Checklist for Setting Up International Electives


Step 1: Attend the ‘Planning for a Global Health Elective’ presentation given to the first and second year undergraduate medical classes – session dates TBA.

Step 2: Choose a destination for the elective via the CFMS exchange program, Division of Community Engagement Field Station Program, or an external organization. Email Cheryl Knowles (GHFoMD@ualberta.ca) when you have chosen your program. All electives must be approved by Dr. Konkin. Deadline for CFMS exchanges is October (click here for more information) and for field stations is TBA (likely early in the new year).

Step 3: Sign up for the Pre-departure training (dates TBA, but likely January) and the 12-hour Community Engagement Global Health Education / International Health Elective here (dates TBA)

Step 4: Complete the elective form for Years 1 or 2 summer electives.

Step 5: Once students receive confirmation of acceptance from the institution or preceptor, they should schedule an appointment with Cheryl Knowles (GHFoMD@ualberta.ca). Please bring the completed form listed above to the appointment for discussion and signature. The forms are returned to UME (Undergraduate Medical Education) as a confirmation of approval. Contact Cheryl Knowles if you require a letter of support and good standing.

Step 6: Sign up for Med 518A (Spring) & 518B (Summer) on Bear Tracks.

Step 7: Apply for worker's compensation - email Dr. Joan Robinson (jr3@ualberta.ca) with the following information:

  • Medical student name:
  • Class year:
  • Course number:
  • Elective contact name:
  • Elective Centre:
  • Elective University:
  • Elective start date:
  • Elective end date:

Step 8: Enter travel abroad registration information here.

Step 9: Complete and submit the Release of Liability Form.

Step 10: Students will create a set of goals and objectives for when they meet their global health preceptor. Preceptors evaluate students based on these goals.

  • It is recommended that the document is developed in a word format, so that students can revise it after a discussion with their preceptor.
  • It should be formatted so preceptors can evaluate students directly on the document. Preceptors will submit the final document with their signature to the UME office.

Step 11: Here are important steps for response to emergencies and to ensure safe travelling.

  • All students must register online with UGo before leaving.
  • Also, before leaving all immunizations must be up to date, and you must register with the local/appropriate Canada Embassy or High Commission in the country you are going to. This can be done online (through the DFAIT website), and it's also a good idea to visit the local Canadian Embassy/High Commission to register and check it out, even ask to see the 'development' officer.
  • If a student has an emergency, he/she must call the University of Alberta Protective Services at their 24/7 hotline number: 780-492-5050

Step 12: Upon completion of the elective, students are required to submit a preceptor evaluation form to the UME office. They must also complete either the ‘Pre-clinical Elective Assessment’ form here or the ‘Global Health Elective Evaluation’ form (the latter if the elective is not in the electives database). Credit for the elective will not be granted until all these requirements are met.

Step 13: Attend post-return debrief session in August or September following your international elective.

Step 14: Present a poster at the Global Health Fair in November following the summer of the international experience. See an example for guidance on how to design your poster here.

Step 15: TB Testing:

If you see patients for 4 weeks or more in a TB endemic country (defined as an incidence of 50 or more cases per 100,000 population), you should be assessed to confirm that you have not been infected with TB.

Assessment for TB consists of the following:

  1. If your TB skin test prior to medical school was negative, you should have it repeated a minimum of 8 weeks after returning home. You will not have to pay if you book this through a Public Health Travel Clinic where you went for pre-travel advice. If you did not go to a Public Health Clinic, you may have to pay to have it done. If your skin test is now positive, you should request to be referred to the TB Clinic for further assessment. Even if your skin test result is negative, you should see a physician if you develop an illness compatible with TB at any point in the future and ensure that you tell them that you have potentially been exposed to TB in the past.
  2. If your TB skin test was positive prior to medical school, you should see a physician immediately if you develop an illness compatible with TB at any point in the future and ensure that you tell them that you have been exposed to TB in the past.

Which illness are compatible with TB?

Almost any chronic illness can be due to TB, as this bacteria has the ability to infect almost every organ and tissue in the body. However, common presentations would be a productive cough that persists for more than 2 weeks, weight loss, fever for more than 5 days, OR persistent lymphadenopathy (often one or two nodes > 2 cm in diameter in the cervical region).