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PCMED 743: Pennsylvania Community-Based Sites

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There are many community-based primary care physicians in Pennsylvania who enthusiastically offer educational experiences to our medical students. Many of the sites are in rural, small-town, and/or medically-underserved areas in the state. These communities possess a special, unique spirit and culture. Each has its own history, beauty, natural resources, recreation, and economic base.

The Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center (PA AHEC) regional offices and Center for Primary Care are your points-of-contact if you are interested in a rotation in Pennsylvania. There are many pre-approved sites that offer free housing. Some sites offer meals at a discount and other incentives for students to spend a month in their community.

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Sherri Platt, RN
Southcentral PA AHEC

Mark Stockard, B.S.
Northwest PA AHEC
814-453-6551, ext. 225

Darlene Getz
Center for Primary Care Southeast, Eastcentral, and Southwest Regions

PCMED 745: Indian Health Services Sites

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The following list represents primary care electives that are expected to be a bit more challenging to arrange, yet potentially more rewarding, than others in community- based sites. For many medical students, doing an elective far away from the relative “safety” of a medical center or a well-known practice site carries with it the risk of the unknown. However, it is only in taking some risk that true rewards are often realized, and so medical students are encouraged to pursue a possible elective at a site other than in the traditional places!

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PCMED 746: International Sites

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International rotations provide a unique learning experience in the practice of medicine. The learning environments vary from metropolitan urban areas to extreme rural and isolated communities. For many students, participating in an international elective far away from the comfort of known language and culture find it both challenging and rewarding. A critical factor in arranging an international rotation is site selection, of which there are two options.

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The sites below are approved by the Center for Primary Care and Global Health.

    Rotations in Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, So Africa. Some language requirements for Bolivia, Ecuador.
    Rotations in South Africa, Mexico. No language requirements.
    Rotations in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, and US Virgin Islands. Proficient Spanish required for Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala.
    English is the accepted language in Belize.
    Uganda. No language requirements
    Ecuador. Checking on language requirements.
    Costa Rica and Honduras. Moderate level of Spanish required. There are also medical Spanish classes.
    Ecuador. Advanced beginner/intermediate language requirement. Spanish classes and clinical time.
    Locations depend on where help is needed at the time. They are presently working in Honduras, Peru, and Romania. They generally go to the area needing help for 2 weeks at a time, so it would be necessary to work out 2 of these trips. No language requirements.
    Locations vary according to the need. The updated schedule (for locations) can be found on the web site showing sites in South America, Central America, Mexico, and Uganda. Some language requirements, depending on location.

The sites listed are only suggestions – the committee is open to other sites if a student can identify an experience that fulfills the criteria of the Primary Care Elective. Due to the nature of communications in many sites located in the developing world, the information listed below may not be current. It also is recommended that if a student wants to take an elective at an international site, they should begin the process early since they may find that space is not available at their first choice. Due to the nature of many of the international sites, students are sometimes expected to spend more than four weeks at the elective site.

The second option provides the student an opportunity to identify their own site. In doing so, several requirements are mandated for this elective. These include that the site be:

  • On the approved listing of the State Department
  • Setting must be inclusive of a primary care delivery system.
  • Must meet the educational standards detailed by the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine
  • All clinical and housing sites adhere to safety standards
  • Student must be in compliance with the ability to communicate either with patients by translators or student fluency in the native language.
  • Insure that greater than 50% of the time is spent in clinical care activities
  • Approved by the Global Health Center

Recommendations from the Association of American Medical Colleges address insurance coverage for students participating in international experiences. Schools should require medical students to obtain evacuation insurance (for medical illness and injury and for reasons of civil unrest) when they are engaged in school-sanctioned activities outside the U.S. Consideration should also be given to coverage that would ensure the return of remains in the case of death. This document requires students to obtain evacuation insurance for protection in case of illness, injury, or civil unrest. The basic PSU/College of Medicine insurance plan with MEGA provides this coverage. Students with other insurance plans may not have appropriate coverage and should investigate if they are planning international experiences. This information is on the student health website.

PCMED 748: Penn State Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

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This module was developed for those students interested in gaining experience working in the areas of primary care sports medicine.

This four-week elective is designed to expose the student to the comprehensive care provided to the student athlete population at Penn State University, State College.

The physicians at this site are the first responders to the entire student athlete patient population’s medical and psychological needs and then help coordinate referral care when needed. In this rotation, continuity of care is provided throughout the college lifetime. In this population, economics of health care is important. The wide range of illness and disease can be seen in this population. Cancer, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, alcohol and tobacco use are some of the many ailments treated with special attention to how they impact exercise and activity. In addition, the students will see how primary care physicians can further train to have proficient knowledge in musculoskeletal disorders and see how they are applied to a general community of referred patients.

Student Requirements Expand answer
  • Spend a minimum of 40 hours a week with preceptor, with some evening event coverage.
  • Read Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.
Additional Information Expand answer

Limited to one student per given four-week rotation block. This rotation is at the Park Avenue site in State College PA. Student is responsible for housing. To register, contact Darlene Getz, 717-531-3774 in Office C1613 (Family and Community Medicine Dept.).

Philip J. Bosha, MD

Administrative Contact
Kerri S. Comly
Penn State Sports Medicine

Note: Notify Kerri Comly of your rotation dates to confirm Dr. Bosha’s availability