Internationalization of Medical Education—Building a Program to Prepare Future Leaders in Healthcare
In a globally interconnected world, internationalization of medical education has become increasingly important. While many programs focus on international programs for clinical students, the number of programs for preclinical medical and dental students is small. Based in the Anatomy course, the program presented here involves early international collaborations between preclinical students from six countries. Our work involves small-group video sessions and a large international student videoconference (including cultural and didactic components). The online connections progress with in-person basic sciences summer internships undertaken at the international partner institutions. This collaborative program features unique elements that facilitate cultural exchange and help develop leadership skills in healthcare early in a student’s career. We present recommendations for international program implementation.
KeywordsInternationalization of medical education Peer-to-peer collaboration Student collaboration Leadership Global health
The authors wish to thank Dr. Kevin Roth, Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA, for his ongoing support and encouragement of this project; Dr. Michael Shelanski, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, for his ongoing support of student research exchanges; Dr. Lawrence Stanberry, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of “The Programs in Global Health” at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Dr. Lisa Mellman, Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, for their tremendous efforts in establishing partnerships between the various schools; Dr. Stephen Nicholas, Founder of the Program for Global and Population Health, for his funding support of student exchanges; Dr. Henry Park from the Columbia Center for Education Research and Evaluation, Columbia University, for his help with the design of the student questionnaires; and the late Dr. Hilmar Stolte, Professor of Nephrology at the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany, for connecting the medical schools of Columbia University, USA, and Martin Luther University, Germany.
The authors deeply appreciate the help of the members of the Apgar Medical Education Scholarship Group and the libraries at Columbia University (Dr. Deepthiman Gowda, Dr. Athina Vassilakis, and Anna Getselman). The authors thank Drs. Nina Rothschild and Michael Fortgang for their help with the review of the manuscript and their editorial assistance.
The authors are very grateful for the help of the international student leaders who participated in the annual student conferences.
Disclosure for Funding
This study was partially funded by the Virginia Apgar Society of Medical Educators, Columbia University, New York, NY.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
This study was approved by IRB protocol # AAAO3715 (Columbia University) and protocol # A06-B42-17A (McGill University).
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