VAW Global Health Alliances develops community health systems while providing interns the opportunity to work alongside experienced local healthcare professionals. VAW Global Medical Interns work closely with community partners to implement primary medical clinics across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Through the Medical Outreach program, interns learn about healthcare in a global context and disease diagnosis, treatment courses, and clinic operations through shadowing, measuring vital signs, and learning about basic pharmacology — all under the direct supervision of experienced local physicians and staff.
Interns will prepare for their trip throughout the year by attending team training sessions, participating in local community service projects, and developing team building activities, led by their Team Leader or Faculty Team Leader. Interns are required to attend trainings and workshops prior to their trip, so that they are well prepared upon arrival in country.
This is an intensive internship — valuable to future nurses, physicians, physicians assistants, as well as other future healthcare providers, global practitioners, and anyone interested in gaining skills in public health while supporting healthcare systems around the world.
While on-site, interns will be required to attend several orientations and workshops focused on professional development and cultural sensitivity, which will reinforce the trainings they did leading up to their trip. Additionally, interns will be required to demonstrate proficiency in clinical skills, such as measuring blood pressure, taking temperature, and recording body mass index (BMI), among other skills — approved by a local healthcare provider — before being allowed to assist in those stations during clinics.
Throughout their time in-country, and especially while in clinic, it is of utmost importance that interns portray health care realities and burden of disease accurately, show professionalism, and respect patients privacy and integrity at all times. During clinics, interns will be placed each day in one of following stations:
Interns will greet patients as they come into clinic, collect their personal and medical history, and record their current symptoms. They will work with local community leaders, VAW Global staff, and, in some countries, translators. They will record all of the information for the physician’s review.
Interns will measure patients’ vital signs, including temperature, pulse, respiration rate, and blood pressure, under the direct supervision of a locally licensed nurse, physician, or other local healthcare provider. Interns must have tested out of training in order to participate in this station.
Interns will have the opportunity to learn about disease diagnosis and treatment courses by shadowing locally licensed physicians. If the patient allows, interns will have the opportunity to shadow the consultation and listen as the doctor meets with the patient, does an exam, provides a diagnoses, prescribes treatment (if necessary), and gives general advice. This station really provides interns who are engaged and interested with an incredible opportunity to learn healthcare in a global context.
Interns will have the opportunity to assist a locally licensed pharmacist, nurse, or physician with collecting and filling prescriptions. The local healthcare staff will confirm that each prescription is filled correctly; they will then give the medications to the patient and reiterate the instructions provided by the physician. Note: All medications are purchased in the country where the clinics are being conducted to ensure strict conformity with the guidelines of the World Health Organization which require that medications are based on local formularies and in local languages.
Professional Development Activity
On the two week trip, interns may have the opportunity to visit a health center or hospital to have a better understanding of the local system, learn about community health and medicine practices, or participate in a suture workshop (activities vary by country).
Based on each school’s needs, our teams work with community teachers to develop different health promotion projects throughout the year in collaboration with local partners.
VAW Global Medical Outreach offers two trip lengths: two weeks (15 days) or one week (7 days). On the two week trip, there will be six clinic days; on the one week trip, there will be three clinic days. Each country varies slightly in how the schedule is arranged and what opportunities are available.
All interns are responsible for covering their program fees, medication and supply fund fee, plane tickets, spending money, and any additional expenses.
VAW Global Health Alliances constantly strives to provide the best quality patient care for local communities and the best professional development opportunities for the interns. We follow the guidelines outlined by leading organizations, such as the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Please feel free to read through the guidelines AAMC has established for pre-medical students here or visit their website directly here.