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Global Health & Health Equity Pathway (GHHEP): Health Equity Scholars (Domestic)

The Global Health Center at Penn State College of Medicine provides opportunities in local underserved health. Health Equity Scholars (HES) is an innovative approach that allows students and faculty to participate in the care of local marginalized populations. HES is designed for those students who are highly interested in primary care for marginalized populations.

The HES allows medical students to work together, both in the classroom as well as in the field. Supervised by faculty, the Health Equity Scholars participate in two immersive learning experiences. The first experience focuses on an introduction to health equity for a marginalized community and participation in developing a community health project. The second immersive experience, occurring in the students’ senior year, provides students with an opportunity to participate in clinical care at the same location. Students receive ongoing mentorship, medical education specific to the site, collaboration with Penn State Dickinson Law on advocacy topics and law, and several sessions by College of Medicine faculty on global and community health-related issues.

Through this longitudinal relationship with a local marginalized population, it is our hope and expectation that students and faculty will be greatly enriched and the health and welfare of the people served will be measurably improved.

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

  • Credit for completion of GHHEP-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 a marginalized community in Pennsylvania.

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Sites for Summer 2023

  • Harrisburg Scholars, Dr. Leesha Helm, Dr. Joyce Green and Dr. Bernadatte Gilbert, site leads, will accept 2-3 students
  • Rural Scholars, Dr. Michael McShane, site lead, will accept 4 students
How to Apply Expand answer

The HES is open to first-year medical students attending Penn State 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 tracks and Global Health Center administrators.

Prior to applying we strongly recommend that interested students attend the Global Health Center 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 deadline for consideration is Sept. 25, 2023. Accepted applicants will be notified by Oct. 27, 2023.

Apply now for the 2023-24 academic year

Program Leadership and Site Leaders Expand answer

Program Leadership

Healty Equity Scholars Site Leaders

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