Global Health Opportunities at UCSD Pediatrics


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


International Educational Conferences

The UCSD Pediatric Residency Program, in collaboration with the Pediatric Residency Program at the Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, hosts a monthly International Educational Conference (aka International Morning Report).  This educational series is held the second Wednesday of each month from 7:30-8:30 (Pacific Time) at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego using video teleconference technology.  Case presentations alternate between residents in Guadalajara presenting in Spanish and UCSD residents presenting in English.  Fluency in Spanish is not required as 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 of the societal factors that contribute to child health, as well as to increase understanding of the many local micro-cultures present in San Diego and its surrounding areas. These events are open to all pediatric residents, and recent topics have included Traditional Mexican Healing, Military Families, and LGBT communities.

Ultrasound in Resource-Limited Settings

Clinician-performed bedside ultrasonography is emerging as a useful diagnostic tool for healthcare providers in resource-limited settings. Many studies are demonstrating how ultrasound use for patients in LMICs can significantly impact the diagnosis and management.  To ensure sustainability of ultrasound programs in resource-limited environments, the UCSD Pediatric Global Health Program will include annual evening sessions on the use of ultrasounds, including both lecture and practical experience.

Helping Babies Breathe

Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) is an evidence-based educational program to teach neonatal resuscitation techniques in resource-limited areas. HBB® aims to help meet Millennium Development Goal 4 targets for reduction of child mortality by addressing one of the most important causes of neonatal death: intrapartum-related events (birth asphyxia).  The HBB® Master Trainer and Facilitator Workshop is designed for those with experience caring for newborns and who will train health care providers as well as birth attendants in low resource settings.  This workshop will be held annually for the UCSD Pediatric Residents interested in Global Health. 



During residency, you are allotted four weeks of scheduled research time. Residents may choose to focus on clinical research, curricular development, or advocacy and policymaking. Research mentors are provided to guide residents in their chosen direction.

"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.  The two-week TGAL elective gives residents perspective on the patients cared for at Rady Children's Hospital and exposure to the challenges faced by practicing medicine in resource-limited settings.  As a part of the elective, residents are provided global health articles and modules to help further the development of their skill set.  

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

Residents have the opportunity to volunteer at the UCSD IHC free clinic in the Villa Fontana area of eastern Tijuana, Mexico.  The clinic is held the first Saturday of each month from 8:00-4:00.  The clinic sees ~100 patients/day, (~75% pediatric patients).  Patients are staffed with a UCSD Pediatric faculty member who serves as the UCSD IHC clinical director.  The goal of the UCSD IHC is to collaborate with the communities of Tijuana and San Diego, to provide accessible, quality health for the underserved. Here residents, students, health professionals, patients and community members learn from one another to increase collaborative solutions to pressing health and community problems. UCSD IHC is a student-run organization that provides free consultations, medical care, medicine, and health education to families who do not have access to medical treatment.  For more information about the organization visit 

Field experience

Residents have the opportunity to travel abroad for two, four-week electives, traditionally in the second and third years. A resident may select from the following previously established rotations:

  • Guadalajara, Mexico
    • The Pediatric Residency Programs at UCSD and Hospital Civil de Guadalajara (HCG) have set up a bidirectional exchange program.  Residents have the opportunity to travel to Hospital Civil de Guadalajara (HCG) for a 4-week rotation in Pediatrics. Hospital Civil de General is a teaching hospital of the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), with a top pediatric residency program.

"My rotation month in Guadalajara was an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in medical Spanish and experience in how Pediatrics is practiced in another country. It also allowed me to better understand my local patients in San Diego who may access health services in Mexico.  I enjoyed working with their residents and was able to appreciate our many similarities and differences. I still text the residents, see them monthly via video at International Morning Report, and am looking forward to hosting them when they come to rotate at Rady Children's Hospital! "  -Hayley Avol, UCSD Resident

  • Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands 
    • Residents traveling to Saipan will work at the Commonwealth Health Center (CHC), the only hospital on all of the CNMI (Saipan, Tinian and Rota).
“Saipan is an interesting mix of local Micronesian islanders, Asian immigrants, and mainland U.S 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, UCSD Resident 

  • Kampala, Uganda (Spring)
    • Residents have the opportunity to travel to Mulago Hospital, the primary national referral center for Uganda, with Dr. Yvonne Vaucher, who is a leader in the field of neonatal resuscitation and care of critically ill newborns in developing countries. Since 1998, Dr. Vaucher has worked regularly with Ugandan colleagues at Mulago Hospital to improve outcomes in this high-risk population. Residents who accompany her not only benefit from learning how to apply their NICU knowledge and skills to a resource-poor setting, but they also have the opportunity to participate in the education and training of local health professionals to advance the delivery of care.
  • Shanghai, China (Fall)
    • Residents have the opportunity to travel to the Children's Hospital of Fudan University with Dr. Carlos Ramos, UCSD Neonatologist. Dr. Ramos goes to Shanghai, China every year to teach NICU fellows as part of the International Training Program in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He typically goes in September and focuses on cardiology.


The program receives some funding from UCSD, but the majority of faculty who participate do so on a volunteer basis because they are committed to furthering resident education in global health. Residents are also 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 Awards – Deadline September 15 & March 15 each year
Each academic year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will designate several $1,000 awards split in two cycles (number awarded per cycle will be at the discretion of the review committee) to categorical or combined-training pediatric residents who wish to complete a clinical pediatric elective in the developing world during residency. Applicants must be a member of the AAP Section on International Child Health (SOICH) in order to apply. Awards are given solely on the basis of the application and an online recommendation form.  Please visit the International Elective Award webpage for the application and more information. 


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 education by way of a fellowship in global health.