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International Medical Education Program (IMEP)

What is a "global health experience"?

Definition of a global health experience

For the purposes of UMMS medical students, a global health experience includes any global health learning experience during medical school (including summer experiences after 1st year, Flexible Clinical Experiences during 3rd year, and 4th or 5th year electives).

Global health experiences include all types of global health experiences (including clinical, research, public health, community service, cultural and language training).

How can a student identify a global health experience?

Students can identify a global health experience that matches their interests using different resources, which may include the following


Why should students meet with their Learning Community (LC) Mentors to discuss possible global health experience?

LC Mentors can be a good resource for students to discuss possible global health experience.

For global health experiences that will take place in the Advance Studies years, the student and their LC Mentor should meet to discuss their upcoming Advance Studies year. The proposed global health experience should be included in the student's Proposed Education Plan (PEP), which the student and LC Mentor should sign and submit to the OSA via the email address.

If appropriate, and if the LC Mentor agrees, the LC Mentors can serve in the role as a student's UMMS Elective Advisor.

What are the different types of agreements between UMMS and a Host Institution?

Before a global health experience can be approved, there must be one of the three possible types of agreements between UMMS and the Host Institution.

The student and their UMMS Elective Advisor (and possibly other UMMS faculty) should work together to identify and complete the appropriate agreement between UMMS and the Host Institution.

The agreements help to ensure that UMMS and the Host Institution are aware of the responsibilities associated with hosting a UMMS student.

The three types of agreements

  1. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): An MOU typically is valid for 3 years.  Students and faculty who are interested in pursuing a MOU between UMMS and a Host Institution should contact OGH.
  2. Letter of Agreement (LOA): An LOA typically is valid for 1 year.  If a student is proposing to do a global health experience at a new site that recently has not hosted UMMS students, then typically the student and a UMMS faculty member should purse a 1-year LOA (instead of pursuing a MOU).
    • Students may also find a template LOA on the left navigation bar of the IMEP website.
    • As described in the LOA, the Coordinating Liaison is the person who the Host Institution identifies as the representative to: (a) serve as a liaison with the responsibility of advancing the activities in the LOA, and (b) resolve any issues between the Host Institution and UMMS concerning participating students.
    • The LOA requires the contact information (i.e., name, title, mailing address, email address, phone number) for the person at the Host Institution who will be signing the LOA and who is considered to be the Counterpart to the UMMS Dean. If the Host Institution does not have a Dean, then this person should be in a position of authority at the Host Institution.
  3. Global Health Experience Notice (GHEN): If the proposed global health experience does not have any clinical activities, and there is neither a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  nor a Letter of Agreement (LOA) between UMMS and the Host Institution, then the student can complete a Global Health Experience Notice (GHEN) for the proposed global health experience, instead of requesting that UMMS and the Host Institution pursue an LOA or MOU.

If there is a MOU or LOA between UMMS and the Host Institution that will be current at the time of the global health experience, then a GHEN is not necessary for the global health experience.

The GHEN can be used for global health experiences whose primary purpose is:

  • Research pilot projects (e.g., needs assessments, preliminary data collection).
    Note:  research which has been approved by the UMMS Institutional Review Board (IRB) should have either an MOU or an LOA between UMMS and the Host Institution. In this case it is not appropriate to use a GHEN as the agreement between UMMS and the Host Institution.
  • Cultural (e.g., studying how cultural beliefs among refugees impact their use of medical care)
  • Language (e.g., studying medical Spanish)
  • Public Health or Community Service (e.g. teaching Basic Life Saving to nurses in Uganda)


Are UMMS students allowed to travel to locations that have a travel warning or travel alert from the U.S. State Department or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)?

As per UMMS policy, the medical school typically does not permit school-sponsored travel for UMMS medical students traveling to locations included on the U.S. State Department's website of countries with a travel warning or travel alert, or to locations that carry a CDC warning. Therefore, students should be aware that travel may not be permitted to countries that are listed on the State Department's website, or that have warnings on the CDC website.
If a student does want to propose travel to a location that has a travel warning, then the student should first confer with their UMMS Elective Advisor (or with the UMMS faculty member who would be sponsoring or overseeing the proposed travel).
If the student and the UMMS faculty member wish to proceed with proposing travel, then the student should continue with necessary paperwork including the OUME Global Health Education Request (GHER) Form and complete the Office of Global Health (OGH) travel registration for their proposed travel, so that the OGH can review the proposed travel. If the proposed travel is initially denied permission by the OGH, then the student has the option of requesting that the proposed travel be reviewed by the Travel Advisory Review Committee (TARC).
If a student does want such a review, then the student should first confer with their UMMS Elective Advisor (or with the UMMS faculty member who would be sponsoring or overseeing the proposed travel) to ensure that both the student and the UMMS Elective Advisor agree to proceed with a request for review by the TARC.
To initiate the review process, the student must contact the OUME via the on-line UMMS Travel Advisory Review Committee (TARC) Review Request. This online form will allow the opportunity for students to provide addition details about their proposed travel plans. The OUME will request a review by the Travel Advisory Review Committee (TARC) on behalf of the student.
At the time of requesting a review by the TARC, students should also make sure that they have: (1) submitted their Global Health Education Request (GHER) form to OUME, and (2) submitted the one-page Pre-Travel Authorization to OUME. These documents provide OUME, OGH and TARC with details about the student’s proposed travel plan. The students should also provide copies of any application, program acceptance or similar material related to their proposed travel.
At the request of the OUME, the TARC will review the written information submitted by the student. UMMS faculty members who are knowledgeable about the site location may submit information, and may be contacted by the committee for consultation. Special considerations that may be reviewed by the committee include: travel warnings that are for localized areas; an established UMMS Memorandum of Understanding for the site; and compelling safety information beyond the standard requirements.
In general, the TARC will review requests within 2 working weeks of submission of written materials. A final decision will be communicated to the student within 2 working weeks following the review. Blue highlighted: webpage links
Green highlighted: links to document sections
Updated 10.21.15cjb 5
This decision is binding, unless new federal warnings are posted or there is a similar change in safety. Students will be notified in writing, by the Office of Global Health. [2.4.2015]