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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Institute for Global Health
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Funding for Long-Term Global Health Projects

Feinberg's Global Health Initiative (GHI) supports global health education for Feinberg medical students who display an interest in global health and working with underserved populations in resource-limited settings. GHI accomplishes this by supporting the travel expenses of Northwestern medical students and McGaw residents so they may pursue away-rotations and other global public health projects in underserved areas abroad. The Global Health Initiative is generously supported by Northwestern Medicine Primary & Specialty Care, its patients and Feinberg's donors.

Funding for long-term global health projects is available from the Global Health Initiative to support student engagement in global health and to encourage student interest in and understanding of cross-cultural competencies, social determinants of health and clinical practice in resource-limited settings, among other topics. Projects may focus on topics such as primary care, community health, maternal-child health, global public health. They must have a duration ranging from six to 12 months. Medical students who apply should be prepared to identify a project at a reputable international institution that can provide proper mentorship and meets the minimum standards outlined in the policy on global health education. Particular attention should be paid to identifying strong mentorship at both Feinberg and the host institution, safety and security of the host-country/region and the sustainability of the project.

Funding amounts may vary for approved projects depending on the length and scope of the rotation and the submitted budget. Awards are limited to two per year and generally fall in the range of $10,000 to $15,000. The annual deadline for long-term funding applications is March 1.

Upon returning to Chicago, students are eligible to apply for up to $500 in funding to attend an academic conference where they will present their work relating to the global health project.

 Learning Objectives

The proposed global health project should establish clear and specific learning objectives for the medical student, such as the objectives listed below. These objectives are suggestions and not exhaustive. Students are encouraged to work with their mentor to clarify objectives for their own project.

  • Demonstrate knowledge about behavioral, socioeconomic and cultural dynamics that can affect individual, community health and public health.
  • Promote the health and welfare of a community group by eliciting needs and assets and collaborating with community partners to deliver sustainable, quality service.
  • Assess challenges to providing high-quality healthcare for members of vulnerable groups and articulate the role of physicians in working to eliminate barriers.
  • Develop an understanding for the relationship between health and social determinants of health and how social determinants vary across world regions.
  • Be able to identify barriers to health and healthcare in resource-limited settings.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of healthcare strategies in resource-limited settings, especially the role of community-based healthcare and primary care models.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural and ethical issues in working with underserved populations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to adapt clinical skills and practice in a resource-limited setting.
  • Develop a language competency.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the manner in which people of diverse cultures and belief systems perceive health and illness and respond to various symptoms, diseases and treatments.

 Selection Criteria

Students must have completed their third year of medical school and all required clerkships prior to receiving funding and initiating their project. The application process is competitive, and awards are not guaranteed. Applicants must receive approval from each of the following departments/reviewers in this order:

Institute for Global Health

Feinberg has established common application and preparation processes for students who wish to participate in global health rotations/projects. The policy sets minimum standards for proper supervision, personal health and safety and international security issues. A committee within the Institute for Global Health will review proposals for long-term global health projects at international host-institutions.

The mission of the Global Health Initiative is to provide resources for Northwestern University medical students for global health educational experiences, enabling them to have impactful training experiences in underserved areas of the world while encouraging the education and proliferation of primary care physicians. Funded applicants will be expected to submit projects within the scope of the mission of the GHI by completing sustainable primary care and community-based projects and rotations in underserved areas in partnership with local organizations and universities. Proposals are due to IGH no later than March 1.

Augusta Weber Office of Medical Education

The associate dean for Student Programs and Career Development must approve the project , students must register for an independent study course at Feinberg for the duration of their project in order to maintain their matriculation status, receive payment of the scholarship and have the option of keeping Feinberg-sponsored health and malpractice insurance.

 Preparation Steps

To receive funding for a long-term global health project, students must complete the following steps:

Students may also be required to obtain malpractice insurance if deemed necessary by either the host institution or the Institute for Global Health review committee.

 Assessment & Deliverables

The following steps and deliverables will be expected from each award recipient:

  • Identify a faculty mentor at Feinberg with whom you will clarify goals and objectives for the project. Medical students should plan to check-in with an email or skype call a minimum of once per month with their mentor, and the Institute for Global Health with progress updates on the project and their learning objectives. A report should be submitted quarterly with progress updates to their mentor. Failure to submit monthly and quarterly progress reports could result in suspension of further funding.
  • Upon return to Feinberg, a 30-minute presentation of the project is required. Students will complete an online evaluation and submit a reflection paper to GHI. GHI may also make reasonable requests of the award recipient to speak at annual fundraising events.
  • Upon return to Feinberg, recipients of the award will be expected to deliver a scholarly project. The deliverable may be a scholarly paper (minimum of 10 pages) on a relevant topic, a presentation at an academic conference or an article submission to a peer-reviewed journal. For students who wish to submit a journal article, extensions on the eight-week due date will be considered. Students should contact the Institute for Global Health to request an extension. The general scope of the project deliverable should be outlined and approved by the mentor prior to beginning the project.
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