Columbia University Medical Students join MSIH for International Clerkships in Peru and India


Three Columbia University medical students, Matthew Johnson, Julia Bensimon, and Etoroabasi Ekpe, have joined MSIH students in their international medical clerkships this year in Peru and India.

The medical clerkships, an integral part of MSIH’s Global Medicine education, are an annual feature, where 4th year MSIH students, fresh from electives in the US, travel to low-income countries to work side by side with local physicians. In so doing, students are exposed to the reality of medical practice in resource-scarce settings, where doctors are forced to make do with minimal supplies of medicines and machinery.

“It’s a very exciting time for them,” explains Dr. Noah Liel, the coordinator of the medical clerkships. “During their first three years at MSIH, students are steeped in Global Health, but it’s only in their clerkships that they see the clinical reality. It’s quite an eye-opener for many of them.”

International Medical Clerkship Options

This year, MSIH students are participating in electives in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Peru, Mexico, and a remote settlement in Northern Canada. The eight-week clinical experience is the capstone of MSIH’s 4-year Global Medicine program. Student’s academic obligations include:

  • Two clinical case reports
  • A weekly blog expressing their observations
  • A poster for presentation to professors and peers at MSIH

Blogs Offer an Opportunity for Reflection

“The blog posts are fascinating,” explains Liora Coren, the Global Health Administrative Coordinator who makes the arrangements for students to participate in these clerkships. “It’s so interesting to see how the students react to their new environment and the observations they make. The blogs are within a closed environment, only accessible by students’ peers and a few professors. This gives the students freedom to express themselves freely – and for some it’s a life-changing experience.”

Columbia Affiliation

As a part of the close affiliation with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, MSIH invites students from Columbia to participate in the clerkships. This year, three students chose to join the clerkship at its site at the National University of the Peruvian Amazon. and Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

MSIH is always pleased to welcome Columbia students for an international clerkship experience. For the past ten years , Columbia students have joined the clerkships and experienced work in a low-resource medical setting. 

Interested in learning more about international clerkships at MSIH, and what it’s like to be a medical student with a global health focus? Join our next prospective student webinar to get a full overview of our program. 

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