Research in the IH Field

Finding a Research Project

Medical students should start the process of finding an IH research project by considering an area of medicine or public health that interests them. Students can review the literature on the subject or field of interest and note publications in American and foreign journals (where contact might be possible, the first author contact info is usually at the end of a paper). Finding an appropriate project can be a challenge and requires perseverance. Students are most successful when they can find an ongoing project, for a defined period of time, with a set of goals that can reasonably accomplished over an 8-10 week period. It is usually not feasible to undertake an international health project for less than this time. American researchers may have some interest in duplicating a home-based, successful project abroad.

Where to Start: CUGH

To get an idea of where to start, review the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) website. Review the student poster presentations from the last few conferences. Here you will see what your colleagues in medical schools around the country have been able to accomplish abroad in a similar period of time. You may get an idea of a topic or a contact in a given area of study. You should also review clinical education modules.

Literature Search

Additional information is available through a literature search through the BU Alumni Medical Library and online via PubMed. Browse Journals by Subject and choose “Public Health.” Access to the following journals is available:

  • American Journal of Public Health
  • Health & Social Care in the Community
  • Health Promotion International
  • Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
  • Tropical Medicine & International Health

BUSM Faculty Members

There may be a BUSM faculty member engaged in research related to your field of interest, and they may be collaborating with a researcher overseas. You may inquire to faculty members to promote the discussion of potential replication of work at an external site. The chair of each department is well acquainted with ongoing research within a department and may be able to guide students to an appropriate faculty member. Additionally, some BUMC departments list their faculty’s research on their sites.

Outside Faculty Members

Several medical schools have well-established global health programs with researchers collaborating overseas. You may find it useful to search databases from other schools to help you locate ongoing projects that will welcome your participation.

Meet with Dr. Sarfaty (after you have reviewed all the resources available)

After you have had a chance to review all these resources and think critically about what you wish to accomplish, you can make an appointment with Dr. Sarfaty with Ana Bediako (abediako@bu.edu) to help guide the planning for your research experience. Please remember these projects take a significant amount of advanced planning, patience and determination.