Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Glob Health. 2017 May - Aug;83(3-4):613-620. doi: 10.1016/j.aogh.2017.10.008. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Exploration of Global Health Careers Across the Medical Fields.

Author information

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.
Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt, New York, NY.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Electronic address:
NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY.
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.
Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.
Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL.



Despite expansion of interest among American medical students in global health (GH), academic medical centers face multiple obstacles to the development of structured GH curricula and career guidance. To meet these demands we sought to provide a systematic analysis of the accounts of GH experts.


We developed a collaborative, interview-based, qualitative analysis of GH experiences across six career-related themes that are relevant to medical students interested in GH: justification, medical education, economics, research prospects, law and ethics, and work-life balance. Seven GH faculty members were interviewed for 30-90 minutes using sample questions as guidelines. We applied a grounded theory approach to analyze the interview transcripts to discover an emerging theory pertinent to GH trainees.


Regarding justification, 4 respondents defined GH as work with the underserved irrespective of geographic location; 5 respondents found sustainability imperative; and all respondents believe GH creates better physicians. Respondents identified many physician competencies developed through GH medical education, with 5 respondents agreeing that work with underserved populations has transformative potential. Concerning economics, 3 respondents acknowledged GH's popularity among trainees, resulting in increased training opportunities, and 2 respondents emphasized an associated deficiency in program quality. All respondents described career models across specialties. Four respondents noted funding challenges when discussing research prospects. Within the theme of laws and ethics, 4 respondents perceived inadequate accountability, and 6 respondents identified ways to create accountability. Finally, 6 respondents recognized family demands can compromise one's GH career and thus work-life balance.


Despite diverse perspectives on the meaning and sustainability of GH work, this analysis provides a nascent framework that may inform curricular development for GH trainees. Suggestions are offered for elaborating this framework to fully exploit the transformative potential of GH training in medical education.


career advising; curriculum development; education; global health; grounded theory

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Ubiquity Press Icon for NYU School of Medicine
Loading ...
Support Center