Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Going Global

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on September 19, 2012

Education is global, like all other industries these days. Medical schools are having training programs around the world. Exchanging information, exchanging students, a long-time practice of college education is now expanding to graduate schools and post-graduate education. UCLA Medical School are now setting up guidelines for their world-wide electives. Cornell Medical School has started a “branch” in Qatar. Two UCLA Child Psychiatry fellows are off to India to explore child mental health in a rural area. Some UCLA Family Medicine Residents ventured off to Haiti after the earthquake to help with the pressing medical needs of the distraught population. This, strikes me, as a new and exciting expansion of medical education. In my day, it was the rare soul who ventured out of the country to explore how medical care is administered in different health care systems. Sure, we were allowed, maybe even encouraged to do electives at other US medical schools, but we were never supported to go beyond our borders. I suspect that this relatively new development goes along with our increase in connectivity and thereby the increase in cross-fertilization. It is wonderful to think that our next generation of physicians will have a broader world view. It is also wonderful, selfishly speaking, to think that there might be opportunities for teaching around the world. Teaching and learning always go together. Global teaching and learning seems so rich and vibrant with new ways of thinking about how to help people. For example, European physicians write prescriptions for spa treatments as a way to help those in mental distress. I think that is brilliant. Trite but true-the world has so much to offer.


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4 Responses to “Going Global”

  1. Jon said

    As Mark Twain has correctly stated, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” By extension, a more global medical education can only help both the observant student of medicine and all those who benefit from such.

  2. Shelly said

    Like you, I applaud those who wish to serve those in need in other countries. Isn’t it odd how those other countries are often slow in accepting the help from those who offer, or often put up stumbling blocks to the very aid that could help their own citizens in times of crisis (earthquakes, hurricanes, etc…)?

    • Yes, Shelly, you bring up a very interesting point. Is the change to global education a political result of changing governments? Yes, do governments refuse help for political reasons? These are fascinating questions. Of course, I have no answers, only speculations. I know some of my colleagues believe that this foreign experience is merely a “resume builder” to impress others for when they hit the job market. This may be a component, but it still strikes me as an enhancing experience and therefore, likely to be very worthwhile. Thanks.

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