Global Health Equity Pathway
The Global Health Equity Pathway prepares medical students with the knowledge, skills, and critical perspectives needed to advance health equity locally and globally. Pathway students are selected each year through a competitive application process. As part of the Pathway, students build longitudinal relationships with UCLA faculty and partner organizations to 1) develop and implement global health projects in research, public health programming, and/or policy/advocacy; 2) network and receive mentorship towards future career goals; 3) contribute to equitable and sustainable global health partnerships; and 4) develop leadership skills. Those who complete all requirements of the Pathway will have details of their achievement noted in their MSPE (Dean’s Letter).
- The epidemiology and global burden of disease
- The architecture of global health
- Structural and social determinants of health
Develop skills to:
- Address health inequity and improve health outcomes
- Employ critical self-reflection in the practice of medicine
- A global health community and network both within and outside DGSOM
Enroll in the Global Health Equity Selective
Secure global health mentor(s)
Identify opportunities for Foundations for Discovery at a GHP approved partner site
Engage in Foundations for Discovery at a GHP approved partner site:
• Work with a partner to explore opportunities for research, public health programming, and/or advocacy
• Develop a concept note for a Discovery Year project
Finalize concept note and plan for Discovery Year
Continue engagement with your partner site
Participate in Discovery Year at a GHP approved partner site:
• Develop skills in research, public health programming, and/or advocacy
• Produce and disseminate a final product, such as a publication or formal report
Continue engagement with your GHP approved partner site
Participate in a clinical elective with a health equity focus
- Global Health Selective is the first activity associated with the Pathway and is typically completed by first year medical students. The Selective is comprised of lectures, panels, and small group discussion sessions and takes place each fall between September and November.
- Foundations for Discovery with a partner organization (requires a minimum of three weeks based at a partner organization in order to better understand the local context, global health needs, and explore opportunities for longitudinal projects during Discovery Year).
- Discovery Year with a partner organization (requires a minimum of six months based at a partner organization working on a project related to global health or health equity).
Additional Activities (optional)
- Participation in the following:
- Los Angeles Global Health Conference
- UCLA Global Health Case Competition
- Active engagement in global health leadership at DGSOM, including the following:
- Planning committee for the Los Angeles Global Health Conference
- Planning committee for the UCLA Global Health Case Competition
- Advising the curriculum committee or leading small group discussion for the Global Health Selective course
- Participation in a Global Health Clinical Elective in the spring of the MS4 year.
Note: All DGSOM students are invited to participate in the additional activities and numerous Global Health Program opportunities and special events without being part of the Pathway or Concentration. This provides flexibility for students who want to explore global health without making a commitment to a long-term project and coursework.
Longitudinal Engagement and Projects
The Pathway relies heavily on experiential learning through one or more long-term, bilateral partnerships. Pathway students have a unique opportunity to engage longitudinally with global partners through Foundations for Discovery (minimum three-week site visit) and Discovery Year (minimum six months onsite).
Pathway students spend their first year of medical school meeting with potential mentors who are committed to health equity research, advocacy, and/or public health.
After their first year of medical school, Pathway students spend a minimum of three weeks at either a community or global partner site in order to 1) meet mentors and key stakeholders; 2) learn about the political, historical, and structural determinants of health at the site; and 3) begin to develop a longitudinal project for the Discovery Year. Students going abroad also meet with GHP faculty and UCLA peers while in-country in order to promote peer learning and engagement with core global health competencies. After engagine with the partner site, students produce a brief concept note outlining a potential project for their Discovery Year. Students then continue developing the project during their second year of medical school. Additional information regarding Foundations for Discovery and the timeline for 2022 can be found here.
Funding is available for student travel related to Foundations for Discovery. Mentor awards are also available for faculty who serve as mentors during the Foundations for Discovery. For information on available opportunities, please visit our Resources & Funding page.
Experiential learning: based at partner site for minimum of 3 weeks
- Understand context (and social determinants)
- Build partnerships
- Identify a global health question that should be answered
- Self-reflection and humility
Weekly Zoom calls with other students and GHP faculty
- Peer learning/teaching
- Build a global health community
- 1- 2 page concept note on a potential Discovery Year project with partner site
Pathway students typically spend a minimum of six months during their third year of medical school at a community or global partner site in order to conduct the bulk of their longitudinal project. Students work with their partner site to develop unique projects that best suit the needs of the partner and the student’s background and skills. All projects must have a global health and/or health equity focus. Projects may include clinical or social science research, policy/advocacy, public health programming, and/or monitoring and evaluation.
Students meet with GHP faculty and UCLA peers throughout the Discovery Year to promote peer learning and engagement with core global health competencies. Upon completion of the Discovery Year, students produce a written report describing their project, outcomes, and lessons learned. If the Discovery Year results in a publication or a formal report, this may be submitted in lieu of a written report.
Funding is available to offset costs associated with student travel and global programming. Mentor awards are also available for faculty who serve as mentors during the Discovery Year. The application and funding mechanisms for the Discovery Year are in development for the first student cohort that will participate in Fall 2023.
Experiential learning: based at partner site for 6-9 months
- Build equitable and sustainable partnerships
- Address a global health problem
- Use graphics and scholarly writing to disseminate your research/project findings
- Engage in self-reflection and humility
Monthly reflection Zoom calls (faculty and GHP Discovery students)
- Faculty mentoring
- Peer learning/teaching
- Build a global health community
Monthly WIP Zoom calls (faculty and GHP Discovery students)
- WIP: Work-in-progress
- Use graphics and presentation skills to highlight your work
- Learn other methodologies and contexts/health concerns in global health
- Manuscript or professional reports/thesis
Applications for the Global Health Equity Pathway are included in the general DGSOM application and submitted concurrently. Late applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Kate Dovel (KDovel@mednet.ucla.edu), Director of Global Health Research.
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 actively meeting Pathway requirements, for a maximum of $1,000 (per student per year).
- Review the application for funding and requirements carefully, and reach out to both Dr. Traci Wells and Vijeta Vaswani with questions regarding your application.
Interested in joining the Pathway? See how some of our recent Pathway graduates engaged in global health while at DGSOM.