Global Health Initiative


Courses and Programs

Education of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical students, residents, and fellows constitutes an integral part of both the research and clinical care components that embody global health efforts at Brown.

PHP 1070 Burden of Disease in Developing Countries

Many undergraduate and graduate students are introduced to courses in global health via PHP 1070, Burden of Disease in Developing Countries

The International Health Institute site also features a list of classes at Brown for students interested in taking courses with global health content. We have also compiled a list of courses with global health content across all academic departments at Brown University.

Scholarly Concentration in Global Health

Brown University medical students can focus on global health through the Scholarly Concentration in Global Health.

MPH Global Health Track at the School of Public Health (SPH)

The School of Public Health offers a Global Heath MPH Concentration for students who are interested in issues related to global health. Global health research and training focus primarily on health inequalities within communities and populations throughout the world. Global health thus focuses on domestic and international health inequalities, and is not about crossing borders but bridging health inequalities with scientific evidence of etiology and prevention.

Alpert Medical School

Alpert Medical School supports a number of formal and informal exchange programs for students with an interest in global health study. 

Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

The Research Training Program in Child/Adolescent Biobehavioral HIV prepares post-residency psychiatrists, post-doctoral psychologists, and behavioral scientists to conduct independent research in the area of child/adolescent biobehavioral HIV as full-time University faculty members. The Program is a two-year fellowship in which five research fellows train under the guidance of experienced mentors. It includes didactic work, participation in ongoing funded projects, and independent research.

Department of Emergency Medicine

The Global Emergency Medicine Fellowship is sponsored by Brown Emergency Medicine and affiliated with the Brown University Alpert Medical School as well as Brown School of Public Health. The two-year academic fellowship boasts a wealth of research mentoring opportunities, robust interdepartmental collaboration, and a rich clinical and teaching experience, both domestically and abroad. 

Department of Family Medicine

The Brown Global Health Faculty Development Fellowship was started in 2010 to provide FM physicians with the additional global health, health equity, and faculty development skills necessary to assist with the development of pre-doctoral, residency, clinical, and research education in underserved settings locally and globally.  As an academic family medicine department with a long history of involvement in global health, the Department of Family Medicine at Brown is particularly well situated to provide faculty development in this area.

Department of Medicine

The Department of Medicine Training Program in the Division of Infectious Diseases brings together the multiple strengths of clinical research from an institution that has a robust track record of training junior faculty members to become independent clinical investigators in the area of HIV and substance abuse.

Undergraduate Concentration in Public Health and Undergraduate Statistics Concentration

The School of Public Health sponsors the Undergraduate Concentration in Public Health for students with career interests in public health, disease prevention and health promotion, health policy and epidemiology, clinical health care delivery, health care administration, international health, and health law.

It also sponsors the Undergraduate Statistics Concentration for students interested in pursuing statistics careers in industry and government, for graduate study in statistics or biostatistics and other sciences, as well as for professional study in law, medicine, business, or public administration.

BRIGHT Pathway

The Brown Residency International/Global Health Training Pathway (BRIGHT) began as an interest group in global health. Originally founded by 4 Med-Peds residents in 2009, the pathway has now expanded to include Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Med-Peds, Neurology, Pediatrics, Triple Board, and Ob/Gyn residents within the Brown University Graduate Medical Education programs. Through a collaborative, integrated approach, the program enhances resident exposure to the breadth of topics in global health, develops a community of global health scholars at Brown, and fosters mentoring relationships between residents and faculty.

The goals of the BRIGHT pathway include:

  1. Deepen understanding of global healthcare as it pertains to patients both locally and abroad with a particular emphasis on historically resource-poor nations and ethnic groups.
  2. Obtain experience in the practice of medicine in these settings.
  3. Pursue scholarly projects in preparation for long-term involvement in global health following post-graduate training.

The BRIGHT program is a specialty-training track within the Brown residency programs formed by residents and faculty members at Brown who have a passion for global health. Every year we accept applications from residents in the Med-Peds, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Triple board, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, and Neurology programs at Brown. There is a two year long online curriculum that is made available to participating residents and quarterly lectures given by global health faculty. Throughout the year, we gather for in-person lectures, film screenings, and social activities to further build the global health community here at Brown. Residents in the program are required to complete a scholarly activity and presentation prior to graduation. For those residents fulfilling these requirements, residents will be granted a Global Health Certificate at graduation.

Residents who are a part of the BRIGHT pathway are granted access to this online lecture series. BRIGHT scholars will meet periodically throughout the year to discuss these topics in a collaborative interdisciplinary fashion to foster a rich community of discussion about global health topics. Residents are encouraged to share their own previous and current experiences and how they relate to the global health topics covered.

