The Global Health Spring Break Programs introduce current George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) students to the importance of global health training for healthcare professionals. During the 2020 MSI spring break, weeklong programs in Oaxaca, Mexico, and rural Uganda will provide students with an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of global health, especially as it relates to social determinants of health, cooperative action and sustainable practices of health care delivery in low-resource settings, and an awareness of cultural and ethical issues in working with underserved populations.
GW students interested in learning about health and health care in rural Uganda will travel to SMHS’ partner NGO, Omni Med Uganda. Omni Med Uganda was founded by GW alumnus, Ed O’Neil, MD ’87, with the mission of empowering the local community through training elected community members as local Village Health Teams (VHT). Working closely with Omni Med staff, GW students will be paired with community health workers on the VHTs to carry out projects and activities for the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Activities will include home visits of patients in rural areas, travel to remote villages to assist with VHT training sessions, assistance with malaria prevention programs, and observation and assistance with patient intake at the nearby Koja Health Clinic.
The program in Oaxaca, Mexico was developed in conjunction with SMHS partner Child Family Health International (CFHI), one of the largest NGOs offering socially responsible and financially just international health programs for medical and health science students. CFHI programs are designed to provide participants with concrete skills for global health within multicultural and international populations and to broaden and deepen their understanding of the context of this work and the populations being served. As part of the health care team, students will shadow in community clinics, attend seminars and medical Spanish workshops by local physicians, perform service-learning activities at local community organizations, and participate in various cultural activities.
Both programs are one week long and will begin on March 28, 2020.