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.

Related links: [How to Set Up an GH Elective | Travel Grants for M4 Students]

I. List of Required Responsibilities: Before Departure

  1. Book Your Flight
    Book your flight immediately to take advantage of advance fare prices.
  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 (B.U. health plan) through On Call International (OC).

    • If you have Aetna, you are already enrolled in OC. For more info, go to On Call for a full description of services and to print an ID card that contains contact info for On Call services.
    • If you DO NOT have Aetna and your insurance provider does not offer this type of service, BU will purchase OC coverage for you. To do this, complete the application and e-mail it to Ana Gregory at least 4 weeks before the start of your elective. Once enrolled, see On Call for a full description of services and to print an ID card that contains contact info for On Call services.
  3. 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. We recommend checking your benefits with your insurance carrier before making an appointment to see what is covered. 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. BMC Travel Clinic: 617-414-4290. NOTE THIS ARTICLE: SPH Report: Many Study Abroad Students Return with Preventable Diseases.
  4. Complete Course 2: “Preparation & On the Ground”
    Between one to three months before your elective, complete “Course 2: Preparation & On the Ground,” the second of three courses of the Practitioner’s Guide to Global Health series. The series prepares students and trainees to safely and effectively participate in global health learning experiences. Course 2 will help you arrange logistics; consider security, cultural awareness, and health hazards. You will identify and manage personal and property safety risks; navigate professional, ethical, and cultural issues. This course is appropriate for any medical student who plans to go abroad. All courses are free-of-charge and generate a PDF certificate upon successful completion. You must submit the completion certificate to Ana Gregory via e-mail if you are seeking reimbursement for a travel grant.
  5. Research Your Destination
    Visit these web sites for country-specific information:

    • U.S. Department of State Check this site periodically before departure. Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine will not give credit or support to a medical student in a country where a Dept. of State Travel Warning is in effect.
    • Students Abroad (U.S. Department of State)
    • CDC 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.
  6. Attend a Predeparture Meeting
    Meet with a faculty member (November 20, 2023, this person has not been determined; email Ana Gregory for an update) at least 4-8 weeks before departure to discuss preparation and items in steps #4 and #5 above. When you apply for reimbursement of your elective (#13 below) you will be asked to indicate the date of this meeting.
  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 GH electives.
  8. Request Emergency Card from Ana Gregory
    Once you have attended a predeparture meeting, e-mail Ana Gregory and request that she send you the ‘Emergency Card for International Travel‘ that lists BU and state department contact info in the event of an emergency.
  9. Register Your Travel Plans with BU and the State Department
    • Register with the BU International Travel Registry.
      In accordance with the BU International Travel Risk Policy, medical students are required to register their travel before undertaking any university-sponsored international travel. The Registry enables emergency communication between you and BU while you are abroad.
    • Register with U.S. State Department Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trips with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This allows the US Embassy to contact travelers in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. It will also help family and friends contact the traveler in an emergency.
  10. Watch “First, Do No Harm: A Qualitative Research Documentary”
    Watch “First, Do No Harm” documentary online and complete the pre- and post-surveys.

II. List of Required Responsibilities: Upon Return

  1. Complete the GH Post-Experience Report
    Complete the GH Post-Experience Report at Global Health Post-Experience Summaries. Once you log into Global Health Post-Experience Summaries, click “Click here to submit an experience” to submit your summary report. This must be submitted within 30 days of student’s return and no later than the Friday before graduation.
  2. Complete Course 3: “Reflection”
    Complete “Course 3: Reflection,” the third of three courses of the Practitioner’s Guide to Global Health series, within 30 days of your return and no later than the Friday before graduation. The series prepares students and trainees to safely and effectively participate in global health learning experiences. Course 3 helps you prepare to return including dealing with unexpected feelings and health issues. It also helps you plan for future work and sustainability. This course is appropriate for any medical student at the completion of his/her GH experience. All courses are free-of-charge and generate a certificate upon completion. Submit the completion certificate to Ana Gregory via e-mail. If you seek travel grant reimbursement, you may submit it with your Student Reimbursement Form for Travel Grant.
  3. Submit Online Form for Travel Grant Reimbursement
    If you were awarded a travel grant, you must complete the Student Reimbursement Form for Travel Grant to receive payment.