University of Southern California

There are many opportunities to serve/volunteer or participate in research overseas. There follows some helpful information as you consider this exciting  opportunity.

Some examples from our students:

Victor Hsiao

As a Dean’s Research Scholar, I designed and conducted a study in Taiwan examining the social determinants of health among at-risk teenage boys. I selected a methodology called Photovoice, which relies on photographs and narratives produced by study participants to facilitate advocacy by sharing their voices with stakeholders. This work was shared with local stakeholders including schools, social workers, and hospitals; featured in the local news; exhibited at major Taiwanese institutions; and presented at international conferences. My research showed that sustained mentorship and self-esteem building activities are critical to building resilience and lasting behavioral changes in these at-risk youth.

Prior to publication, I had already believed this to be true and I spent all my free time mentoring at-risk youth through tutoring, music lessons, and various other activities. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to learn from and empower these youth with the skills to meet their potential. 

Bianka Aguilar

Prior to medical school, I got my B.A. in Public Health at UC Berkeley. Besides this, I also worked for a non-profit organization that focused on working with Latin American governments to address immigrant health. When I was accepted to medical school, I knew I wanted to incorporate my passion for global health and immigrant health somehow.

I decided to make my RSP project that outlet. Fortunately, I was able to find a project in Cuernavaca, Mexico working with the Mexican Social Security Institute that was investigating knowledge, attitudes and habits towards smoking and in particular vaping. During my time there I was able to not only use my Public Health skills, but also gained exposure to the Mexican health system, and in particular their approach to chronic disease and primary care. Besides this, I was also able to practice my Spanish! 

Agnes Premkumar

Research Summer 2019- Costa Rica

I had the privilege of conducting research in Costa Rica for six weeks in the summer between my first and second year of medical school; I was involved with two community based projects centered around the Ngäbe-Buglé community. One of the projects was in analyzing the impact of oral health education sessions organized by Hands for Health, a local non-profit organization. The other project was in creating a culturally competent reproductive health education campaign for teenagers in the community. Costa Rica’s unique health infrastructure allowed me a new perspective into the integration of primary care and public health.

Most of my medical school education thus far had not emphasized the role of doctors within a health system and I was able to explore that further through my research and interactions with local doctors and healthcare administrators. Furthermore, topics centered on cultural competency, health education, and health policy intertwined closely with the work I was doing each day. I enjoyed working at the community-level alongside community leaders, community members, and Hands for Health administrators. My experience not only solidified my interest in global health and primary care but also has helped me appreciate different approaches to primary care, healthcare delivery, and health management. It continues to teach me about being a global-minded physician and has given me a deeper glimpse into the impact of healthcare across various sectors.

Why Global Health Matters to primary care physicians

Global Health and Primary Care: Increasing burden of chronic diseases and need for integrated training

Preparing for Global Health Work as a Primary Care Physician

Global Health opportunities in Family Medicine

World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)

Dhablania and Kim Family Global Medicine Fellowship program. 

For those wishing to embark on research and study relating to global medical need. Up to $5K for a summer research project, requires application project outline & faculty mentor support.

(apply by mid-February)

Breman fellowship 

“…to deepen students’ appreciation of how best to address health problems in developing countries. The fellowship supports students interested in global health and public service careers by funding field, clinical or laboratory research experience in a foreign country.”

(applications close in March)