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Medical Student Surgery Elective in Rural Haiti: A Novel Approach to Satisfying Clerkship Requirements While Providing Surgical Care to an Underserved Population

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The addition of global health programs to medical school training results in graduates with enhanced clinical skills and increased sensitivity to cost issues. Funding from U.S. medical schools has been unable to meet student demand, and therefore it is often a critical limiting factor to the lack of development of these programs. We describe an alternative approach for global health surgical training for medical students.


Emory University medical students and faculty, in collaboration with Project Medishare for Haiti, planned, raised funds, and executed a successful short-term surgical camp to supplement available surgical services in rural Haiti. Learning objectives that satisfied Emory University School of Medicine surgery clerkship requirements were crafted, and third-year students received medical school credit for the trip.


In the absence of house staff and placed in an under-resourced, foreign clinical environment, the surgical elective described here succeeded in meeting learning objectives for a typical third-year surgical clerkship. Objectives were met through a determined effort to ensure that home institution requirements were aligned properly with learning activities while students were abroad and through a close collaboration between medical students, faculty members, and the administration.


Emory University’s international surgery elective for medical students demonstrates that opportunities for supervised, independent student-learning and global health service can be integrated into a traditional surgical clerkship. These opportunities can be organized to meet the requirements and expectations for third-year surgery clerkships at other medical colleges. This work also identifies how such trips can be planned and executed in a manner that does not burden strained academic budgets with further demands on resources.

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Correspondence to Anthony Chin-Quee.

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Chin-Quee, A., White, L., Leeds, I. et al. Medical Student Surgery Elective in Rural Haiti: A Novel Approach to Satisfying Clerkship Requirements While Providing Surgical Care to an Underserved Population. World J Surg 35, 739–744 (2011).

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