  1. Applications are sent out towards the end of the academic year through the respective residency programs for the next academic year. Applicants in good standing are encouraged to follow the directions on the application and return it by the deadline. Should you have any questions about the application process, please contact the BRIGHT resident or faculty directors who can assist you with any logistical issues you may encounter.
  2. Completed applications must include the application form, current CV and a letter of reference from the resident’s program director indicating good academic standing.
  3. Given that residents only have 2 years to complete the pathway and scholarly project, once selected, residents are strongly encouraged to start envisioning what their project may be and identify potential project mentors prior to the application for the program. They may contact their mentors to discuss their ideas prior to completing the application.

All scholars choose a scholarly project in an area of their interest. These can be research projects, clinical program development activities, or clinical reviews. Collaborative projects between scholars are also allowed and encouraged. The goal of the scholarly project is to provide an opportunity for scholars to deepen their knowledge of a specific area of global health. These projects can provide the seeds for future work that will continue after residency. Scholars select a mentor based on their interest area. The role of the scholar’s mentor is to assist with and review their project development as well as give additional advice where possible to help guide the scholar in the development of their global health interests.

Examples of Scholarly Projects

  1. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring compared with intermittent auscultation in a low-resource setting
  2. Analysis of serologic biomarkers as predictors of mortality in Ebola Virus Disease
  3. Creating a global child health consortium in New England
  4. Study of implementing spirometry on the wards at Moi Referral Hospital, Kenya
  5. Quality improvement initiative to improve refugee care within the Medical Primary Care Unit
  6. Review of screening for latent tuberculosis infection within the HIV care program in Rhode Island
  7. Review of literature related to Burkitt’s Lymphoma with focus on sub-Saharan Africa
  8. Educational program with goal of increasing provider awareness of and skills managing teen violence
  9. Community wellness initiative and creation of a safe walking path in Shiprock, NM on the Navajo reservation
  10. Development of a case-based learning pediatrics curriculum for Haitian medical students

BRIGHT Faculty Directors

Resident Director: Courtney Bearnot, MD, MPH

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Bearnot served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. There, she focused on improving the efficiency of vaccination campaigns and on increasing knowledge and access to reproductive health services among women and high school aged teenagers. She extended her service an extra year to serve as the Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator where she developed and implemented a new M&E strategy for the organization. She earned her MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. She won a Student Research Award for her thesis – an assessment of the burden of mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, and STIs among incarcerated women in Malaysia. She graduated from Stanford Medical School where she studied atopic diseases among children and their families in Bangladesh and the association between congenital syphilis and incarceration in Santa Clara County, California. Most recently, she has been conducting research on the serologic biomarkers that are predictive of mortality in Ebola Virus Disease and outcomes of critically ill patients presenting to the Emergency Department in Kigali, Rwanda. She is interested in working clinically in humanitarian crises and infectious disease outbreaks and performing research that helps improve the delivery of health care interventions in these settings.

Program Coordinator: Dennisse Reyes

Dennisse has been living in Providence almost her entire life, but please don’t ask her for directions. She was born in Puerto Rico and came to live in tiny Providence while just a toddler. She is the typical Rhode Islander, which means anything more than a 30-minute drive is too far. She’s been working at Rhode Island Hospital for the past 26 + years and has worked in many areas in the hospital, but for the past 20 years has been the Pediatric Residency Manager. She also helps with the Med-Peds and Triple Board Residency Programs. She loves talking to and helping people which is just one of the reasons she truly enjoys her job. Dennisse has been part of BRIGHT since it was first introduced in 2009. When Dennisse is not at work, she enjoys surfing Netflix for something to watch, hanging out with her husband, 2 young adult children, and her dog-King Bling.


International Medical Exchanges

The Warren Alpert Medical School supports international exchange programs in 11 countries: Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Germany, Ghana, Haiti (on hold), Israel (on hold), Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Exchange Institution: Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Hugo Yamada

Apply here

Exchange Institution: Zhejiang University School of Medicine

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Jie Tang

In 2004, the Brown Department of Medicine entered into an educational exchange agreement with the Department of Internal Medicine at Cabral y Baez hospital in Santiago, Dominican Republic. In choosing Cabral y Baez as an educational exchange site, the Department considered the relevance of an experience in the Dominican Republic to our patient population in Providence, the relative ease of travel to Santiago, and the desire of many Brown internal medicine residents and medical students to gain international experience in a Spanish-speaking country. At Cabral, we found internal medicine colleagues eager to partner with us in a mutually-beneficial partnership and bilateral educational exchange program.

