*Update due to COVID-19 and the pause on away rotations (June 7, 2020): 

We are excited to pilot the Global Health ISC with a telemedicine component with our partner, The Addis Clinic. Much of the ISC will remain the same, but we have replaced the clinical rotations with telemedicine consults and modified some of the course deliverables. When travel reopens and our partners are able to accommodate visiting students, we will reassess the course format, hopefully offering both an option to travel internationally and an option to utilize telemedicine. We want to pilot the telemedicine version of the course between July and December. If you are interested in participating in this pilot and/or in taking the course in the spring (either as telemedicine or travel), please indicate your interest by submitting this ISC application. The draft syllabus is linked in the application.

Additionally, we will still offer the AE Global Health. In addition to being able to form this course around a global health project, we will offer a medical Spanish track that includes weekly Spanish lessons and engagement with a partner that provides services to a Spanish-speaking population. If you are interested in this course, please indicate your interest by submitting this AE application. A bit more information about this course is at the top of the application. 

Students are unable to register for the ISC and the AE in YES. You will need to complete the application linked above and once reviewed and approved, we will register you for the course. 

Course directors, EimanElizabeth and Marie, and are happy to answer any questions and talk with you further about your options and opportunities.


ISC: Global Health

Responding to a growing need in US academia for health care professionals equipped with global expertise in local and international settings, the Vanderbilt University Institute for Global Health and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine have developed an immersion course for third- and fourth-year medical students. 

Students who participate in the ISC: Global Health will gain a deep understanding of diseases in resource-constrained settings through the lens of population science, epidemiology, public health, health systems, health policy, and other issues related to international development. While the course didactics focus on health systems and health disparities, students are able to rotate in a variety of specialty areas. Additionally, students have the opportunity to hone foreign language skills and to develop lasting partnerships in a cross-cultural setting with our international colleagues.


Global health clinical opportunities

Elizabeth speaking with peds patient in mobile clinic.jpeg


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Kenya - Jennifer Grasch - Lwala 2016.jpeg


Global Health Roation - Cayetano Heredia Peru


Global Health Rotation - Vanderbilt alternative site

Alternative Site


In this month-long clinical rotation, students rotate at Vanderbilt’s partner sites in various locations around the world including, but not limited to, Guatemala, Jordan, Kenya, and Peru. Once on-site, students can participate in a single or multiple rotations ranging from two to four weeks, which are designed based on both the student’s interests and the mentorship and resources available at the site.

During rotation, students complete weekly online modules that introduce key concepts in global health and related foundational sciences. Foundational science topics include population health science, public health, pathology and pathophysiology (for both infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases), health systems sciences, and other foundational science related to the site (such as nutrition, maternal child health, and water/sanitation). Additional health and developmental issues that span nations and cultures, and which require collaborative, partnership-based action, are highlighted.

The course is taught through interactive digital lectures; articles from peer-reviewed journals; on-site exposures to patients, health systems, and communities; and distance mentoring sessions with Vanderbilt faculty. In the months prior to departure, students complete pre-departure online modules as well as attend a pre-departure orientation session to prepare them for immersion.

Students may participate in an immersion block at one of our standard sites (described in detail in the links above) during their 3rd or 4th year of medical school. If students have a compelling reason to participate in another site, they may propose an "alternate site" (see link above).

Click below to view video reflections from students about their ISC experiences:

Students are responsible for the full cost of their ISC course, including but not limited to airfare, room & board, ground transportation, vaccinations, visas, and other expenses. However, internal and external funding opportunities are available to help offset the costs of an ISC. VIGH has limited funds to support ISC travel (via the Overall Family Fellowship for Research) and we encourage students to explore early for additional funding opportunities as needed. You can find information on VIGH's funding and other external sources on our funding page.

Be aware of varying scholarship deadlines; VIGH’s annual scholarship application priority deadline is February 1 of each year for students traveling in that calendar year (Example: February 1, 2018 application priority deadline for travel in the 2018 calendar year).

Students are expected to be on-site for the entire duration of the scheduled block, unless there is a VUSM conflict. If there is a known conflict, the issue must be raised early in the planning process with the ISC Course Directors. Please refer to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Academic Calendar and the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Student Handbook for specific dates and expectations. In some cases, there is flexibility around ISC dates. Note that students will not be excused from required VUSM activities for ISC related activities (this includes intersession, required class sessions and/or clinical rotations at Vanderbilt). It is the student's responsibility to be in compliance with school requirements. Additionally, no holidays or vacation may be taken during an ISC course.  

We recommend, but do not require, arriving to the city a couple days before the ISC begins (i.e. on the weekend) in order to settle in and acclimate to the new surroundings before beginning rotations. 

The 2020-21 Global Health ISC application is now available. Before clicking on “apply now,” please take time to carefully consider which location(s) will best meet your career interests and goals. CLICK HERE TO APPLY!

Elizabeth Rose - Education Coordinator, ISC: Global Health

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  • Phone: 615-875-9442