In the Global M.D. Program, American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUA) students develop their expertise in global health issues, gaining a deeper understanding of the healthcare systems and challenges they will encounter in different communities around the world.
“As physicians, it’s critical for them to understand these systems and what impacts health in different countries,” said Dr. Leslie Walwyn, Professor in the Global M.D. Program and Chair of the Department of Clinical Medicine. “Any physician in training should be exposed to it.”
The Global M.D. Program is a comprehensive, four-year longitudinal track in global health that is fully integrated into AUA’s curriculum. AUA is the only medical school in the Caribbean affiliated with a U.S. Medical School. The Global M.D. Program is conducted in collaboration with Florida International University (FIU), and as part of the program, AUA students do their rotations at FIU-affiliated clinical sites. In their FIU rotations, Global M.D. students acquire valuable clinical and research experience that helps them stand out when applying to residency programs.
Students in the program explore the intersection of factors that influence community and public health, such as human rights issues, governmental policies, political structures, and economic systems. They study the epidemiology of global communicable and non-communicable diseases, building their knowledge of how illnesses are transmitted and what circumstances have an impact on health.
Global M.D. students learn medical Spanish and practice recognizing cultural differences – as well as their own biases and stereotypes – when communicating with patients, families, and caregivers. The program emphasizes the need to balance compassion and practicality to provide patient care in global settings.
Students learn how to implement effective advocacy strategies to work within international health systems and address the needs of vulnerable and medically underserved populations. When they finish their studies, students will have a strong foundation for pursuing medical careers involving patient care, service, policy making, research, and education at a global level.
“When they go back to the various countries they may be coming from, or when they go to the States and want to do volunteer work in other countries, they’re going to be far more aware of how to make it better,” said Dr. Walwyn. “Rather than just stepping in and saying, ‘We’re here to make it better. This is what we’re going to do.’”