Hospitál Regional Universitario José María Cabral y Báez (HRUJMCB) is a public regional hospital in Santiago de los Caballeros serving as the main tertiary care center for the northern half of the Dominican Republic.  It is also the main teaching hospital for the three medical schools located in Santiago.

Annually, residents from Cabral y Baez also rotate through the Brown Hospitals in Rhode Island. One of the responsibilities of medical students and residents selected to participate in the exchange is to assist Cabral residents that visit Brown in April and May. 

Exchange Institution: Hospitál Regional Universitario José María Cabral y Báez

Faculty Liaison/DirectorDr. Martha Sanchez

Apply here

Goals for Medical Students and Residents

  1. Understand the clinical presentation and management of common serious illnesses in the Dominican Republic, including dengue, leptospirosis, malaria, organophosphate poisoning, tuberculosis, and HIV infection
  2. Understand the structure of the Dominican healthcare system, the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the Dominican Republic and the ways in which they differ from morbidity and mortality in the United States
  3. Understand the structure of medical education in the Dominican Republic
  4. Develop skill in the cost-effective evaluation of illness in a resource-scarce environment
  5. Develop skill in working within the medical education system at Cabral y Baez
  6. Increase understanding of Dominican culture
  7. Develop increased competence in Spanish language


All students will spend at least two weeks on the Internal Medicine Wards at Cabral y Baez. Additionally, students can customize their experience per their preferences by choosing to spend time on the following services: HIV clinic, Emergency Department, night float shift, ICU, and Subspecialty departments such as Hematology/Oncology, Neurology, and Cardiology, and resident outpatient clinics.

Traditionally, students are paired with PGY2s at Cabral who are proficient in English in order to help the Brown trainees through the week long rotations. Usually, these PGY2s are also interested in participating in the exchange at RIH in April and May.

Typical Day on the General Internal Medicine Floors at Cabral y Baez Hospital
  1. Sign-Out: Known as "la entrega de la guardia", the PGY1s that were on for night float ("en servicio") give sign out on all admitted patients to the day teams and overnight updates on any patients previously on the wards.

  2. Morning Report led by Residents/Grand Rounds given by Attendings: Sign out is followed by a lecture given by a senior resident on a particular topic or case. These lectures provide good exposure to medical Spanish in a controlled setting with PowerPoint slides. At the end of each lecture, there is a brief discussion/questions session led by the chief resident.

    Weekly Grand Rounds is given by a senior attending. Most often, the attending presents 1-2 interesting cases that are currently or were recently on the wards. The attending presents the initial H+P of the patient along with a differential, diagnosis, and management, followed by an academic conversation involving senior residents and other attending physicians.

  3. Rounds with Attending Physician or Resident Teams: Resident teams will round after lecture and formally present new patients and quickly follow up on older patients on their service.

  4. Afternoon Lecture: Conferences in the afternoon continue with focused lectures given by a resident or medical student.  

  5. Completing any remaining tasks: After AM rounds, the team splits off to write progress notes, work on the sign-out sheet, and complete the necessary tasks on each patient (labs and imaging studies). If there is an interesting case on the service, you can continue to follow the patient after rounds, by reading through their chart, chatting to the patient about their situation, or by assisting the medical students with their tasks. 

  6. Brown Rounds: On most days, Brown medical students, residents, and attendings return to the apartment by 2:30pm. Upon return, everyone gathers in the apartment living room to participate in “Brown Rounds.” “Brown Rounds” is a conference to discuss interesting cases observed during the week. Trainees follow-up on a chosen patient from the morning and present their patient as a patient would be presented on rounds at RIH. Attendings and senior residents will then facilitate the discussion of this patient. “Brown Rounds” allows for American attendings and trainees to provide their unique perspective on the case and reflect on differences and similarities in diagnosis, work-up, and treatment between RIH and at Cabral y Baez Hospital.  There are three scheduled group sessions each week:

    • PBL/Journal Club sessions: The discussion is led by the coordinator and attendings. PBLs and journal articles focus on clinical cases that are often seen at Cabral y Baez but rarely seen at RIH, such as dengue, malaria, leptospirosis, etc.

    • Topic presentation: A medical student or resident presents a short prepared health topic pertinent to the region.

    • Cultural/Emotional Debrief: Students, residents, and attendings reflect on their experiences at Cabral y Baez. This session provides an opportunity to discuss adapting to lifestyle and culture in the DR, cultural differences and similarities between care given at Cabral y Baez and RIH, and the emotional impact of the global health experience.  

