Medical Students Take Their Learning Online with Summer Global Health Course
UNC Global Affairs
Foundations in Global Health virtual orientation
Future physicians are experiencing the impact of COVID-19 on their curriculum and the ability to travel for global health electives, so the UNC School of Medicine adapted a summer course on global health into a remote learning experience.
Offered by the UNC Office of Global Health Education (OGHE) within the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases, the remote version of Foundations in Global Health enables students whose travel was affected by COVID-19 restrictions to complete a global health course online. Given the current global health crisis, OGHE added content on global COVID-19 and humanitarian emergency response.
The class is comprised of 10 medical students, some of whom are international students from partner institutions. Three final-year medical students, two from the University of Nairobi in Kenya and one from the University of Navarra in Spain, were set to come to Carolina for clinical rotations before COVID-19 travel restrictions came into place.
“COVID-19 travel restrictions have had a great impact on our students, effectively causing all electives to be cancelled this year, but remote learning does offer unique opportunities for students from all over the world to connect in the same class,” said Martha Carlough, director of the OGHE and professor in family medicine.
Students will study topics highly relevant to the current global health crisis, including foundations of global health and pandemics. As part of the course requirements, students attend the virtual INMED Humanitarian Health Conference, complete open courses on respiratory viruses through the World Health Organization, and complete West Virginia University’s comprehensive Clinical Tropical Medicine module.
The course is worth six medical school credits, which equals 160 hours, equivalent to a month’s worth of full-time coursework. It runs from June 1 to Aug. 1 and is mostly asynchronous, apart from a live orientation and concluding session.
The class is led by OGHE leadership and UNC School of Medicine instructors, including Carlough; Sylvia Becker-Dreps, associate professor in family medicine and epidemiology; Justin Myers, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine; and Shay Slifko, assistant director of the OGHE.