December 19, 2018

UAB International Medical Education partners with Chung Shan Medical University for medical student exchange program

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Picture2“As the world becomes more interconnected, it is important for our UAB SOM students to have experiences abroad that will not only help them achieve cultural sensitivity, but also understand health disparities and gain skills in the field of global medicine,” says Dr. Majd Zayzafoon, Assistant Dean of UAB International Medical Education (IME). In order to assist our future leaders in medicine and research, UAB IME establishes international partnerships and creates scholarship-funded opportunities for UAB medical students to advance their global service learning.

One example is a partnership between UAB and Chung Shang Medical University (CSMU) in Taiwan. UAB IME designed an engaging training elective in partnership with CSMU that includes all arrangements for flights, daily transportation, on-site support, housing and meals. Students are mentored and trained on site by Dr. Yu-Ping Hsiao, Chief of the Department of Dermatology at CSMU. Additionally, the elective includes excursions to Taipei, Sun Moon Lake, the historic Nantun Village and Wanhe Temple, completed in 1726.

Last year, two UAB MS1s, Mallory Smith and Karyn Ding, were selected from many qualified applicants and were awarded travel scholarships from UAB IME to participate in a fully structured international training program at CSMU in Taichung, Taiwan from June 4 to July 1, 2018. Mallory Smith trained in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Medical Imaging. Karyn Ding trained in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Nuclear Medicine.

“This experience has reinforced the importance I see in having cross-cultural experiences within medicine,” said Smith. “I realize I will have to continue to be intentional about putting myself in situations where I am challenged culturally, so I can learn and grow to be a more culturally-competent physician.”

Ding also deeply valued her experience. “At the CSMU hospital, I observed incredible efficiency in clinics, compassion in the medical field and incredible diversity of religion,” she said. “These experiences will undeniably shape me into the physician I hope to become and will guide my future perspectives.”

In exchange, CSMU sent four of their top-tier medical students to UAB to train from October 22 to November 18, 2018. They were accepted in the UAB International Visiting Medical Student program and trained by SOM faculty in the departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Surgery. As Dr. Yu-Ping Hsiao stated, “We received a lot of positive feedback from our medical students who visited UAB. Last year, we were happy to host two brilliant students, Karyn Ding and Mallory Smith. Our students and staff anticipate the continued success of the UAB International Medical Education and CSMU partnership.” This coming June 2019, UAB IME will once again fund two study abroad scholarships to send two MS1s to Taiwan.