Additional Medical Services that Brown trainees can rotate on:
  1. Clínica de Enfermedades de Inmunología (HIV clinic), Hospitál Cabral y Baéz: The HIV clinic in Hospitál Cabral y Baéz is run by Dra. Claudia Rodriguez, one of Brown’s main contacts here in the Dominican Republic.  Patients are seen by Pasantes, which are medical trainees doing a mandatory year of service before entering residency.

    • Trainees will have opportunity to practice physical exam as well as history taking in Spanish.
    • Observe and help with clinic visits during regular morning clinic hours.
    • Choose a patient to present later during the day for “Brown Rounds”
  2. Emergency Room: If you want to see what happens to people in a country where there are very few enforced traffic laws, stoplights are mere suggestions, and people tear around recklessly on motorbikes without helmets, you can spend an afternoon (or night) with the internal medicine residents in the emergency room.

  3. Night float shift

  4. ICU

  5. Subspecialty departments such as Hematology/Oncology, Neurology, and Cardiology

  6. Resident outpatient clinics

Coordinator Position

Serving as the Exchange Program Coordinator is an incredible opportunity in itself, for global health experience (both clinical and administrative) in the Caribbean longitudinally. Additionally, past coordinators have been able to create and execute a research project while at Cabral y Baez, and some have had their research published. Each year, one student from Brown Med has taken Academic Scholar Program (ASP) status for one year off to serve in this position. Most coordinators have gone following MS3, but timing is flexible. This is a paid position with beautiful housing in Santiago already established at no cost to you.

If you have been thinking about taking time off between medical school years and have an interest in healthcare in under-resourced settings (particularly Latin America), this would be the perfect opportunity.

Applications for the current coordinator position has closed. Please check back August for next year's application.

University of Rostock

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Timothy Empkie Dr. Karen Tashima

University Of Tuebingen

Exchange Institution: Faculty of Medicine of the Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen
Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Gerardo Carino

Critical Care Course:  Available to fourth year medical students. The course has a duration of two weeks (Feb/Mar).  After the end of the course interested students could add a clinical elective of variable (max. 6 week) length.  Tuition for participation in the program is waived and includes accommodation, lunch money (10 Euro per Day), a ticket for the local transportation, a number of free time activities, books and certificate.  Food for reasonable prices is available in the cafeteria at the university’s hospitals. Participants will be provided with single rooms in a guest house.  

Course Program
  1. Interactive lectures: Course material will be the Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) program of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
  2. Rounds in the ICU: Students would participate in teaching rounds in the ICUs which would be focused on issues covered by the actual seminars and lectures.
  3. Problem-based learning (POL): During rounds students would formulate questions and problems. Each team consisting of one German and one international student chooses one problem and tries to solve it by internet search and discussions with the ICU staff.
  4. Seminars
  5. Hand-on training: Students learn and practice invasive techniques such as insertion of central lines, oral intubation or even ultrasound and endoscopy techniques (bronchoscopy, gastroscopy) in the skills lab or experimental OR
  6. Clinical elective

Interested students could add a clinical elective of variable length after the end of the course.

Please Read:

Exchange Institution: Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science and Technology

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Kwame Dapaah-Afriyie

Exchange Institution: University Notre Dame D’Haiti

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Michael Koster

Exchange Institution: Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Rami Kantor

Exchange Institution: University of Bologna

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Gerardo Carino

Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Taro Minami

Tokyo Women's Medical University

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Taro Minami


Kurume University School of Medicine

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Taro Minami

Exchange Institution: Moi University School of Medicine

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. E. Jane Carter

Exchange Institution: Ewha Women's University
Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. Susan Cu-Uvin

Please Read: 

Exchange Institution: National Cheng Kung University School of Medicine

Brown Faculty LiaisonDr. James Sung

Pre-Travel Orientation

The GHI provides a pre-travel orientation session for students traveling abroad, including (but not limited to) Framework in Global Health Scholars, and AMS Summer Assistantship recipients. All are strongly encouraged to attend this one-day training session.

The orientation covers the following topics:

  • global health basics
  • personal health and safety
  • vaccinations
  • cultural issues
  • practical advice for living overseas
  • responsible conduct in research

Selected pre-travel training materials:

Brown University requires that all undergraduate, graduate, and medical students traveling on Brown-sponsored travel register their travel information in TravelSafe. The details you provide regarding itinerary and emergency contacts will help Brown’s Global Travel Safety and Security administrators provide available assistance in the event of an emergency.