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Global Health Opportunities at UCSD Pediatrics

Goals of the Global Health Program

For the individual resident:

  • Address health needs specific to children in developing countries
  • Develop clinical skills and critical thinking to optimize patient care in resource-poor settings
  • Understand cultural differences in the practice of health care and provide culturally-competent care to all populations
  • Witness and comprehend the social and economic determinants of health in a global context, and advocate for health equality

For the program:

  • Promote bi-directional research and clinical collaboration with international colleagues, guided by appropriate ethical principles
  • Cultivate lifelong interest in global health and offer mentorship in career development for those residents interested in establishing careers in international medicine
  • Appreciate the unique geographic location of UCSD/Rady Children's Hospital. Its proximity to the U.S.-Mexican border provides San Diego with a global population in a local vicinity

Global Health Sessions

International Educational Conferences

In collaboration with the Pediatric Residency Program at the Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, our programs coordinate a monthly International Educational (tele)Conference. Case presentations alternate between residents in Guadalajara presenting in Spanish and UCSD/Rady residents presenting in English. Medical translation services are present. Selected faculty with global health interests, bilingual skills, and relevant subspecialists are present to help facilitate the discussion. 

Cultural Immersion Days

Developed by the PACCT program (Pediatricians and Community Collaborating Together), this series was developed to raise awareness about the societal factors that contribute to child health and to increase understanding of the many cultures present in San Diego and the surrounding area. The events are open to all pediatric residents. Topics have included traditional Mexican healing, military families, LGBTQ communities, and so many more! 

Ultrasound in Resource-Limited Settings

Clinician-performed bedside ultrasonography is emerging as a useful diagnostic tool for healthcare providers. We want our residents to have the skill set to perform and interpret bedside ultrasound of common diseases, especially for those who are practicing in resource-limited settings where point of care ultrasound can significantly impact diagnosis and management. 

All residents receive ultrasound training under the expert supervision of our pediatric  Emergency Department during their rotation and as a part of the resident school curriculum. There is additional case-based learning during ICU rotations, such as PICU and NICU, and radiology rounds.

We also now have a dedicated ultrasound for resident use only for spontaneous learning and are working to grow our ultrasound curriculum every day!

International Experiences

Global Research

Residents may choose to focus on clinical research, curriculum development, advocacy or policy-making. We can help suggest potential research mentors based on prior resident experiences to guide global research opportunities. 

Think Globally, Act Locally (TGAL)

This unique, local, binational global health elective exposes residents to the diverse cross-border, immigrant, and refugee populations in the greater San Diego county and Tijuana areas. This two-week TGAL elective provides residents perspective that will help them better care for patients at Rady Children’s Hospital and in their future careers. Residents will learn about some of the challenges of practicing medicine in resource-limited settings as well as border and global health. As a part of the elective, residents are provided global health literature and modules to deepen their education. 

UCSD International Health Collective (IHC): Pediatric Clinic in Tijuana, Mexico

UCSD IHC is a student-run organization that provides free consultations, medical care, medications, and health education to families who do not otherwise have access to medical treatment. The goal of the UCSD IHC is to collaborate with the communities of Tijuana and San Diego to provide accessible, high quality healthcare for the underserved. 

At this clinic, residents, students, healthcare professionals, patients, and community members learn from one another to increase collaborative solutions to pressing health and community problems. Residents can volunteer their time and skills to care for an underserved patient population. The clinic sees approximately 100 patients per day, with about 75% of those patients being pediatric patients. Patients are staffed with a UCSD Pediatric faculty member who serves as the UCSD IHC clinical director. 

  • Where: The Villa Fontana area of eastern Tijuana, Mexico
  • When: The first Saturday of each month from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. 
  • For more information: https://www.internationalhealthcollective.org/

International Electives

Interested residents have the chance to travel abroad for two four-week electives, traditionally in the second and third years. UCSD/Rady Children’s Pediatric residency has an established relationship with Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, but should a resident be interested in doing an international elective elsewhere, the program can work to arrange it! Recent residents have completed international electives in the following locations: 

Guadalajara, Mexico

The Pediatric Residency Programs at UCSD/Rady Children’s and Hospital Civil de Guadalajara have set up a bidirectional exchange program. Residents may travel to Hospital Civil de Guadalajara for a four-week rotation in Pediatrics. Hospital Civil de Guadalajara is a teaching hospital with a top pediatric residency program and is affiliated with Universidad de Guadalajara.

“My month in Guadalajara was an extraordinary opportunity for me to apply what I had learned in residency in San Diego to a totally new hospital system and medical culture. I worked with colleagues in infectious disease, gastroenterology, and neonatology. Their unique perspective made me a better and more conscientious physician. Having the opportunity to practice medicine there brought into focus the strengths and weaknesses of both the American and Mexican medical systems.” – Patrick Passarelli, former UCSD Med-Peds resident and UCSD Peds chief 


Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Residents traveling to Saipan will work at the Commonwealth Health Center, the only hospital on all of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

“Saipan is an interesting mix of local Micronesian islanders, Asian immigrants, and mainland US expats way out in the middle of the Pacific. The patients were grateful and gracious, and the relationships we made with the other doctors were one of a kind. It’s a great place to learn and practice rural medicine with a global twist. This is why you got into medicine!” – Evan Taylor, former UCSD/Rady Children’s resident


Funding

Resident are encouraged to apply for the semiannual American Academy of Pediatrics International Elective Award as well as other available travel scholarships. Resident salaries are not interrupted during their elective time abroad.

International Elective Award

The AAP designates several $1,000 awards to residents who wish to complete a clinical pediatric elective in the developing world during residency. The awards are given twice per year, with due dates for applying being September 15th and April 15th. For more information and to apply, visit https://fs25.formsite.com/aapmembership/form244/index.html

Future Directions

Following graduation, many residents who have done electives abroad continue to focus on global health in their careers. Several have chosen to work with immigrant populations in the primary care setting, while others have chosen to pursue additional training by way of a fellowship in global health.