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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2012 Dec;112(12):800-4.

International health electives: strengthening graduate medical education.

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  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Program, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0600, USA.


An international health elective (IHE) can be an important component of the medical education and professional development of a physician. It provides essential global health skills that are crucial in a globalized society. Graduate medical education has an opportunity to deliver such skills to our health care workforce while addressing the pending workforce shortage and the uneven distribution of primary care physicians across the United States. Currently, there is a call for graduate medical education programs to create more training sites and to undergo reform that will help fill residency slots and train more primary care physicians. The author proposes that graduate medical education programs incorporate international health electives into their accredited residency programs. This addition could potentially strengthen their programs while making them more appealing to qualified candidates.

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