Residency Global Health Track
The Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical College is dedicated to developing the careers of anesthesiologists committed to academic global health work. The goal of the residency Global Health Track is to provide a select group of residents an advanced foundation and knowledge in global health and global anesthesia. The mechanism for this is to provide dedicated time during residency for specialty education, research, and an academic project in global health.
The Global Health Track involves six weeks of extracurricular mentored training and education in global health during the CA-2 year. During the CA-3 year, the selected resident will travel to India either in the spring or fall Global Health Elective as one of four resident participants; they will also receive up to three months of research time for U.S. based global health work during this year.
Expectations of the Global Health Track resident include:
- Satisfactory completion of the 6-week extracurricular training course;
- The submission of a research proposal early in the CA-2 year;
- Travel to India with completion of an academic project that can be related to or unrelated to their overall research project
- Completion of a research project at the end of their CA-3 academic time with at least one poster or presentation at a national meeting in anesthesiology or global health, and ideally leading to submission of a manuscript.
Application Procedure and Eligible Candidates
Resident physicians interested in the residency Global Health Track position should submit an application by May 1st of their CA-1 academic year. A completed application should be submitted to Lisa Cabrera at firstname.lastname@example.org, and includes:
- a Personal Statement of no more than one single-spaced page descibing program interest
- a curriculum vitae
Selection will be based on these items as well as on demonstrated interest in pursuing global health research. Only residents in good standing in the Residency Program based on Clinical Competence Committee evaluation, ITE and AKT scores, and faculty evaluations will be eligible and considered for the position.
Entry into the Global Health Track position begins July 1 of the CA-2 academic year. Prospective applicants who wish to discuss their research interests for the residency Global Health Track position should contact Dr. Gunisha Kaur at email@example.com.
Support for national meeting attendance will be available to those who are presenting their original research as a first author at the ASA or AUA.
Residency Elective Abroad
Our flagship residency program takes place in Punjab, India, and engages Cornell Anesthesia residents, fellows and faculty in international health issues, both as physicians and as globally conscious individuals. Our Global Health Elective in India is a Graduate Medical Education (GME) approved rotation. Additionally, the American Board of Anesthesiology grants credit while on the rotation toward the 36-month continuum of training in anesthesiology. Therefore, participating resident physicians do not need to use vacation time to participate in this elective. Further, the elective is funded in its entirety by the Department of Anesthesiology.
The clinical rotation in Punjab takes place at both the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, an academic institution, as well as Amandeep Hospital, a trauma center. During the mornings, faculty and residents actively participate in the medical care of patients. This includes but is not limited to intubations, placement of central lines, and participation in neuraxial and peripheral nerve blocks. Participants have an opportunity to spend time in the PACU and ICUs, and to participate in daily bi-directional teaching with our colleagues in India. Interesting anesthetic management of patients includes maintenance with halothane, anesthesia without opiates, laparoscopy under neuraxial techniques, peripheral nerve blocks without ultrasound, and difficult airways including patients with cleft palates and severe burn contractures.
Global Health Overview
The global health training portion of the elective is robust. Major programmatic focus areas include agriculture, the environment, human rights, gender studies, and development economics. Each of these areas is inextricably intertwined with health issues and only by understanding the economic, environmental, social and political milieu in which one is working will participation be responsible.
Educational sessions include visits to the largest government-run drug rehabilitation center in the state, a meeting with current employees of a human rights organization, and a day with a sociologist who founded a school for children of drug addicts. Participants spend a weekend in a rural Punjabi village with a social justice activist who leads a non-profit organization that educates children impacted by farmer suicide. This multifaceted approach to global health education allows physicians to achieve a holistic understanding of problems in developing nations.
The course syllabus includes topics such as human rights, land and water access, and health impact of environmental damage. Residents and faculty mentors engage with the syllabus in reading groups over the four to six weeks prior to the abroad elective. A sample week of the curriculum follows:
Week One: Medical Anthropology and a Biosocial Approach
- Paul Farmer, Jim Kim, Arthur Kleinman, Matthew Basilico. Reimagining Global Health. University of California Press, 2013. Preface and Introduction.
- Feierman S, Kleinman A, Steward K, Farmer P, Sas V. "Anthropology, Knowledge Flows, and Global Health." Global Public Health. 5(2): 122-128, 2010.
- Helene Cooper. "Ebola's Cultural Casualty: Hugs in Hands-on Liberia." The New York Times. October 4, 2014.
Resident Requirements and Elective Expectations
- Formal application process during the CA3 elective selection process
- No academic, clinical competence, or professionalism issues
- Syllabus engagement to build pre-elective context and foundational understanding of major issues
- Maintenance of daily elective travel blog and anesthetic case log
- Development of an academic project with faculty mentor
- Post-elective faculty and program evaluation
- Post-elective presentation at an academic anesthesiology or global health meeting
- Two extra weeks are given for the elective (vacation time is not used)
- Departmental support includes a $3200 stipend per resident
During the Global Health Elective and a result of participating in this elective, residents are expected to:
- Capably practice anesthesiology in varied environments (developing world health care system, rural medicine, rehabilitation centers).
- Effectively practice anesthesiology in a setting of limited resources.
- Be able to manage patients with a different constellation of diseases.
- Gain a broader understanding of medical illnesses by encountering patients with unique diseases.
- Provide care with alternate pharmacotherapy, anesthetic techniques, and pain management plans.
- Appreciate the economic, social, political, and environmental factors that influence health and access to healthcare.
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement
- Practice anesthesiology in a vastly different environment which provides unparalleled opportunity for personal reflection, growth, and development.
- Through an improved understanding of how other health care systems work, be introspective as to how medicine is practiced at home.
- Utilize the knowledge, skills, and adaptability gained as a result of participation in this elective to improve their practice of anesthesiology.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
- Develop cultural sensitivity through the cultural immersion that is the essence of this elective.
- Establish important professional relationships with health care providers, human rights workers, and social activists.
- Be organized and timely with deadlines so as to have a contextual foundation by engaging with the elective syllabus by the beginning of the elective.
- Understand their role as guests in a foreign hospital and country.
- Use their experiences during the elective to improve conditions on the ground or at home via research, implementation programming, and solution building.
Resident Experiences Abroad
In March 2014, several of our residents made the first international trip as part of our Global Health Elective. To find out more about the experiences of Dr. Jonathan Groden, Dr. Pamela Wendel, and Dr. Gunisha Kaur, please see the following entries in the blog of our Associate Residency Director, Dr. Eric Brumberger: