Global Health Education
Global Health Concentration
In recent years, there has been growing demand for global health education at Canadian medical schools. Despite sustained student advocacy for increased global health teaching, medical schools often struggle to address this need. A survey of graduating Canadian medical students in 2011 showed that 44.8 % of students felt that instruction in global health was inadequate.1 As a result, many students participate in informal or extracurricular global health learning opportunities, including international clinical placements, global health lecture series and volunteer opportunities with marginalized communities in their local area. However, these programs often lack the structure and supports necessary to provide students with adequate training in global health.2
Recognizing that many schools do not sufficiently address global health within their core curricula, several schools have developed extracurricular programs to promote comprehensive global health education, often in the form of a concentration program in global health. A set of minimum national standards for these programs is under final draft revisions and will be posted here shortly as a guideline to ensure a sufficient level of training for students and to provide a template for schools wishing to expand their global health education offerings.
Global Health Concentrations are intended to expose students to the core issues and ethical considerations of global health work, to provide experience with the realities of delivering healthcare in low-resource settings, and to encourage them to contribute their time and effort towards global health causes.
Global Health Core Competencies in Medical School Curricula
Based on the expectation that all medical graduates should understand the major factors that influence the health of individuals and populations worldwide, a set of core competencies in global health was developed by the Global Health Education Consortium in 2008/09. The competencies encompassed reports from the AFMC along with a literature review. The conclusions were that students should have a basic understanding of the complexity of global health issues, especially in low-resource settings, and be able to identify sources of information concerning global health topics. Medical students should also appreciate the role of physicians as advocates for improving the health of patients and populations in their communities and globally.
The following 6 areas were identified in which all medical graduates should have competency:
1: GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE
2: HEALTH IMPLICATIONS of TRAVEL, MIGRATION and DISPLACEMENT
3a: SOCIAL and ECONOMIC DETERMINANTS of HEALTH
3b. POPULATION, RESOURCES, and ENVIRONMENT
4: GLOBALIZATION of HEALTH and HEALTHCARE
5: HEALTHCARE in LOW-RESOURCE SETTINGS
6: HUMAN RIGHTS in GLOBAL HEALTH
For the full document please go to: http://globalhealtheducation.org/SitePages/Home.aspx
Beginning in 2011, work is ongoing in mapping the GHEC competencies to the CanMEDS roles to make the competencies more applicable to Canadian Medical School curricula. This will enable educators to use global health competencies to fill existing gaps in the current curriculum. The Competencies-CanMEDS mapping is still under development and will be posted once they are finalized.