New world views: preparing physicians in training for global health work.
Increases in international travel, trade, and immigration have resulted in the movement of more than 2 million people daily across international borders and have enhanced global interdependence for health. Simultaneously, the mosaic of US society has expanded to accommodate increasingly diverse cultures, languages, and health values; these have contributed to the growing interest of US medical students in international health. Never has it been more important for future health care professionals to understand and experience health in a global context. Nonetheless, US medical schools have been slow to address students’ increased interest in international health training. While 96% of US medical schools taught about tropical medicine and international health in 1945, only 22% included any formal curriculum in international health in 1990. Although the number of US medical students participating in overseas electives increased from 6.4% in 1984 to 18.2% in 1999, most US medical students arrange their international electives independently, and fewer than 30% participate in programs to prepare them for their international experience. Recognizing the growing disparity between student interest in international health and limited training opportunities, three medical schools and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Foundation joined together in 1995 to develop an International Health Fellowship Program (IHFP) for US medical International Family Medicine