Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles and around the world, all rotations are tentative and subject to cancellation.


Primary Partner Electives


Carefully designed, structured, and supervised experiences

Global Health Electives in China, India, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, South Africa (Cape Town and northern KwaZulu-Natal), and Thailand

DGSOM has longstanding partnerships with institutions around the world, in which exchanges and sustainable programs occur at multiple levels (medical student, resident, fellow, faculty) and in multiple areas (research, education, clinical service). The Global Health Program currently offers nine different clinical electives for medical students at the primary partner sites listed above. Because of our close relationships with these partners, these electives are carefully designed, structured, and supervised experiences that each have specific goals and objectives, and a clearly defined focus. We rigorously review each site annually and regularly re-evaluate the student experience.

Primary Partner Electives are 3-week courses that may be found in the course directory in MyCourses. The exact dates of each elective vary annually, but typically begin in March (after Match Day) or early April, and end at least one month prior to graduation. Please note that we enroll students in the elective (i.e. upload the course into each student’s schedule in MyCourses) after students have been paired with a particular clinical site through the application and interview process.

Funding is provided to help cover most, but not all expenses, including pre-travel health care expenses, roundtrip airfare, and in-country accommodations and food during the elective.

All students participating in a Primary Partner Elective are required to attend a pre-departure orientation session held in January/February, as well as two debrief sessions upon return home (one site-specific debrief and one larger debrief with all students).

All students participating in a Primary Partner Elective have access to our 24/7 emergency phone line.

For additional information on each site, please refer to the elective site descriptions below:


Application for primary partner electives

Applications are updated and distributed by email to the DGSOM MS4 listserv in early August for electives that take place the following spring (late March-April). Applications are typically due in late August, followed by interviews in September, with notifications delivered by the end of September. Please note that the dates for these in-country electives are fixed by the program and cannot be altered. Please ensure your availability prior to applying.

Along with a completed application, students will need to submit a curriculum vitae, signed code of conduct and risk reduction agreement, personal statement, two recommendation forms from UCLA clinical faculty members, a recommendation form from your Assistant Dean of Student Affairs (or Dr. Calmes for Drew students), and the application checklist. 

Application materials are linked below. Please note that the application link is updated in August of each year – please ensure you are completing the most up-to-date version of the application. 

Once accepted, students will then be asked to complete the following additional participation requirements:

  1. Sign up for UC Traveler Security and Health Coverage Benefits - The University of California has arranged for students and employees traveling on official University business to be covered for a variety of accidents and incidents while away from campus or the primary workplace. Please visit the UC Travel Insurance page for details. If your air travel is purchased through UCLA travel, you will automatically be signed up for coverage and will receive a confirmation email at your UCLA email address.

  2. Register for the US State Department STEP Program - The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Please visit the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) page for more information and instructions on how to register.

  3. Make an appointment at a Travel Clinic - For additional information on travel health and UCLA Travel Clinic resources, please visit the Traveler Security and Health page.

For more information, please review our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Dr. Traci Wells at TWells@mednet.ucla.edu.