BEYOND MEDICAL “MISSIONS” TO IMPACT-DRIVEN SHORT-TERM EXPERIENCES IN GLOBAL HEALTH (STEGHS): ETHICAL PRINCIPLES TO OPTIMIZE COMMUNITY BENEFIT AND LEARNER EXPERIENCE

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It is known that almost two-thirds of medical students expect to participate in a global health experience during their time in medical school, residency and early career paths. What this article seeks to examine, is the dynamic between the positive intent these students have and the widening gap of social inequities of health that might occur in host communites because of the impact of Short-Term Experiences in Global Health (STEGHs).¬†Ethical concerns and other disciplinary approaches, such as public health and anthropology, can be incorporated to increase effectiveness and sustainability, and to shift the culture of STEGHs from focusing on trainees and their home institutions to also considering benefits in host communities and nurturing partnerships. Additionally, this shifts the focus from “medical missions” to creating a partnership of sustainability and empowerment between host communities and trainees. In this article the authors propose four core principles to guide ethical development of educational short-term global health experiencies.

These principles include: (1) skills building in cross-cultural effective- ness and cultural humility, (2) bidirectional participatory relationships, (3) local capacity building, and (4) long-term sustainability.

Published in the Journal of Academic Medicine.

Date Published: December 1, 2015

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