international fellowship

The International Emergency Medicine Fellowship equips emergency physicians to become competent in the delivery of medical care in the underdeveloped and developing world. This includes specialty training in infectious disease and tropical medicine, humanitarian aid, and austere medicine. Graduates are also expected to gain competency in coordinating with government and non-government initiatives, and to work closely with local practitioners.

Fellowship Structure

The fellowship begins July 1 and lasts one year.  Fellows divide their time between international projects and research, international educational training, UAB school of Public Health, and clinical work in the ED.

The curriculum is tailored to fellows’ individual interests and is divided into six areas outlined below: (1) International Curriculum, (2) International Field Work, (3) UAB School of Public Health, (4) Research, (5) Clinical Medicine, and (6) Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response.

Fellows will have bimonthly international medicine meetings with the fellowship director to cover pertinent tropical medicine cases and global health research.  Fellow will be expected to help with preparing cases for future fellow education and teaching of Emergency Medicine residents and medical students interested in International Medicine.

International Curriculum

Fellows take courses and educational programs that focus on international emergency medicine topics that will equip them for a career in international emergency medicine. Fellows may give one grand round presentation and participate in lectures and teaching conferences associated with the UAB EM Residency.

Training Courses

  • Fellows attend the Gorgas Diploma Course, a comprehensive tropical medicine course held for 9 weeks in Lima, Peru. The goal is to provide hands-on training in tropical medicine and preparation for the certification exam from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health.

  • Fellows may attend the Humanitarian Studies Course offered by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in Boston if time is available or in place of H.E.L.P. This two-week course prepares aid workers of all types for international disaster and humanitarian crisis response. The course includes a three-day field simulation of a complex humanitarian emergency. More information is available on the course website: http://www.humanitarianstudiescourse.org.

  • Fellows attend an additional course in tropical medicine. Potential course include Asian Clinical Tropical Medicine or Clinical Ultrasound in Tropical Infectious Disease. Another option is Advanced Medical Leadership Training, which is a one-week course that prepares physicians to lead medical mission trips. It provides practical training on obtaining medical supplies, how to run a clinic in the third world, and dealing with disease in the context of limited resources.

International Field Work

Six to eight weeks are spent working abroad. Overseas projects last from two weeks to a month depending on the nature of the project.

Fieldwork is arranged and coordinated by the fellows under the supervision of the Fellowship Director. Previous locations for work have included East Africa, West Africa, SouthEast Asia, and South America. Fieldwork encompasses the following core areas:

  • Humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and refugee health
  • Health and human rights policy development
  • International public health
  • Emergency medicine education and residency program development
  • International medical provider training

Field experiences are designed to increase the fellow’s knowledge base and provide an opportunity to practice acquired skills. Fellows are expected to take an active leadership role during field placements.

UAB School of Public Health

The UAB School of Public Health offers the UAB Graduate Certificate in Global Health Studies. This is a 15-hour certificate that provides graduates with training in global health and research design. The UAB Graduate GHS certificate program is designed to equip participants with the basic skills necessary to function effectively in global health practice. It covers several critical issues in global health, including epidemiology and disease control, health systems management, disabilities, evidence-based policy and practice, project design, monitoring and evaluation, environment and health. Fellow also would have the option to pursue an online full MPH if they desired and based on the flexibility in their clinical and international requirements. Options include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which offers distance-learning training in Global Health.

Research

Fellows are required to complete at least one international emergency medicine research project of publishable quality during the fellowship. Fellows may participate in ongoing UAB faculty projects or develop their own projects with the Fellowship Director. Potential topics include:

  • Epidemiology
  • Humanitarian assistance
  • Educational initiatives
  • Disaster response
  • Public health

Clinical Medicine

University Hospital at the University of Alabama - Birmingham is a leader in tertiary care and is a Level I Trauma and Burn Center. As attending physicians/clinical instructors, fellows supervise residents in the UAB emergency department. The Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency is a PGY 1-3.

Fellows receive clinical and academic appointments at University Hospital and UAB School of Medicine. Fellows are expected to participate in academic activities and are encouraged to attend Emergency Department faculty meetings as their schedules allow. Fellows will work eight to nine eight hour shifts a month averaged over the year.

Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response

As needed and in response to national and international disasters the fellow may have the opportunity to take part in disaster response. Through collaborations with a number of international aid organizations — options include the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, CARE, Red Cross/Red Crescent, Samaritan’s Purse, Missions to the World — the fellowship provides substantive field experiences and excellent learning opportunities for fellows.

Evaluations

Fellows meet with the Fellowship Director regularly and receive a formal written evaluation every six months. The Chairman of Emergency Medicine reviews fellows’ clinical performance. International fieldwork is evaluated by field personnel and fellowship faculty.