Title

Exploration of Global Health Careers Across the Medical Fields

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

5-1-2017

Journal

Annals of Global Health

Volume

83

Issue

3-4

DOI

10.1016/j.aogh.2017.10.008

Keywords

career advising; curriculum development; education; global health; grounded theory

Abstract

© 2017 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Background Despite expansion of interest among American medical students in global health (GH), academic medical centers face multiple obstacles to the development of structured GH curricula and career guidance. To meet these demands we sought to provide a systematic analysis of the accounts of GH experts. Methods We developed a collaborative, interview-based, qualitative analysis of GH experiences across six career-related themes that are relevant to medical students interested in GH: justification, medical education, economics, research prospects, law and ethics, and work-life balance. Seven GH faculty members were interviewed for 30-90 minutes using sample questions as guidelines. We applied a grounded theory approach to analyze the interview transcripts to discover an emerging theory pertinent to GH trainees. Findings Regarding justification, 4 respondents defined GH as work with the underserved irrespective of geographic location; 5 respondents found sustainability imperative; and all respondents believe GH creates better physicians. Respondents identified many physician competencies developed through GH medical education, with 5 respondents agreeing that work with underserved populations has transformative potential. Concerning economics, 3 respondents acknowledged GH's popularity among trainees, resulting in increased training opportunities, and 2 respondents emphasized an associated deficiency in program quality. All respondents described career models across specialties. Four respondents noted funding challenges when discussing research prospects. Within the theme of laws and ethics, 4 respondents perceived inadequate accountability, and 6 respondents identified ways to create accountability. Finally, 6 respondents recognized family demands can compromise one's GH career and thus work-life balance. Conclusion Despite diverse perspectives on the meaning and sustainability of GH work, this analysis provides a nascent framework that may inform curricular development for GH trainees. Suggestions are offered for elaborating this framework to fully exploit the transformative potential of GH training in medical education.

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