International Health Pathway


Length of training: 3 years

Setting: University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran Affairs Medical Center, various international health centers

Description and defining characteristics: Many medical concerns transcend the limits of our own society, so it is important to respond to the global challenge to extend the benefits of modern medicine. The Case Western School of Medicine and University Hospitals have a long and outstanding tradition in international health research, education and clinical practice. Interest in overseas medical experiences has been increasing.  Many of our residents have taken advantage of our collaborations to spend time in healthcare facilities in a variety of locations across the globe. Some work these experiences into the categorical track while others join our International Health Pathway.

The International Health Pathway has 1-2 slots each year. Admittance into this track allows the candidate to be eligible for a certificate in International Health from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

Clinical training in the pathway is very similar to the categorical pathway; there are the same number of ward, ICU, and ambulatory months. Although total elective time is the same, it is anticipated that residents in the International Health Pathway will use some of their elective time abroad. Scheduling is flexible and it is possible to use most of elective time consecutively to maximize international experiences.

The Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine has several projects, primarily based in Uganda. Research efforts include HIV and tuberculosis, and range from bench science to translational projects to clinical trials and epidemiological studies. Projects are done under the auspices of The Case Center for AIDS Research and the Tuberculosis Research Unit. Collaborations in India are under development.

Another important resource in the School of Medicine is the Center for Global Health and Diseases (CGHD). Areas of research in the CGHD include malaria, filariasis, schistosomiasis, and other tropical diseases.  Collaborations exist in Kenya, Papua New Guinea, CoteD'Ivoire and Brazil. The Center is also the current home for the editorial offices of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (AJTMH).

Our residents document their experience of going abroud through the Resident Travel Blog.

Schedule: The breakdown of the schedule for residents on the International Health pathway is the same as that of our categorical residents (full schedule available in Question 11 of FAQs). However, there is more flexibility in that elective time can be grouped together to allow a more meaningful experience abroad.


International Health Experience by Bryan Hambley, MD


My second year of residency I was able to rotate at the national teaching hospital in Laos with a colleague, Katie Linder, MD. Dr. Keith Armitage and Case Western Reserve University have worked with the nonprofit Health Frontiers (started by a pediatrics professor) in the past, and introduced me to their current leaders. Health Frontiers helps support the internal medicine and pediatrics residency program at the only programs of their kind in Laos.

I spent a month working in the national hospital, both in the general wards as well as on the pulmonary wards. We saw some patients with diseases I have never seen in Cleveland (melioidosis) and advanced progression of common worldwide diseases (lung adenocarcinoma). We had the opportunity to work with outstanding young residents, who worked incredibly hard to care for their patients with limited resources. I learned much about the provision of acute medical care in resource poor nations. We took part in resident education activities, and really felt involved in the program for the time we were there. The program directors Gordon and Angie were very helpful and all around great people know. It was an outstanding experience away from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Dr. Armitage and the chief residents were incredibly helpful in setting up our schedules so that we could use elective time to take part.

I highly recommend this opportunity to future residents, and would be happy to talk more about it with those who are interested.

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Gleason_Brigette_fcOur recent International Health graduate, Brigette Gleason, who now works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks about her experience with aiding Ebola fight in Virginia.