Global Health Leadership Track

Drs. Den Hartog and Dillingham

Global Health faculty leaders: (left) Julia Den Hartog, MD, director of the Global Health Leadership Track, and (right) Rebecca Dillingham, MD, director of UVA’s Center for Global Health.

Track & Curriculum

Residents have opportunities for international research and clinical electives in cooperation with the UVA Center for Global Health. Our current research collaborations are with sites in Brazil, Ghana, China, Philippines, Bangladesh, South Africa, Mexico, Tanzania, Haiti and Guatemala. Our most active clinical elective sites are Costa Rica, Guatemala and Uganda.

During the elective, residents learn about diseases relevant to the local population, experience a different healthcare system, and discover a new culture in a safe, appropriately supervised environment. Residents contribute to the academic learning environment at partner sites by attending and leading teaching conferences; upon their return, they are expected to give a presentation about their experience to the UVA Department of Medicine.

Our Global Health Curriculum is a competitive specialized training track. A joint effort between the departments of medicine and family medicine, it is designed to improve our residents’ preparations for global health experiences. Residents apply for positions during the intern year. Currently, two internal medicine residents are accepted annually. A Global Health elective with intensive training in tropical medicine and global health issues is offered by some of our renowned Infectious Disease faculty members. In addition to in-depth exposure to international medicine and the study of tropical disease, residents also have the opportunity to work in a Travelers ID clinic and the International Family Medicine Clinic, which serves foreign refugees brought to the U.S. by the Charlottesville chapter of the International Rescue Committee. Learn more » 

Resident Testimonials

Brandon Todd, MD

Brandon Todd, MD, PGY-3

The Global Health Leadership Track provides a wonderful opportunity to learn about global health and experience the care of international populations. Following a two week primer in tropical medicine, I spent 3.5 weeks in Ecuador. With the assistance of the GHLT, I customized my trip to include language school in Quito, clinical research in Quinindé, and a medical rotation at a hospital in Santo Domingo. Through this unique trip, I was able to gain valuable language skills, learn about the care of vulnerable populations, and practice medicine in a resource limited setting. The tools that I gained during my experience will serve valuable roles both during my time at UVA and as I pursue a career in primary care.

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Idil Aktan, MD

Idil Aktan, MD, Class of 2016

The Global Health Leadership Track is an amazing opportunity to work abroad, learn from seasoned mentors, and gain experience in research. By having a dedicated month abroad during both the second and third year of training, residents are able to develop relationships in their overseas practice site and develop projects based on an assessment of community needs. My time in Thohoyandou, South Africa, has given me a completely unique perspective and shaped my future goals as a physician.

Like many countries, South Africa has a shortage of physicians and nurses. Because of this, they rely on community healthcare workers to identify patients who need to be seen in clinic. Working with local department of health officials, we are comparing clinic appointment and medication adherence in those who see community healthcare workers versus those who do not. These data will help determine funding provided by the government. The project has allowed me to integrate my residency training with clinical research, healthcare policy, and international experience.

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Molly Fleece, MD

Molly Fleece, MD, Class of 2016

The GHLT, with its combination of mentored research, training in healthcare policy, and experience in international health, has shaped my career goals and fostered significant personal growth. It includes two-week interdisciplinary courses that cover topics in global health policy and parasitology/tropical medicine, interesting journal clubs, and two months abroad (one month each during PGY2 and PGY3) to focus on clinical work and research.

I had the privilege to work at the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (“ICDDR,B”), in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I spent my clinical time rounding with local physicians and residents in the HIV ward as well as in the medical ICU. This experience opened my eyes to the struggles of practicing medicine in resource-limited settings, as well as highlighting local health disparities. My research was conducted in a parasitology lab, where I evaluated a new point-of-care test for the detection of cryptosporidium. When not on the wards or in the lab, I was able to visit a few ICDDR,B-affiliated clinics in rural slums outside of Dhaka. While some patients were evaluated and treated in clinics, most routine medical care was provided in their homes by community healthcare workers. This was an incredible opportunity, as I was welcomed into many families’ homes, learning first-hand about their daily lives, culture and customs.

The experiences I gained from the GHLT were instrumental in my decision to pursue a fellowship in infectious diseases after I complete my residency.

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