To describe the organizational features of an international child health elective (ICHE) and to document the diversity of diagnoses observed by residents.
Faculty from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, created a steering committee in 1999 to develop and direct an ICHE, including selecting residents, selecting and organizing sites, and creating objectives and a year-long preparatory curriculum. The elective was piloted in 2000 and repeated in 2002 and 2004.
Setting and Participants
Residents chose from 4 ICHE sites in Peru and Guatemala, where they observed clinical care in various clinical settings during a 4-week elective.
Main Outcome Measures
The ICHE was evaluated via written evaluations by faculty and residents as well as written and oral reports by participating residents.
During the 2000 and 2004 electives, residents recorded clinical cases in a data-entry log. Of the patients logged, 18% had illnesses never seen before by the residents and 5.6% had illnesses in advanced stages not previously seen by the residents. Strong reciprocal relationships were created between the department and participating international institutions. Residents reported uniformly that the elective was a valuable element of their training.
Planning and faculty involvement in ICHEs helps to ensure achievement of elective objectives. Well-organized ICHEs have the potential to augment resident education. The experience at our institution demonstrates that ICHEs can provide experience with a variety of medical systems, exposure to diverse pathophysiologic conditions, and opportunities for collaboration with international colleagues.