Global health education is important during residency training in exposing doctors to conditions that are not common in the United States and developing their awareness of global health care disparities. Most medical decisions are based on results from anatomic or clinical pathology laboratories, which are essential services for appropriate medical care in international settings. Nevertheless, US pathology residency trainees have limited global health exposure and thus are rarely exposed to diagnostic services in these settings. Moreover, literature documenting what is needed to create a global health elective in pathology is limited.
We designed an international pathology elective in Trinidad and Tobago involving one main public hospital site and several off-site laboratories. Objectives and goals were established before the rotation. Apart from daily mentor-led education sessions, the trainee participated in teaching, quality improvement projects, and cultural experiences. Engagement with medical officers, personnel staff, and people in the community was encouraged.Results: Challenges encountered included funding, transportation, limited laboratory resources, medical registration, and malpractice insurance. These were mitigated through carefully planned steps, including communicating with registration bodies and liaising with pathology organizations for funding.
Overall, the global health rotation was successful. We provide a detailed roadmap for other pathology training programs interested in establishing similar global health electives.
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