Global Health Scholars Program

The Global Health Scholars Program (GHSP) is a collaborative project, developed in conjunction with multiple departments including Family and Community Medicine, Humanities, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Public Health Sciences.  GHSP is an innovative approach in allowing students and faculty to participate in making a difference for people in an impoverished setting.  

The GHSP is designed for those students who are highly interested in global health.

The GHSP allows medical students to work together, both in the classroom as well as in the field.  Supervised by faculty, the Global Health Scholars take part in two immersive trips.  The first trip primarily entails an introduction to the community, and participation in developing a community health project.  The second trip, occurring in the students' senior year, provides students with an opportunity to participate in clinical care at the same location.  Students receive pre-trip safety sessions, in-country medical education specific to the site, and several sessions by our faculty on global and community health related issues.

Through this longitudinal relationship with the host community, it is our hope and expectation that students and faculty will be greatly enriched and the health and welfare of the people will be measurably improved.

The GHSP is open to first year medical students attending Penn State's College of Medicine who are selected through a competitive application process.  Prior to applying we strongly recommend that interested students review information about each unique site the program offers. Students are encouraged to contact Dr. Ben Fredrick ( for further information.

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

  • Credit for completion of GHSP 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 the host community.

Important note:  scholars are responsible for their own funding to cover the costs of the trip.  This is typically around $2500 for the month-long experience in the first year.


Application Process and First Year Schedule-at-a-glance:

  • September 5:  Application process opens

  • October 1:  Application process closes

  • By November 1:  Scholars are selected and notifications are mailed


Example schedule for first year scholars


Welcome to GHSP—Fredrick

Orientation to Sites (small groups by site)—Site Faculty & upper year Scholars


GHSP Journal Club--Sell

MSR/IRB—Groh (how to write an IRB, preparing for an MSR)


Goals of the Trip & Service-Learning—Fredrick

Getting the most out of your trip—Wolpaw


GHSP Debate—attendance required

History, Culture and Politics—Stoute & Richardson

GHSP Journal Club--Sell


Small group break-outs:  Site Leads  (address common concerns, meet with local individuals from country, review site expectations)

Ethics of Global Health—Craft


Community engagement and assessment—Richardson

GHSP Journal Club--Sell



Emergency Preparedness, Safety & Health Abroad, Culture Shock—Freer

What If I get Stuck with a needle? (and other similar concerns): Post-exposure Prophylaxis—Sell



                Trip journaling (daily requirements with guided questions)


See GHSP Master Calendar for schedule of events, sessions, and activities related to the Global Health Scholars Program.

Click on GHSP2 SYLLABUS to see sample syllabus for 2nd year scholars.