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VCOM Students

International Outreach

International Outreach provides a comprehensive program to serve the healthcare needs of communities in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Students develop cultural sensitivity and skills to address significant health challenges that span borders and continents working with VCOM faculty in these regions. There are two year-round international clinics where students complete one-month international student rotations. In addition, medical students have the opportunity to provide public health, community health, and primary care services to communities surrounding these clinics. The international outreach programs with follow-up care in the year-round international clinics provide a comprehensive program to improve global health. As a leader in global health outreach, VCOM has reached thousands of patients in need annually, provided immunizations for children where access was nonexistent or inadequate, and developed prenatal care where it was not previously available.

Additionally, students have an opportunity to participate in an elective that includes an interactive video conference seminar with medical students in other countries. Learning to address health care needs in the face of poverty, adverse environmental conditions and political complexity prepares future physicians to address the community health needs of rural and underserved areas where they will eventually practice. Because of our comprehensive program, VCOM is quickly becoming a leader in Global Health.


Clinical Goals for International Outreach

  • Provide sustainable healthcare improvements in internationally developing communities and Appalachia through the provision of high-quality medical relief efforts
  • Provide quality medical care to victims of disaster


Educational Goals for International Outreach

  • Instill in future physicians the core values of compassion and altruism
  • Prepare future physicians to implement measurable and sustainable community health improvements
  • Train future physicians to be stewards of the environment
  • Prepare future physicians to practice in a multicultural society
  • Prepare future physicians to partner with patients to improve health in the mind, body, and spirit
  • Prepare future physicians to respond to disasters

Information on Giving to VCOM's International Outreach Program

The key factor in VCOM’s effective international outreach initiatives is collaboration, and VCOM has medical school partnerships in each country the college serves. Educational initiatives include shared medical student experiences, continuing education in evidence-based medicine for physicians from international countries, and clinical skills training with innovative medical devices.

Videoconferencing technology exists in the college’s international outreach sites in order to facilitate intra-professional training with pharmacy schools, medical schools, and nursing programs. This technology provides a venue for both medical education and international consultation.

Global Seminar for Health and Environment

The Global Seminar for Health and Environment connects VCOM students with international medical students to explore environmental and health issues from a global perspective. Through this experience, medical students at VCOM and international sites have the opportunity to examine and discuss public health issues and global solutions through a case-study approach. Regular video conferences allow students to discuss and debate cases in real-time with their peers worldwide.


Interactive Experiences

VCOM offers one week, one month, and year-long fellowship opportunities for students interested in international medicine.

VCOM provides one-week long international medical outreach experiences for second and third year students and faculty physicians, twice a year in each of the two countries served. These experiences focus on public health, community health, and individual patient care. Typically, up to 300 patients from the surrounding communities receive medical treatment, public health education, clothing, and food items each day of the outreach trip. Medical students participating in these trips develop the skills to address healthcare needs in the face of poverty, adverse environmental conditions, and political complexity.

Third and fourth year students have the opportunity to complete a one-month rotation in the Dominican Republic or Honduras. During rotations, VCOM faculty physicians in each sustainable clinic site teach an international curriculum on topics such as tropical medicine, infectious disease, community healthcare for developing countries' populations, care for victims of poverty, and public health measures. International rotation experience enhances VCOM students’ clinical ability to practice medicine in the United States and abroad, their cultural competency, and public health experience.


Public Health

Public health education plays a key role not only in research but on each VCOM outreach trip and during each patient interaction. By providing patients abroad with accessible written and oral information on topics such as safe water, sanitation, nutrition and disease in their native language, we empower patients to take their personal health, and the health of their community, into their own hands.


First Aid and Disaster Training Programs

VCOM has established emergency medicine programs in all affiliated international outreach sites. During the training experience, VCOM faculty and students provide First Aid, Basic Life Support training, First Responder Training and Basic Disaster Life Support training to clinic staff, employees of partner organizations, and international medical teams.


Sharing Medical Education with our International Medical School Partners

In each country, in addition to the approval from the Ministry of Health, VCOM has developed in-country medical school partnerships. The goal of these partnerships is to share medical knowledge in evidence-based medicine and new technology to advance medical education globally.