First Year

MSIH Medical School for International Health first year

The first-year program begins at the end of July with a month-long orientation, which provides an introduction to the student's new environment and to the concepts of global health.

The first and second academic years begin in late August and end in late June. The academic year consists of two semesters, separated by vacation in late December and early spring. A two-month vacation separates the first and second academic years.


The first-year curriculum includes introductory courses to the basic medical sciences, including biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, and general physiology, microbiology, immunology, pathology, histology, pharmacology and epidemiology. Insofar as is possible aspects of global health are emphasized in each of the individual courses.

MSIH Medical School for International HealthFirst-year medical students at the MSIH blog about their experiences on '", and you can find insight into the curriculum and the focus through this very popular and widely-read blog. Illustrated at left, the post "A very blog-able day" by Sarah Humpreys talks about the highs and lows of being a first year medical student focusing on global health.


The scope of the epidemiology course taught in this program is broader than that usually provided in traditional M.D. programs, reflecting its major importance for global health. These basic medical courses focus on practical applications and are often taught in small groups, in addition to lectures, group discussions and tutorials.

A full-year course titled Clinical and Global Medicine offers students early patient exposure. This course introduces the student to various sub-cultures and communities within Israel and emphasizes the importance of awareness of cultural differences and cross-cultural communication as related to health care. Students learn specific techniques for the medical interview and develop their communication skills, including interviewing with an interpreter. The course follows a life cycle approach, with clinical settings ranging from well-baby clinics, pediatric facilities, diverse community centers to geriatric facilities. An introduction to relevant psycho-social issues and behavior sciences complement these clinical experiences.


Clinical and Global Medicine is also comprised of a formal Introduction to Global Health course, including sub-units on Demography and Health Indicators, Health Problems in LDC, Cross Cultural Health Beliefs, Maternal and Child Health, the Aged, Primary Health Care, Global Health and Environment, Infectious and Tropical Diseases, International Programs and Projects, and Health Care Organizations. In addition, eight Global Health modules, taught by experts in international health, are offered in a two-year cycle to first and second-year students. They cover such topics as disaster medicine, environmental health, research methods and grant writing, medical anthropology, world health systems, primary care, alternative medicine and women’s health. In addition, spoken Medical Hebrew is taught in formal classes throughout the first two years.


Students can also take The Healer's Art course, enabling students to perceive the personal and universal meaning in their daily experiences of medicine. Click here to read a recent press release on the Healer's Art.

  • Global Health Curriculum
  • Chart your course
  • Global Health Clinical Clerkships
  • About MSIH