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Global Health Academic Concentration

Man looking out over green hills


The mission of the Global Health Academic Concentration (GHAC) is to provide medical students with the knowledge, experiences and resources needed to prepare them for careers in global health by learning about complexities and challenges of global healthcare delivery, ethics of doing global health research, and socio-structural bases of health inequities. 

As in the realm of global health, everything is dynamic — keep that in mind if you decide to apply for the concentration.

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For more information about the program — and to see where our students have been rotating — visit our blog.

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  • Prepare physicians in training to engage with the global community to address health disparities.
  • Provide experiences and training in academic global health research.
  • Provide field experiences in global healthcare delivery.
  • Gain knowledge about the structural and social factors that create and propagate health disparities.


Who Should Apply to the GHAC Concentration?

  • Students with a passion for global healthcare delivery and/or global research.
  • Students interested in pursuing an academic medical career in global health.
  • Students ready to commit to the curriculum and fulfill (or exceed) expectations.
  • Applicants can have any type of medical career interests, and do not need to have prior international experience.

GHAC Admissions Process

Applications to the GHAC concentration will be available through the UC San Diego School of Medicine secondary application. Interested applicants will check a box in the secondary application to indicate their interest in the concentration and compose a one-page essay (detailed instructions will be provided on the secondary application). Selected applicants will be invited for interviews with GHAC Faculty via video chat starting in February, and admissions decisions will be occur on a rolling basis. Admission offers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine are made independently of the GHAC program. A total of five students from the applicant pool will be selected for admission to the concentration each year.

There will be 4 events during interview season where applicants can meet current faculty and students. Further information on these events will be provided to select applicants who are invited to interview with the medical school.


  • MS1: Introduction to Global Health Research course (SOM1-248)
    • One quarter-long course that meets weekly
    • This counts as one of your MS electives
  • Summer between MS1 and MS2: 6 to 8 weeks in the field conducting Global Health research at one of our approved sites.
    • The purpose of this experience is to conduct high quality Global Health research, and participate in producing a peer-reviewed publication (with your mentor)
    • Site placement will be based on student interests
  • MS2–MS3: UC San Diego elective(s) of your choice from School of Medicine electives or UC San Diego main campus electives
    • Electives are subject to approval by the GHAC director, which will largely depend on how they fit into the MS schedule
  • MS4: RMED 496C: Customized Clinical Elective in Global Health
    • 4–6 week long clinical rotation at one of our approved sites
    • Site placement will be based on student interests

Possible Elective Courses

  • ANES 226 Clinical Perspectives in Global Health
  • FPM 244 VIIDAI Clinical and Public Health Elective Baja CA
  • FPM 272 Free Clinic I (Lottery course)
  • FPM 286 Free Clinic II
  • FMPH 491 public health and humanitarian response
  • MED 236 Refugee Health (coming soon)
  • MED 239 Health Frontiers in Tijuana
  • MED 250 Medical Spanish
  • PUBHLTH 174 Global health ethics (UCI remote course)
  • SOMI 233 Influences on Health: From Genes to Communities

Site Locations

These site locations are subject to change:

  • Chile: childhood health, preventative medicine
  • Ecuador: environmental/ community health
  • Brazil: HIV/STIs, tropical infectious diseases
  • Jordan: refugee health
  • Lima, Peru: malaria, TB, Chagas disease
  • Maputo, Mozambique: HIV, Hepatitis C, TB
  • New Delhi, India: reproductive health
  • Tijuana, Mexico: underserved population health
  • Ukraine: maternal/fetal health, alcohol abuse

Contact Us


Sarah Averbach, MD, MAS
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences


Wossene Bayisa-Lewallen
Undergraduate Medical Education