Global Health Leadership Track

Global Health Leadership Track

denhartog-dillingham.jpgResidents 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.

The University of Virginia also has a special residency program in collaboration with the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Saudi Arabia. Learn more »

During the elective, residents learn about diseases relevant to the local population, experience a different health-care system, and discover a new culture in a safe, appropriately supervised environment. Residents attend and give teaching conferences that enhance the academic environment at our partner sites and will present about their experience to the UVA Department of Medicine upon their return.

Global Health Faculty Leaders: Drs. Julia Den Hartog, Director of the Global Health Leadership Track (left), and Rebecca Dillingham, Director of the UVA Center for Global Health (right)

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 International Rescue Committee. Learn more »

Idil AktanIdil Aktan, M.D.
Resident PGY-3

"The Global Health Leadership Track is an amazing opportunity to work abroad, learn from seasoned mentors, and gain experience in research. By allocating one month during second year and third year abroad, residents can establish relationships and develop projects based on the community’s need. My time in Thohoyandou, South Africa has given me a completely unique perspective and has 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 and those who do not. This data will help influence funding provided by the government. This project has allowed me to integrate my residency training with clinical research, healthcare policy, and international experience. "


Molly FleeceMolly Fleece, M.D.
Resident PGY-3

"While interviewing for Internal Medicine residency programs, I was drawn to programs that had global health opportunities.  The Global Health Leadership Track at UVA is truly a unique opportunity that has shaped my career goals as well as allowed for significant personal growth.  The GHLT combines the distinctive opportunities of interdisciplinary classroom discussions during the annual two week courses covering either global health policy or parasitology/tropical medicine, interesting journal clubs, as well as two months (one month during the PGY2 year & one month during the PGY3 year) to travel abroad and focus on clinical work as well as research.  This program integrates mentorship, research, healthcare policy as well as international health in a way that is truly unmatched.

I had the privilege to work at the ICDDR,B (International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh) in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  I spent my clinical time rounding with local physicians & 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 highlighted local health disparities.  My research was located in the 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 of Dhaka.  While some patients were evaluated & treated in the clinic, 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, & customs.

Overall, the experiences I have gained from the GHLT have been invaluable to my decision to pursue an Infectious Disease fellowship after completion of residency."


Connie Young, M.D.
Class of 2014

"My recent trip to South Africa was an amazing experience — one that has shaped my career as a physician. I had the opportunity to participate in discussions with the local community and public health workers in Thohoyandou, South Africa, to improve patient care and health education. We worked together to develop a training program for community home-based caregivers in an effort to develop well-rounded community health workers.

This rotation provided a vastly different exposure to health care that otherwise I would not have experienced during my residency. It was a great opportunity to travel abroad during residency, and the experience was enhanced by all the great people I had the opportunity to work with and learn from both in South Africa and at UVA."

Connie Young in South Africa

Brad WeinbaumBrad Weinbaum, M.D.
Chief Resident, 2014-2015

"My experiences through the global health track have helped to shape me as a physician and opened my eyes to many challenges that exist in resource limited environments. I worked at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital in Mbarara, Uganda.

My mornings were spent rounding on the medical ward with occasional days spent in various outpatient clinics. In the afternoon I would hold didactics for the medical students and work on my research concerned with the ability to diagnose TB meningitis in resource poor settings.  Evenings were spent sampling the local cuisine at various restaurants throughout the city. With the help of local medical residents, friends made outside the hospital as well as other foreign health care providers from across the world, I left the country as a better more capable physician and hope to share my newly acquired skills with colleagues at UVA."