he Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) International & Appalachian Outreach program includes three full-time international sites for student rotation, collaborative education and improved diagnostics, and episodic medical outreach trips on acute care and public health leading to long term sustainability in selected geographical settings. Students and faculty provide year round clinics in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras. The work in the Dominican Republic was recognized as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.
The international program follows a continuum logic model of introduction to immersion. First, students elect 1-week mission trips in 1st and 2nd year. Second, based on these short term experiences, students elect one or more month-long international rotation(s) where they also support mission trips. Third and concurrently, students complete medical curriculum, gain practical clinical experience, rotate in hospitals, study tropical diseases, and gain understanding of culture. Students who participate in this curriculum may choose a Global Health Fellowship program (pending). The program is completed over a three-year period, MS3, MS4, MS5, and the student has the opportunity to complete an online MPH or PhD program with one of our affiliate universities.
Our commitment to global health by establishing local health clinics and responding to disasters is discussed further in our overview of Medical Missions / Outreach and in each site of the Medical Missions/ Outreach section. Click on the links to the left to go to information on Appalachia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and El Salvador.
VCOM offers multiple medical outreach trips to each site during student breaks. Trip participants include 20-25 students and 3-5 VCOM faculty members (a total of 180-225 participants each year). Students and faculty engage in health promotion and prevention activities through field clinics, surveys, vaccination campaigns, and basic community and public health outreach activities while delivering basic medical care.
Recent outreach trips have included themes such as:
Other specialty theme programs include an Emergency Medicine and Disaster Preparedness trip to the Dominican Republic in Spring 2010.
Students who participate in medical outreach trips reflect on their experiences, specific cases and the impact of their medical education through written case studies.
Each year, VCOM offers its 3rd and 4th year medical students the opportunity to complete one-month international rotations in one or more of VCOM’s three international partner sites. During their in-country experience, medical students observe and treat diseases not typical in the U.S. while also witnessing how poverty and lack of access to appropriate medical care can affect patients and communities. Students work closely with VCOM’s in-country doctors to learn about the country health system and practices.
Typically, students apply July-August for current year rotations.
Hands-on medical education begins with experiences during short-term one-week mission trips, sequentially building to higher levels during the one-month underserved care rotations in 3rd and 4th years. Students complete several U.S. rotations to ensure sufficient skills prior to departing internationally where they receive lectures by international doctors, develop PowerPoint presentations on tropical diseases, and study and treat disease.
Virtual education is integrated throughout the student experience by an extensive electronic library, online course materials, lectures, and video conferencing Global Seminar. Seamless international access through wireless internet, on-site libraries and video conferencing keep students engaged. An interactive video conference on case studies in Health and Environment connects students in medical schools in each country.
Diagnosis of diseases and treatment by in-country doctors is supplemented by using interactive electronic technology previously described and pilot novel applications of ultrasound image transfer from remote sites to specialists in the U.S.