Due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, there will be no international travel for the 2020/2021 academic year.


Global Health Equity Pathway

 Guiding future leaders to advance health equity locally and globally.


Receive mentorship and longitudinal support for global health and health disparities activities

DGSOM students with a strong interest in health equity are encouraged to join the Global Health Equity Pathway. This Pathway is a longitudinal commitment to engaging in activities related to health equity, both locally and globally, throughout medical school. As part of the Pathway, students receive UCLA faculty mentorship and support for research, career planning, networking, and the development of leadership skills.

We encourage interested students to join the Pathway regardless of their career interests, which might include research, clinical practice, teaching/training at academic medical centers, and/or opportunities with government agencies, multilateral organizations, or nongovernmental organizations, with a focus on health equity.

Students are encouraged to join the Pathway as early as their first year, but by no later than mid-August of their second year of medical school, to maximize benefit from the program. Please review the Application and Information section, below, for more details, including the exact fall deadline.   


Pathway requirements

1) Scholarly global health equity project 

All Pathway students are required to complete a scholarly project prior to graduation. We have adapted our typical internationally-focused project requirement to include domestic projects that address health issues affecting diverse communities locally, and not just those outside of the U.S.

Students will have a primary UCLA faculty mentor to guide them in their project(s), which can include, but is not limited to, a longitudinal research or policy/advocacy project, or participation in a quality improvement effort. The project can be based on work initiated during the Global Short-Term Training Program (GSTTP), or arise from other projects designed with the student’s mentor(s).

Each student will complete a scholarly deliverable for their project, e.g., an abstract presented at a conference or a formal publication. The scholarly project must be approved by the Pathway Director (Dr. Kate Dovel, KDovel@mednet.ucla.edu) to ensure it meets the Pathway’s requirements. We recognize that COVID-19 has prevented many students from participating in typical global health experiences (such as host-country GSTTP placements) and many of those who have an interest in global health are also interested in pursuing domestic health equity work. Please contact Dr. Dovel if you are unsure as to whether your proposed scholarly project meets the objectives of the Pathway.

2) Participation in three Work-in-Progress Meetings (WIPs)

We are committed to providing students in the Pathway with opportunities to build or fine-tune their global health skills, and to network with other students and GHP faculty and staff. Through our Work-in-Progress Meetings (WIPs), colleagues in the fields of global health/health equity come together to discuss students’ research/scholarly projects and to develop skills in specific areas, such as data analysis, data management, data visualization, creating presentations, etc.

WIPs provide second-year Pathway students an opportunity to present their ongoing research/scholarly projects and discuss challenges or bottlenecks. Mentors and peers are encouraged to actively participate, contribute to a supportive learning environment, and provide advice and targeted teaching. WIPs may also feature educational talks from faculty and staff on relevant topics, including conducting a literature review, writing a research manuscript, research methods, and submitting proposed research for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.

WIPs are typically held from 12-1pm throughout the fall. In order to meet Pathway requirements, second-year students are required to present at one and participate in at least two additional WIPs. WIPs are open to any student in the Pathway, as well as those first-year students who are exploring or interested in a topic covered in a particular WIP. For questions about the WIPs, please contact GHP Director of Education, Dr. Traci Wells (TWells@mednet.ucla.edu) and review this one-pager on WIP responsibilities for students.

3) Participation in at least two of four additional global health equity activities (please note that travel is contingent on DGSOM's policies regarding travel for trainees, as well as the safety conditions at the global site):

  • MS1/MS2: Global Health Selective, which includes attendance at a variety of lunchtime lectures and evening events throughout the fall. Requirements vary each year.
  • MS1/MS2: Global (or “Local-Global”) Health Leadership Role, which may include serving as a leader of the Global Health Selective (available to MS2 students who enrolled in the Selective as first-year students), the planning committee for the Los Angeles Global Health Conference, the Global Health Case Competition, and/or other local or UCLA-affiliated leadership opportunities (e.g., asylum clinic, mobile clinic). If you are interested in leadership opportunities and/or unsure as to whether an opportunity meets Pathway requirements, please contact GHP Director of Education, Dr. Traci Wells (TWells@mednet.ucla.edu).
  • MS1-MS2 SUMMER: Global Short-Term Training Program (GSTTP), which provides the opportunity for students to engage in mentored summer research or public health experiences at a UCLA-affiliated partner site (travel contingent on safety). Students may also participate in “local-global” health disparities research projects. Applications for our summer research experiences are open to all medical students. Please review the GSTTP webpage for additional information/requirements.
  • MS4: Senior Global Health Clinical Elective, which exposes students to the practice of medicine in low- and middle-income countries, or at underserved sites in the greater LA area. Applications for our global health clinical electives are open to all medical students and spots are not guaranteed for Pathway students. Please review the Senior Global Health Clinical Elective webpage for additional information/requirements.

Additional opportunities & resources

Funding opportunities for Pathway students:

We value the experience students gain from pursuing longitudinal scholarly work, and offer funding to help Pathway students cover expenses associated with research (e.g., software costs), publication fees, or conference attendance (domestic or international, as travel allows). Students can apply for funding once a year for each year that they are part of the Pathway and meeting Pathway requirements. Each eligible Pathway student can apply for a maximum of $1,000 in Pathway funding (per student per year enrolled in the Pathway).

Mentorship opportunities for Pathway students:

Some Pathway students may elect to pursue additional study (e.g., Master’s in Public Health) or research training (e.g., University of California GloCal Health Fellowship, UCLA SAPHIR, Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowship) that can help them to further prepare for a career in global health. Our faculty and staff can provide mentorship and assistance to interested Pathway students to help them to identify and apply to the most appropriate and relevant opportunities. For information on available opportunities, please visit our Resources & Funding page.

Research/educational resources for Pathway students:

  • Pathway students may find it useful to view past recorded Work-in-Progress Meetings (WIPs) from faculty and staff presenters:
    • Navigating the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Dr. Tom Coates: view recording here
      • Students may also find it useful to review this IRB primer for Global Short-Term Training Program (GSTTP) students 
    • Systematic reviews & working with librarians, Rikke Ogawa, MLIS, AHIP: view recording here
      • View the PowerPoint deck here
      • Reach out (first sign up for an account) to the biomedical librarians for expert help on your next literature search!
      • Take a look at this Systematic Review Guide to get started
    • Qualitative and quantitative research methods, Dr. Tiffany Tsang and Dr. Benjamin Logan: view recording here
    • How to write and submit a manuscript, Dr. Corrina Moucheraud: review primer for manuscript writing here


Application and information

The 2021 Global Health Equity Pathway application for rising MS2s can be downloaded as a word document here. The application deadline for rising MS2 students is August 2, 2021.

Students who successfully complete the Pathway program will receive a “Certificate of Completion of the Global Health Equity Pathway.” Participation in the Pathway may also be highlighted in the Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE, or “Dean’s Letter”). For more information, please contact Dr. Kate Dovel, Pathway Director (KDovel@mednet.ucla.edu).