6-Step Timeline

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

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

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

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

Richard Hobbs, MD

Elizabeth Fitzgerald, MD



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

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 $$$

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

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