US in an emergency (e.g. family members, Program Director and/or Residency Coordinator, Department Chairman).


Checklist: Before you Go

•Have you completed the necessary paperwork for your residency program and the GME office?

•Have you received the necessary immunizations, etc.?

• Will you need a Visa for the country you are going to?

• Have you checked out the State Department warning for your country?

•For the OIA requirements: Have you filled out the travel insurance forms and purchased travel health insurance, completed the required modules and quizzes on Sakai, signed and submitted the Code of Conduct form online, registered your trip in the UNC Global Travel Registry, and obtained a copy of your insurance card (provided electronically once process is complete)?

• If you are doing research, have you started the IRB process?

• Have you checked out the Centers for Disease Control's advice on medications, safe travel tips and immunizations for the country you are going to?

Complete all forms and waivers required by the GME and submit to Kathryn Hill (Kathryn.Hill@unchealth.unc.edu) in the GME office