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J Emerg Med. 2014 Jun;46(6):847-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2013.11.101. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Global health education in emergency medicine residency programs.

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Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.
Elmhurst Hospital Center, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York.



Interest in global health and international electives is growing among Emergency Medicine (EM) residents in the United States (US). The majority of EM residency programs offer opportunities for international electives. The degree of participation among residents and type of support provided by the residency program, however, remains unclear.


To explore the current state of global health education among EM residents who participate in international electives.


A 12-question survey was e-mailed to the program directors of the 192 EM residency programs in the US. The survey included questions about the number of residents participating in international electives and the types of preparation, project requirements, supervision, and feedback participating residents receive.


The response rate was 53% with 102 responses. Seventy-five of 102 (74%) programs reported that at least one resident participated in an international elective in the 2010-2011 academic year. Forty-three programs (42%) report no available funding to support any resident on an international elective. Residents receive no preparation for international work in 41 programs (40%). Only 25 programs (26%) required their residents to conduct a project while abroad. Forty-nine programs (48%) reported no formal debriefing session, and no formal feedback was collected from returning residents in 57 of 102 (59%) programs.


The majority of EM residencies have residents participating in international electives. However, the programs report variable preparation, requirements, and resident supervision. These results suggest a need for an expanded and more structured approach to international electives undertaken by EM residents.


emergency medicine residency programs; global health education; international medicine education; preparation

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