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J Grad Med Educ. 2011 Sep;3(3):429-32. doi: 10.4300/JGME-03-03-31.

Opportunities in global health education: a survey of the virtual landscape.



A new generation of medical students is seeking residency programs offering global health education (GHE), and there is growing awareness of the benefits this training provides. However, basic factors that have an impact on its implementation and its effect on the residency match are insufficiently understood. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent of online information on GHE available to potential US pediatric residency program applicants.


Pediatric residency programs' websites were systematically examined in 2007, 2008, and 2009 to extract available information on GHE.


In 2007, 147 websites (76.2%) had no information available on GHE; 40 (20.7%) mentioned international opportunities; and 6 (3.1%) provided evidence of a global health track or program. In 2008, 123 websites (63.1%) had no information available on GHE; 57 (29.2%) mentioned international opportunities; and 15 (7.7%) had a formal program. In 2009, 105 websites (53.6%) had no information available on GHE; 70 (35.7%) mentioned international opportunities; and 21 (10.7%) had a formal program. Between 2007 and 2009, the percentage of pediatric residency programs with information on GHE available nearly doubled from 23.8% to 46.4%. Within the same period, the number of formal GHE programs offered more than tripled.


By the 2009-2010 academic year, the websites for nearly half of the residency programs mentioned international experiences, yet only a small number of these residencies appeared to have developed a formal GHE program. Further, the websites for many residency programs did not include information on the international opportunities they offered, with programs running the risk of failing to attract and ultimately match global health-minded applicants.

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