Required Responsibilities for Students Undertaking GH Electives

All students who undertake a 4th-year GH elective must complete the following list of responsibilities. These are required whether or not a student seeks a travel grant.

Students who do not comply with these requirements may not be allowed to pursue their electives and/or receive travel grants after their return.

Students participating in the Greece elective are responsible for all items below except #6, #12, and #13.

Related links: [How to Set Up an GH Elective | Travel Grants for BUSM IV Students]

List of Required Responsibilities: Before Departure

1. Book Your Flight

Book your flight immediately to take advantage of advance fare prices. STA Travel (a student travel organization) is a good place to start.

2. Review or Set Up Emergency Travel Assistance

Medical students traveling abroad for electives are required to have emergency travel assistance. Emergency travel assistance is available to students enrolled in Aetna Student Health Plus (B.U. health plan) through On Call International (OCI).

  • If you have Aetna, you received your On Call ID card and brochure with your insurance card. No further action is necessary.
  • If you DO NOT have Aetna and your insurance provider does not offer this type of service, BUSM will purchase OCI coverage for you. To do this, complete the application and e-mail it to Ana Bediako.

3. Research Your Destination

Visit these web sites for country-specific information:

Review travel notices for your destination country; country description (gov’t, language, climate); local laws and customs; safety (e.g., using public transport, using currency); food and water, etc.

4. Know Before You Go! Prepare Yourself for Travel

Review the state department’s Tips for Traveling Abroad (detailed information to ensure a safe trip to anywhere in the world). Make a note of the US embassy or consulate (provides emergency and other assistance to Americans abroad) in the country of your elective.

5. Immunize Yourself

Make an appointment with the BMC travel clinic or a clinic of your choice. Your appointment should be at least 3 months before departure for shots to take effect.

For students with Aetna Student Health insurance: Do not make an appointment for this purpose with BU Student Health Services; they do not handle these types of appointments. If you plan to use the BMC travel clinic, your physical exam may not be covered by Aetna if you have already had an exam by your primary care physician during the same calendar year. We recommend checking your benefits with Aetna before making an appointment to see what is covered.

(* For issues regarding BMC Travel Clinic insurance coverage, contact Dr. Sarfaty.)

6. Meet with Dr. Sarfaty

Meet with Dr. Sarfaty at least 4-6 weeks before departure to discuss preparation and items in steps #3 and #4 above. Be prepared for your meeting! The Office of Enrichment holds these meetings periodically for groups of students undertaking IH electives. You will be informed of a session by Ana Bediako (617-638-4167). If you do not receive a date for this meeting, e-mail Ana.

7. Review Guidelines for Blood-borne Pathogen Exposure and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

These guidelines delineate recommended actions for participants in BMC global health electives in case of an occupational exposure to potentially infectious blood or body fluids. While the guidelines were written for BMC resident physicians, medical students are asked to follow these guidelines while undertaking IH electives.

8. Request Emergency Card from Ana Bediako

Once you have met with Dr. Sarfaty, e-mail Ana Bediako ( and request that Ana send you the ‘Emergency Card for International Travel‘ that lists Dr. Sarfaty’s and state department contact info in the event of an emergency.

9. Register with US State Department

To ensure your safety abroad and allow family members to contact you in an emergency, register your travel plans online with the US Department of State:

10. Pick Up Your Elective Evaluation Form in the Registrar’s Office

Before departure, visit the BUSM registrar’s office (A-4) and obtain the elective evaluation form for your elective. Bring the form with you to your elective site and give it to your evaluator. The evaluator may send the form directly to the registrar, but a more reliable option is to have the evaluator return the completed form to you in a sealed envelope with his/her signature across the seal; then, you may return it to the registrar.

11. Watch "First, Do No Harm: A Qualitative Research Documentary"

Watch "First, Do No Harm" documentary online and complete the pre- and post-surveys. Be prepared to discuss the ideas and issues covered in the documentary at the pre-dep session:

List of Required Responsibilities: Upon Return

12. Complete Post-Elective Report

Post-Elective Report (must be submitted within 30 days of student’s return and no later than the Friday before graduation)

13. Send Documents to Ana Bediako for Travel Grant Reimbursement

If you were awarded a travel grant, you must send the following to Ana Bediako via e-mail ( after your elective:

  • Your name and address (where the check will be sent)
  • The dates of your trip
  • Electronic copies of receipts for at least the amount you were awarded. The following documents are acceptable: flight receipts, program fees, rental fees.

Once your documents are received, a check will be issued in about 2 weeks time and mailed to the address you provided.