The Medical Student Enrichment Program (MSEP), which began in 1995, provides School of Medicine students with service and training opportunities in developing countries and underserved areas throughout the world. Medical students are eligible to participate in MSEP the summer after the successful completion of the first year of medical school. Students must be in good academic standing (not on academic probation). MSEP is not for academic credit and is not combined with special topics courses or scholarly activity.

The program is designed to encourage and develop humanitarian attitudes and cross-cultural understanding among our physicians-in-training. It fosters interest in assisting underserved populations, and stimulates and supports a "whole world" understanding of medicine. Students are encouraged to use resourcefulness, problem solving, observation and communication skills.

Types of Placements Include:

  • Community Health Projects or Clinics in Urban or Rural Settings
  • Medical Student Exchange Programs with Selected Foreign Universities
  • Health Care Delivery in Clinic or Hospital Settings in Developing Countries 

Application Process and Forms - MSEP participants are selected through a competitive process.

Profile of Past MSEP Participants
Students have ranged in age from 22 to 35 (most typically 23 - 24), with an equal number of men and women participating. While several of them had have visited developing countries or traveled outside the U.S., a number of them had never done so.

Foreign language competency has ranged from very considerable to none at all. In fact, students with high language competency have viewed the placement experience as an opportunity to further develop language skills they hope to put to use with non-English-speaking populations in the U.S.

View past presentations listed by country in the upper right sidebar.

View locations attended in years past.

Rotations at Clinica Alabama-Granada

Financial Aid
Several forms of financial assistance, including partial travel awards, are available. Support depends upon the amount of funding available each year and the number of participants in the program (in the past financial assistance has been awarded from donations made by the Medical Alumni Association and the Caduceus Club).

Additional financial support may be obtained through the UAB Financial Aid Office, civic organizations, religious organizations, private donations. 

Non-Credit Award: If selected for participation, students in the Basic Science years must participate in orientation sessions, complete a project about their experiences and evaluation. Participation will be noted on student's academic transcript, though no academic credit toward the graduation elective requirement will be awarded.

Guidelines for Writing MSEP Reports

International Travel and Health Resources

Denise Coston maintains a library of foreign language phrasebooks, cultural information, guides to living and practicing medicine abroad, and other information in her office in Medical Student Services (Volker Hall 102-A). Stop in during regular office hours and browse at your leisure.


Denise Coston
VH 102A
(205) 934-0556
Approval: MSEP Advisory Committee & Laura Kezar, M.D.