FMD 890-G Cross-Cultural Medicine Elective (Global)

(G = Global, in-person experience in another country or in a medically underserved area of the United States)

This elective allows senior medical students to work under supervision in various clinical sites in other countries. The sites and experiences are varied and may include inpatient, outpatient and/or community health experiences. The purpose is for students to serve in practice settings where they must rely on fund of knowledge, history and physical exam skills with minimal technological support. For students interested in research, this elective can be adjusted to include global health research experiences. Scholarship funding is available to assist students in participating in this international elective. If interested in this funding, contact David M. Holmes, MD for information about how to apply for the scholarship

Doing an international health rotation will be an incredible experience! You’ll strengthen your history and physical exam skills and learn a lot about a different culture, country, medical system, economy and language as well as different diseases. It will provide for a unique opportunity to learn from people and make new friends in a low-income country or wherever you decide to go.

There are opportunities to learn about tropical medicine, public health, infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases and so much more. You can go almost anywhere in the world (as long as there’s no travel restrictions posted by the U.S. Department of State). You can also go to medically underserved places in America, such as rural Alaska, Native American Reservations and public health sites. Wherever you go, it will be an exciting way to learn and serve those in need.

For questions about this elective contact David M. Holmes, MD, at

Some of the specific goals of this elective are to:

  • enhance skills in diagnosis of undifferentiated presenting complaints
  • improve judgment with respect to use of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • develop an appreciation for social, cultural and economic factors in the presentation, etiology, course and management of illness
  • improve sensitivity to health consequences of public policy and economics
  • sharpen understanding of preventive intervention from a public health perspective
  • increase consciousness of cost implications of clinical decisions

Students must meet with Dr. Holmes to discuss and plan out the elective at least three months prior to travelling overseas. Ideally, students will contact Dr. Holmes and begin the planning process for their global health experience 6-12 months prior to travelling.

Prerequisite: MS3 or MS4  

Modules: A-K. Minimum rotation, 4 weeks (Students must be in WNY during Match Week in Module J)

No. of students: unlimited

Course Director: David M. Holmes, MD