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Medical Elective in the Tropics


Dickson Despommier, Ph.D., Course Director

Description of Program:

A medicine elective in the tropics is offered to fourth year students for a two month period of time. They may choose any place in the tropical world in which to do it, and in any medical specialty, including family medicine. Time spent on this elective does not count as time away from the university. For the most part, the elective consists of cases of infectious diseases, no matter what else the student experiences. Students are encouraged to make the first contact with a physician in the country of their choice. If they are unable to do so, I can provide them with a short list of names and hospitals. The internet has proven to be an invaluable adjunct resource in this regard. Once having made contact, the student then should obtain a letter of agreement from that physician indicating what it is they will be doing when they arrive in country, and they must then leave a copy with me as part of their permanent file. Upon arrival, they should fax me to let me know that they have arrived safely. They have to keep a diary and make daily entries regarding their clinical experiences. A 10-12-page report is then written based on the diary and deposited in the Dean's Office as a final stage in completion of the elective. The report should accurately reflect the diseases seen and treated, and in addition should read something like a travelogue (ala Public Television's "Rough Guide"). Pictures are always appreciated. The exact name, place and address of the physician(s) that were in charge of the clinical experiences in that country have to accompany the report. In other words, it should be written in a style as if the student were advising the next person as to whether or not the elective they did was worth repeating. Funding for travel is available through the Rosenbluth Foundation. Unfortunately, only six students per year can be supported in this manner. Forms are available in the Dean's Office C/O Ms. Stephanie Moholt.

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Jason Shapiro
P & S Class of 2000