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Overseas Opportunities

As you think about participating in opportunities abroad please review the following articles and guidelines to prepare you for your experience.

Beyond Medical "Missions" to Impact-Driven Short-Term Experiences in Global Health (STEGHs): Ethical Principles to Optimize Community Benefit and Learner Experience.

The Working Group on Global Activities by Students at Prehealth Levels The goal of GASP, our charge and mission together, is to raise awareness of and work to address the ‘pull’ factors of unethical/untrained activities by pre-health students while abroad. In particular, we wish to address the ‘pull factors’ of students being under the impression that premature hands-on patient care bolsters medical and health professions school applications.

Student Guidebook 
Preparing for International Health Experiences: A Practical Guide
Students get the latest guidance on how to prepare for, do, and integrate an international experience in Medicine, Global Health, and/or Public Health.  Child Family Health International and other leaders in Global Health Experiences have come together to bring you this must-read guide!

Amateurs Play Doctor for World’s Poor

Medical students—and even undergrads—who volunteer abroad are often tasked with procedures they aren’t qualified to perform.

How does Global Service-Learning become a dis-service in healthcare settings? Commentary from Child Family Health International

What to Look for in Global Service Learning

ADEA Guidelines for Predental Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad

AAMC Group on Students Affairs (GSA) has developed guidelines for Pre-Medical and Medical Students planning to provide patient care abroad.

"Appropriate Student Participation in Providing Patient Care during Clinical Experiences Abroad"

Chronicle of Higher Education: Some Health Programs Overseas Let Students Do Too Much, Too Soon

The Michigan daily "Advisers urge students to avoid performing procedures abroad"

Forum on Education Abroad for Undergraduate Global Health Programs: The Forum's commitment to developing and promoting standards of good practice for the field of education abroad lies at the core of the Forum's mission. The ultimate goal of the Standards is to improve practices in education abroad, so that our students' international educational experiences are as rich and meaningful as possible.

Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety – this is an online education tool that students can use to prepare to know their limits abroad, among other reflection opportunities to prepare them for their global experience. This online tool was created by the Health Careers Center at the University of Minnesota, in partnership with their Learning Abroad Center (among others). GAPS is now available free to anyone – student, staff, faculty, program staff – around the world. There is a short registration process at the front end.

In an effort to provide current and specific information about programs that may be of interest, the Office for Fellowships has teamed up with the Career Development Office to consolidate our listings. To search for opportunities abroad please log into Handshake. The presence of an opportunity in the database does not indicate an endorsement from Vassar College; it is simply a starting point for you to research opportunities. Be sure to review the articles above before applying to or participating in a program abroad. You must do your due diligence to ensure that the program is viable and reputable.

Additional Resources/Databases:

The American Medical Student Association has a list of opportunities and resources. Search their International Health Opportunities Directory for premed and volunteer opportunities.

Family Medicine Interest Group (FMIG) International Volunteer Opportunities 

Global Health Medical Education Consortium Annotated list of websites relevant to students and graduates of the health professions interested in global health (GH) 

The International Healthcare Opportunities Clearinghouse (IHOC)A searchable database of both volunteer and paid positions throughout the world.  Designed for health-care professionals and students who are interested in volunteer work with underserved communities at home or abroad.

International Health Resources Annotated listing of international heath sites from UC Berkeley Public Health Library 

International Medical Volunteer Association (IMVA) General information on how to become an international volunteer as well as links to hundreds of volunteer opportunities 

World Health Organization (WHO)The directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. WHO is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

Medical volunteerism The risks and benefits of non-professional health workers.