Examining the Demand for Pre-clerkship Global Health Education in Canadian Medical Schools: The Case of the University of Toronto

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Amitha Kalaichandran
Calvin Ke


medical education, global health


In the present “globalized society” there is an urgent need to prepare future physicians for dealing with pressing global health issues. This need has already been broadly identified in the national Canadian context. Improved global health education in the undergraduate medical curriculum is warranted and necessary. To this end, an elective course in global health for preclerkship students may serve as a first step towards building a national standard in global health education.
In establishing the demands and expectations for such a course, the authors conducted a survey at the University of Toronto.
The survey revealed broad support and interest in a global health elective course. While some students exhibited a high level of awareness of global health issues, most did not receive any formal education in the field. Alarmingly, some of these students without formalized training even indicated that they had previously worked abroad with an organization.
Clearly, the need for improved global health education at all levels is present, and developing an elective course may be the most practical and feasible method of doing so at the undergraduate level.