Fourth Year Electives

Fourth-year medical students may sign-up for a four-week elective in global health (see below for further descriptions of the Global Surgery and International Medicine electives). These electives are intended for students interested in engaging in global health work internationally. Students should contact the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Global Health at least 3 months before the desired start date - no reservations should be made by the student until the elective is approved by both offices.

Students enrolled in the elective must attend a mandatory pre-departure meeting with OGH staff. Additionally, the online modules below must be completed prior to the start date of the elective. Finally, upon return students must attend a mandatory debriefing meeting with OGH.

All students completing the international electives are required to prepare and submit to OGH a "poster" addressing a global health issue they worked on/faced during their elective.

Options for Electives


International Medicine Elective

EDUC 9033: International Medicine Elective

Elective Directors: Dr. Ziad Sifri and Dr. Harsh Sule

Location: Various international sites

Duration: 4 - 8 weeks

When offered: Throughout the academic year by arrangement

Max students per rotation: 10

Prerequisites: Approval from one of the course directors

Course Description: This elective provides an opportunity for interested students to experience/study some aspect(s) of healthcare outside of the U.S. Students are responsible for identifying and, subject to review and approval by the Registrar, successfully applying to either an established or a novel qualified international health program. To be considered qualified, at a minimum, a program must satisfy published NJMS curricular goals, objectives and educational policies, and afford participating students meaningful exposure to medical care systems and/or public health problems and programmatic interventions in the host country. Once an approved program has been identified, the student must design and propose (in writing) an independent study project, which must be submitted to, discussed with, and approved by the Elective Director at least eight (8) weeks in advance of the start date of the elective. The approved proposal should identify a scholarly work product (e.g., paper [minimum of 1500 words], poster presentation, lecture) reflective of the goals and objectives of the independent study project, which the student will be required to complete and submit/present within four (4) weeks of completion of the elective. The course grade will be based on evaluations by the responsible on-site supervising physician preceptor and the Elective Director, including an assessment of the student’s scholarly work product. Please note: Students must follow all Registrar’s Office procedures concerning international travel, including the purchase of international health insurance, enrollment in the International SOS program, and registration for the Rutgers MyTrips program. Information regarding these requirements will be provided by the Registrar’s Office prior to the student’s trip. Furthermore, students should be advised that Rutgers University/Rutgers NJMS will not approve travel to any country listed on the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Warnings or Travel Advisories. Students are expected to monitor this information through the website:


Global Surgery Elective

SURG 9100: Global Surgery Elective

Elective Director: Dr. Ziad Sifri

Location: Sierra Leone, Ghana, Peru, other sites TBA

Duration: 4 weeks

When Offered: Please contact Dr. Sifri for permission - must be arranged during a block when a surgical mission will occur

Max number of students per rotation: 6

Prerequisites: Approval from the course director

Course Description: The Global Surgery Elective will be offered in collaboration with ISHI (International Surgical Heath Initiative) in several Low and Middle Income countries (LMIC) where surgical missions are organized. Each country offers a unique surgical and cultural experience for the student to experience in-person. In order to receive credit, satisfactory completion of the following three components is required: 1. Development of a scholarly project; 2. Participation in a surgical mission; 3. Provide feedback

At the start of the elective, the student will agree with the mentor on a scholarly project. The project could be a write up, poster presentation, or a talk. Option# 1) The write up must deal with a subject relevant to Global Surgery in the specific region chosen for the elective and it must be 4-6 pages in length, double-spaced. It can compare and contrast the US and the host country’s health care systems and delivery of surgical care. Option #2) The poster presentation should involve a project performed during the elective abroad. Option #3) The talk should include details of the surgical mission, student’s responsibilities, surgical diseases encountered, and lessons learned (and given to the NJMS ISHI student club). The scholarly project selected by the student is not graded but is required to successfully complete the course.

In the host country, students will be involved in clinical care of surgical patients from urban and rural areas under direct supervision of NJMS surgical faculty. Through these experiences, students will gain knowledge of access to surgical care, burden of surgical disease, challenges to deliver care in a resource-limited environment, and common diseases specific to the host countries. The student will learn how to communicate and provide culturally effective care to patients and learn about issues related to health equity in these settings. The student will learn about the local surgical care and how to develop innovative solutions with limited resources.

Prior to departure, each student will be required to have a travel consultation with a physician from the Student Health and Wellness Center. Additionally, travel must be considered safe by the Rutgers Office of Risk and Claims. This determination is made in conjunction with the NJMS Office of the Registrar and is based upon the U.S. Department of State travel alerts, advisories, safety and security statements. The safety decision made by these offices is considered final. Travel expenses are the responsibility of each student. Following participation in the host country, each student will also be required to complete a standard student feedback evaluation form about their learning experience at the global health site.

Reporting Instructions: Students should contact Dr. Sifri prior to the first day to receive specific reporting instructions.


Orientation Material


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