Center for Community & Global Health

Dept. Contact Lucia Garcia
Location SSOM 320
Phone 708-216-6318
Department: Center for Community & Global Health
Course Number: CCGH-402
Course Title: International Health: Guatemala
No. of Students:  
Site: Foreign
Supervisor: Amy Blair, MD  
Duration: 4.0 weeks 
Periods Offered:  
Prerequisite: Fourth year standing.
Special Note: Graded pass/fail only.

The purpose of this elective is to prepare students for a clinical role in lesser developed countries by understanding the impact of poverty and to see the effects of the health care system and cultural practices on the health of the people.

The majority of the time will be spent in primary care clinics in the town of San Benito or day long visits to remote villages to provide care and experience the life of those in great poverty. There will be each week focused activities that may include time with surgeons and anesthesiologists in the operating room, time with a pediatrician, visits to a nursing home, time with ophthalmology at an eye clinic, laboratory time to review parasitic specimens, an overnight stay in a remote village, and a visit to Santa Lucia Nutrition Hospital for children. Most afternoons involve Spanish immersion classes. Essentially all the patient interviews will be in Spanish or indigenous language translated to Spanish. Housing is in San Benito in the home of a Loyola Stritch School of Medicine graduate.

For more information, please refer to

During the course of the elective, students should keep in mind the following questions and activities as a way to organize their experience:

1. Describe the daily challenges faced by the poor in a lesser-developed country in order to survive and how these impact health. How does this compare to similar daily challenges in the USA?
2. Create a computerized log on the Mission House computers of all patients seen during your rotation in the Petén. Write a one page summary on any three diseases that you saw here for the first time or saw at a more advanced stage than you had previously.
3. Participate in group discussions about the Guatemalan health care system showing that you understand the governmental system and other options for patients to access care and what obstacles or benefits you see in this system.
4. Review the list of essential medications as published by the World Health Organization and compare it to your patient log. Does the list adequately cover the diseases that you have seen here?

Ongoing bilateral feedback is an expectation throughout the course of the elective. Students are strongly encouraged to participate fully in the scheduled orientation and debriefing sessions.

Method of evaluation:

Satisfactory completion of the elective will depend on meeting the following conditions:

1. The assessment of the instructor on site with regard to the performance of the student in meeting the above competency related goals and objectives. The instructors in the Petén will complete an evaluation form prepared by LUSSOM.

2. Creation in the onsite computer of a case log detailing the type of patients seen, numbers of patients, diagnosis, treatment and outcome (if known).

3. Presentation of a Creative Project to the rest of the group as a means to reflect on your experience.

4. Complete Post-Rotation Requirements for International Electives.