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Teaching Corner: Raising the Bar: Ethical Considerations of Medical Student Preparation for Short-Term Immersion Experiences

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Short-term international medical outreach experiences are becoming more popular among medical students. As the popularity of these trips grows, participants, scholars, and institutions have become more aware of the potential pitfalls of such experiences. Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) has an approximately 20-year international service immersion (ISI) program that has sent more than 1,400 participants to more than 30 countries. Recently, ISI programming has been adjusted to provide students more formal sessions exploring the ethics of the ISI trips. Students are required to attend both pre- and post-trip educational sessions covering a wide range of relevant global health topics as well as participating in in-country reflections and post-trip debriefings. This recent adjustment has evolved further to become the foundation for the SSOM’s four-year Global Health Honors program that not only encourages an ethical foundation for the student’s ISI experience but also hopes to provide a foundation for students as they look toward a future career in global health.

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Correspondence to Virginia McCarthy.

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Kittle, N., McCarthy, V. Teaching Corner: Raising the Bar: Ethical Considerations of Medical Student Preparation for Short-Term Immersion Experiences. Bioethical Inquiry 12, 79–84 (2015).

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