Policy on Global Health Education

The Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Global Health establishes the following policy for Feinberg students participating in all clinical away-rotations and medical education programs at international sites, which became effective January, 2011 and was revised September, 2014.

Common Preparation Requirements for Global Health Rotations/Programs

I. Education programs for academic credit vs. vacation

In order to obtain academic credit for an international clinical rotation or research elective, each of the application and preparation steps detailed in this policy must be completed in advance of the rotation. Rotations at international settings not previously approved by the Center for Global Health and Dean’s Administration (in accordance with the steps below) are considered vacation/non-school sanctioned travel.

Rotations that may be considered for academic credit include approved clinical elective rotations, Area of Scholarly Concentration and International Health Fellowship research projects, long-term Global Health Initiative fellowships, and public health field experiences at any one of the global partner institutions.

or similar rotations at any independent international institutions.  All international rotations that provide academic credit must be formally approved in advance of the rotation by the process outlined in this policy.  Rotations or other international programs not approved via this process are considered vacation/non-school sanctioned travel.

Definitions

An affiliated institution/site is defined as any university, teaching hospital, medical school, clinic, and/or nonprofit or nongovernmental organization, either foreign or domestic, that has a formal legal agreement or signed memo of understanding with Northwestern University.  

An independent institution/site is defined as any university, teaching hospital, medical school, clinic, and/or nonprofit or nongovernmental organization, either foreign or domestic, that does not have a formal legal agreement or signed memo of understanding with Northwestern University.

II. General Considerations

The Center for Global Health (CGH) at the Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) in conjunction with Dean’s Administration retains the right to review, approve and/or deny clinical electives, research and public health projects, and/or medical education programs at both affiliated and independent institutions at international sites for all medical trainees including medical, physical therapy, physician assistant and all other FSM students as well as FSM student organizations. A committee will be formed of FSM faculty and administrators to review, approve, suspend, and/or deny school-sponsored global health education proposals.  This policy is in place to ensure standard criteria are met regarding safety, risk and liability, sustainability and organizational mission, and proper supervision by a licensed medical professional in accordance with Illinois and local requirements.

In order to receive academic credit and/or funding for a clinical rotation at an affiliated or independent site, approvals must be received in advance from both the clinical clerkship director/faculty supervisor and the Center for Global Health and all steps below must be complete.  To receive academic credit and/or funding for a research rotation at an affiliated or independent site, approvals must be received in advance from both the FSM faculty supervisor and the Center for Global Health and all steps below must be complete. 

Short-term medical missions, non-approved research or volunteer work, and other non-credit programs where students do not receive credit and which are not supported by FSM funding are considered vacation /non-school sanctioned travel.

Approved international rotations for research or clinical education must be a minimum of four consecutive weeks in duration. Special exceptions to this minimum duration will be considered for unique professional development opportunities, such as select academic conferences and research projects for FSM students, to be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Center for Global Health and Dean’s Administration.

In order to be eligible for elective credit or FSM funding for an international clinical rotation, public health and/or research project at an independent institution, FSM students must be supervised by an appropriately licensed medical professional in accordance with Illinois law and/or with the state and/or country where the off-site rotation will occur.

III. Education programs at Global Health Partners (affiliated sites) – FSM students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the university’s official global partners

 IV. Education programs at non-Global Health Partners/Independent International Sites

  1. Application Checklist
  2. Approval form for independent global health sites

Although rotations at global health partners are recommended, research and clinical rotations at independent institutions outside the US will be considered if they a) provide professional development opportunities in health related fields not otherwise readily available at FSM or with FSM affiliated partners in Chicago or abroad; and b) the independent institution has a mission that relates to the health professions and emphasizes improving public, community, and/or global health.

New proposals will be considered by a global health committee on a case-by-case basis and should contain distinction from current rotations available at FSM partner universities.  Formal approval by the Committee and Dean’s Administration must be received prior to departure. 

Rotations at non-affiliated sites that do not provide or have acceptable research and/or educational content, supervision, infrastructure, safety procedures and policies, or are of limited duration of less than four-weeks will not be approved.

V.  Education Programs in Countries with US. State Department Travel Warnings 

Elective rotations, research and public health projects, and any other international education programs will generally not be approved in countries with U.S. State Department Travel Warnings for FSM students due to safety concerns.  In the case of specific partner institutions located in countries with travel warnings with whom Northwestern University has an established relationship and a signed memorandum of understanding, an exception may be granted by appeal to the Feinberg Study Abroad Risk Assessment Committee.  This committee, jointly run by FSM and the Center for Global Health, considers proposals reviews safety and security issues, and assesses the academic merit of the program(s).  This committee will make final decisions regarding international rotations for all FSM students, residents and fellows.  Independent student proposals in any country with a U.S. State Department Travel Warnings will not be considered.

VI.  Insurance and Liability

VII.  Health, Safety and Security

For More Information:
Center for Global Health
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
645. N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1058
Chicago, IL 60611
tel: +1 312 503 8829
fax: +1 312 503 8800
d-young@northwestern.edu