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Course Number: GLBE 477

Course Title: Global Primary Care

Who can Participate?: Application phase (MS3) and Individualization phase (MS4)

Course description:Student must receive permission from course faculty and prior approval from the Office of International Activities to apply this course to a global health elective site. The site is variable according to approved program and country.

Learning Objective: This elective is intended for primary care oriented, global clinical or community health experiences outside of the USA; preferably in a developing country or LMIC. After completing the elective, the student will have gained a broader understanding of the primary health care movement historically and key primary health care issues in the country of their elective as well as identify the impact that socioeconomics and culture have on health care delivery.

Learning Activities: Students are expected to take an active role in selecting and designing their elective by meeting with one of the course faculty prior to the elective to define plans for supervision and fulfillment of course requirements. Students must complete all requirements through the OIA for students on a global elective.  Students may apply for funding through the OIA and other sources interpedently. Interested students should contact Sylvia Becker-Dreps or Heidi White. Students are expected to complete an evaluation of their elective and have the on-site preceptor complete an evaluation of their performance. In addition to completing the two papers below, students will need to complete a GEOJOURNAL for the country in which they will be working.  A form for the geojournal is available on the OIA course sakai site.

Evaluation: Presentation/Patient Presentation, Patient Write-Ups, Paper

Paper Guidelines: (for evaluation on H/HP/P/F basis)

Length:  Maximum 6 pages, 12 pt font, double-spaced, APA format (each paper)

Due Date:  One month after completion of rotation. And must be completed no later than March 30th of the graduation year

Contact: Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD, MPH (; and Heidi White (, MIS

Supervising Faculty: Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD, MPH (

Other Faculty: Heidi White

Requirements: Completion of at least six months of clinical rotations. Students are also required to obtain travel health insurance and complete all other requirements for medical students traveling abroad through the OGHE (

Course Credit: Yes, 6 credit hours

Time of Year & duration: 4- week Global elective component. Available On a rotating basis after 6 months of clinical electives have been completed.

Special instructions: Students are also required to obtain SOM required travel health insurance and complete all other requirements for medical students traveling abroad through the Office of International Activities. Any student involved in human subjects research will also obtain IRB approval or be included on the IRB of sponsoring faculty. Course is not open to international visiting students.


Suggested outline of paper:

  1. Description of the clinic/setting in which you worked, including its history, funding sources and costs of services to patients, population served and major programs and staffing. Describe a typical day in clinic or facility.
  2. Reflecting on the original 1978 Declaration of Alma Ata, what aspects of a high functioning primary health care system did you see or participate in? What aspects or services may have been missing or need strengthening?
  3. From your experience, do you think primary care “worked” in the country you worked in (more broadly than the clinical setting you participated in)? To inform your answer, please read: Rohde J, et al. 30 years after Alma-Ata: has primary health care worked in countries? Lancet. 2008 Sep 13;372(9642):950-61.
  4. Summary, including a discussion of how this experience will affect your understanding of the importance of primary health care for all and societal or system changes necessary to promote primary health care.
  5. List of references


This paper is intended as a deeper look at an important global health topic and evidence based community primary care interventions to address it. Examples include a) prevention of neonatal mortality, b) a non-communicable illness in low or middle income countries “LMIC”, c) vaccine-preventable infections. The student should review the current literature on the topic (see suggested articles on sakai course site) and provide a summary of evidence and interventions.

Suggested outline of paper:

  • Introduction of topic
  • What is the global burden of this disease and what is the burden in the country of student elective?
  • What interventions have been shown to effectively prevent or reduce the burden of the disease? How can well-functioning primary care be part of this solution?
  • What might be some of the challenges to implementation of these effective interventions?
  • What future action or research is needed?
  • List of references