Background: As healthcare delivery requires providers to cross international barriers and collaborate with other countries, there is a recent trend towards international training approaches of future health practitioners. We organized an international training program at McGill University from June 29- July 17th 2015. The aim of the project was to explore the value of an international exchange program for medical students in surgery, pathology, anatomy, and medical education. Structure: The three-week long international training program involved students from Rwanda(N=3), Haiti (N=2), and Canada( N=2). The students spanned from first year to sixth year of their medical training. The program consisted of five key components; Anatomy Dissection, Research Methods with students participating in small group-learning sessions that introduced the research method, Clinical Simulation activities to practice suturing, orthopaedic casting, and foley catheter insertion. Clinical Shadowing of pathologists and trauma surgeons, and Structured Teaching Sessions to ensure the effective transfer of knowledge back to their communities. To evaluate the international exchange program a survey was administered to students using a mixed methods approach (qualitative and quantitative). Outcome/Evaluation: Common motivations for pursing the international exchange included personal and professional growth, travel, and establishing relationships. The outcomes of the exchange included improved career development, a sense of responsibility towards one's own community, development of teaching skills, and an increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. All students participating in the exchange agreed that the anatomy dissection component improved their knowledge of anatomy and made them more comfortable teaching the material. Furthermore, all the students agreed that the clinical simulation activities and clinical shadowing experiences allowed for them to integrate the different disciplines. All students felt the research component had too little time devoted to it within the program, and that the knowledge presented was beyond their educational level. Going Forward: The development of an integrated program in surgery, anatomy, pathology and medical education provided medical students with an opportunity to to learn about differences in healthcare, medical education, and learning styles for acquiring knowledge. This exchange demonstrated that a cross cultural and neer peer teaching environment can be an effective method of medical student-centered development in global health.
Elharram, M., Lalande, A., Ge, S., Dinh, T., Gao, S., & Noel, G. (2016). Collaborative development of an international training program in surgery, pathology, anatomy and medical education: exploration of the value in exchange experiences between Haitian, Rwandan and canadian medical students. Annals of Global Health, 82(3), 351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2016.04.059