The demand for an increased global health focus in the Faculty of Medicine

William Stokes, Carolyn Arbanas, Paula Cooper, George Goucher, Tracey Dyer, Fady Kamel, Alison Pridham, James Quinlan, Janet Roberts, Dave Watton, Jill Allison

Abstract


Introduction Research suggests that medical students who participate in global health activities have a better understanding of public health, increased cultural competency, higher levels of respect and compassion toward patients, and are more likely to practice primary care and in under-serviced areas. Memorials Faculty of Medicine has recently begun to develop global health programs in line with other medical schools in Canada.
Objectives Determine the level of interest among pre-clerkship medical students for (1) Increasing global health content within the undergraduate medical school curriculum, (2) Developing more opportunities for international and low resource training, (3) Implementing a global health elective. Methods Students in the classes of 2013-2016 in the Faculty of Medicine at MUN participated in a voluntary survey aimed at gauging their interest in global health prior to beginning clerkship. Results 188 pre-clerkship medical students were surveyed. Of those: 77% felt there was a lack of global health content in the pre-clerkship curriculum; 74% would be interested in completing a global health elective. 134 students from the classes of 2014- 2016 completed an expanded survey. Of those: 84% support an annual global health event at Memorial University; 92% support the establishment of the Global Health office; 83% express desire to travel abroad for a medical elective; 83% support mandatory pre- and post-departure training; 84% support an international partnership between Memorial University and a health institution in another country. Conclusions Survey results indicate wide support among pre-clerkship students for more activities in global health within and outside the curriculum. Moreover, students interests in pursuing medical activities abroad demonstrate the need of developing international partnerships. The results emphasize the importance of global health programming in the Faculty of Medicine.

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