Frequently Asked Questions


Global Health Selective

Global Health Selective participation is not a prerequisite for GSTTP, but participation is strongly encouraged, as the Selective is a great opportunity for students to learn about opportunities for summer research and to meet potential faculty mentors.

While it is not a requirement, enrolling in the Global Health Selective is a great way to network with faculty at DGSOM, find mentorship, and learn about opportunities in global health. Those who successfully complete the Selective are invited to apply for Selective leadership in their second year, and Selective participation and leadership roles can be important for the Pathway. Please carefully review the requirements of the Global Health Equity Pathway.

After completing the Selective, you will be invited to apply to become a Selective leader in the fall of your second year of medical school. Leaders are chosen based on their ideas for improving and enhancing the Selective, as well as their overall performance in the Selective (e.g., attendance, participation).


Global Short-Term Training Program (GSTTP)

You will need a UCLA faculty member to mentor you on your project, and your project/site will need to be approved by the GSTTP Director. Since all projects for the summer of 2021 are LA-based, having appropriate mentorship at UCLA and in the host country are the most important considerations for approval of a site and project.

No, not at all. While some students do perform clinical research projects in a global health setting, projects can be performed in the areas of program evaluation, quality improvement, implementation science, social science, and policy/advocacy, among others. We can work with you to help identify project areas and appropriate mentors so you can explore, and ultimately find a summer research experience that is the best fit for your learning goals and objectives.

Students are not required to have any background in research. When you meet with potential mentors, you should be prepared to explain what skills you would like to develop and what specific areas of research you are interested in exploring. The more specific you can be with a potential mentor, the more likely the mentor will be able to help you find the right project to achieve your learning goals.

Depending on the location of the project, there might be a language requirement. In certain countries and locations, fluency may be required (Spanish-speaking research participants, for example). In others, you will not need to know the local language, but may need a translator to facilitate your research project. If translation services are required, you should ensure this is part of the budget for your project. Please discuss language requirements with possible mentors early on in your discussions, so you understand whether a particular location will be feasible for you.

Yes. Your stipend is considered taxable income for the year, and will be reported on a 1098-T form, in the same way that scholarships and other “gift aid” is reported. You should discuss this with an accountant if you do not know whether you are responsible for any taxes. UCLA also offers free tax advice to students at VITA during tax season.


MS4 Clinical Elective

Yes. The safety of each location needs to be assessed. If traveling to a Level 3 country, as designated by the U.S. State Department, DGSOM students need to complete an additional safety protocol and request special approval to participate in this setting. Travel to a Level 4 country is not permitted.

Our program only provides reimbursement for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and this is limited to a $50 copay per prescription (with pre-approval by our program). All other immunizations and malaria prophylaxis are covered by the student.

Given that you will be participating in a clinical elective, we prefer that the letters come from UCLA faculty who have supervised you clinically. If you have been supervised on research in a global health setting, you may also submit a letter from the faculty member who supervised you.

Any personal travel should take place on weekends or before or after the time of your scheduled clinical elective. Travel should not interfere with work on Fridays or Mondays during the elective.

We require that the DGSOM global health evaluation form be filled out by at least one supervising faculty member when you are participating in your clinical elective. The evaluations can be returned in a sealed envelope to Dr. Traci Wells, completed online via Qualtrics, or sent directly via email to Please direct any questions to Dr. Wells.

Yes. Your stipend is considered taxable income for the year, and will be reported on a 1098-T form, in the same way that scholarships and other gift aid is reported. You should discuss this with an accountant if you do not know whether you are responsible for any taxes. UCLA also offers free tax advice to students at VITA during tax season.


Global Health Equity Pathway

Most students choose to begin with the Global Health Selective, offered in the fall to first year medical students, since that is a great way to learn about global health work occurring at and beyond DGSOM, and to connect with potential faculty mentors. You can also reach out directly to Dr. Traci Wells at to discuss potential mentors and to learn more about the Pathway. Interested students should apply by no later than the mid-August deadline in their second year of medical school. Selective participation is not a requirement for joining the Pathway.

Not at all! The Pathway is designed for those considering a career in global health, and who will benefit from longitudinal mentorship, additional educational opportunities, and engagement with fellow Pathway students and global health faculty. A few of the Pathway benefits available only to Pathway students include support toward research goals through Work-in-Progress (WIPs) meetings, and the opportunity to apply for supplemental funding to help cover fees related to conferences, publications, or research software.

Absolutely! Global Health Program faculty and staff are available to guide you in finding a global health mentor. Students are encouraged to join the Pathway as soon as possible, but by no later than mid-August of their second year of medical school, to maximize benefit from the program (check the Pathway webpage for exact application deadline).

The funding offered through the Global Health Program is only available to Pathway students. However, you can apply for conference funding through the Student Affairs Office, and check with your mentors to see if they can help with the publication fees. Typically, mentors can support students in obtaining funding for publication fees.

Not at all! We want students to have the flexibility to create their own, unique Pathways. We do require that students participate in a minimum of three Work-in-Progress (WIPs) meetings in their second year (presenting at one of the three), and that they complete a scholarly project prior to graduation. Students are also required to participate in two additional opportunities through the Global Health Program, and can choose from the Global Health Selective, Los Angeles Global Health Conference/case competition, GSTTP, or senior clinical elective. Please review the requirements on the Pathway webpage or contact the Global Health Program faculty with questions.

Absolutely! While we love to see our Pathway students take advantage of global health and local health equity leadership opportunities at DGSOM, we understand that some students might prefer to focus on research or clinical opportunities over leadership in the Selective, Global Health Interest Group, or Los Angeles Global Health Conference/Case Competition. Please review the Pathway requirements to learn more about the options for different activities that meet criteria.