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Global Health Scholars

The Penn State College of Medicine Global Health Center provides opportunities in global health. The Global Health Scholars Program (GHSP) is an innovative approach that allows students and faculty to participate in global health. The GHSP is designed for those students who are highly interested in global health.

The GHSP allows medical students to work together, both in the classroom as well as in the field. Supervised by faculty, the Global Health Scholars take part in two immersive trips. The first trip primarily entails an introduction to the community, and participation in developing a community health project. The second trip, occurring in the students’ senior year, provides students with an opportunity to participate in clinical care at the same location. Students receive pre-trip safety sessions, in-country medical education specific to the site, and several sessions by College of Medicine faculty on global and community health-related issues.

Through this longitudinal relationship with the host community, it is our hope and expectation that students and faculty will be greatly enriched and the health and welfare of the people will be measurably improved.

Through completion of this four-year track students will receive the following:

  • Credit for completion of GHSP specific electives (GH717, GH727, GH747)
  • Mentoring relationships with highly interested faculty
  • Under the direction of faculty, students will gain skills for community engagement, basic health data collection and analysis, and community health intervention development with implementation.  Students will be integral decision-makers in the program with the goal of measurably improving the health of the residents of the host community.

Important note: Scholars are responsible for their own funding to cover the costs of the trip. Travel costs can be approximately $2,500 to $3,000, if not more, for the month-long experience in the first year.

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Sites for Summer 2023

  • Australia, Melbourne and Mildura, Dr. Eileen Hennrikus, site lead, will accept up to 4 students
  • Balkans, Croatia, Dr. Nasr Ghahramani and Dr. Gisoo Ghaffari, site leads, will accept up to 4 scholars
  • Brazil, Sao Paulo, Dr. Robert Lennon, site lead, will accept up to 4 students
  • Ecuador, Quito, Dr. Paula Henao, site lead, will accept up to 2 students
  • Ghana, Accra and Koforidua, Dr. Ben Fredrick, site lead, will accept up to 8 students
  • Nepal, Kathmandu and Bharatpur, Dr. Sanjay Yadav, site lead, will accept up to 4 students
  • Vietnam, Dalat, Dr. Tim Craig, site lead, will accept up to 6 students
  • Zambia, Macha, Dr. Andrew Freiberg, site lead, will accept up to 6 students
How to Apply Expand answer

The GHSP is open to first year medical students attending Penn State’s College of Medicine. Interested students are selected through an application process consisting of a written application and individual interviews with faculty site leads for selected sites and Global Health Center administrators.

Prior to applying we strongly recommend that interested students attend the Global Health Information Sessions and review information about each unique site the program offers. Students are encouraged to contact Tamika Washington, Global Health Center assistant director (

The application period for the 2023-2024 academic year program will open in August 2023.

Program Leadership and Site Leaders Expand answer

Program Leadership

Global Health Scholars Site Leaders

Photos from the Global Health Scholars Program

Global Health Scholars Program

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