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Programs : Brochure

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Program Description:

Program Overview     

As first year medical students, we travelled to Ecuador for six weeks in 2015. We learned about social, economic, and political factors impacting healthcare in rural and urban Ecuador. Now as fourth year medical students completing the Penn State College of Medicine Global Health Scholars Program four-year longitudinal curriculum, we look forward to serving the communities surrounding Quito by partnering with the Sexual and Reproductive Health NGO and working in a community health clinic.

In 1998, Ecuador became one of the few Latin American countries to explicitly guarantee sexual and reproductive health rights to all citizens. At that time, both federal and state ministries turned to local nonprofits to carry out education and outreach to communities. These non-profits used their expertise and close community ties to drive their community outreach. One of these organizations, the Sexual and Reproductive Health NGO, began its work in 1973 with a mission to offer free and low cost family planning services to women, with 50% of services provided to adults under age 25. Clinics provide gynecological, pre-natal, counseling and family planning services (IUDs, contraceptive implants, pap smears, monthly check ups, STDs testing). This NGO also runs a "Youth Health Promoter Program" which mentors youth leaders to be health promoters and educators, raising awareness amongst their peers about STD prevention, family planning and contraception, and health and counseling services.

This opportunity to partner with a NGO, as well as our work in the community clinic, will provide us with the unique experience to approach issues of sexual and reproductive health from a public health perspective. This opportunity will expand our medical education by adding another perspective on women's health to our experiences as we prepare for residencies in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Family and Community Medicine. Each week, students are paired with one attending physician who will provide verbal and written feedback and a final evaluation during this rotation.

Upon return from Ecuador, we will record our advice to future students relating to travel, money, travel, safety, etc. in the Ecuador site program manual created in 2014. This manual was most recently updated in spring 2017 when two students completed 4th year electives in Ecuador.

Program Quicklinks     

Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links



Any pre-requisite courses are established by the faculty leader or department hosting the course.  The following have been listed as pre-requisites for consideration to enroll in this course and travel on the embedded education abroad program:
  • No pre-requisites.
  • This course is open strictly tor 4th year medical students enrolled in the global health scholars program at the Penn State College of Medicine.
  • Admission in the course and permission to travel with the group are at the discretion of the faculty leader and/or academic department hosting the course.  Academic standing and disciplinary or conduct issues may impact eligibility.

Housing and Meals

During the embedded travel component, housing will consist of - information regarding housing is not available at this time.

Program Costs

Students pay regular Penn State tuition (either in-state or out-of-state) for the credits associated with the embedded course.  Travel costs, lodging, meals, excursions, and other fees are determined by the program budget which is set by the program leader.  Please consult the program leader for additional information.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Global Programs administers a scholarship that is specifically designated to support students studying abroad on embedded courses.  The scholarship is competitive, and the deadlines to apply are strictly enforced.  Please review the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Scholarship eligibility, deadlines, and application process.

For More Information

For more information about this course, please contact the program coordinator: Jeanne Laicha by emailing

How to Apply

 The process for enrolling in an embedded course varies according to the instructor and/or department.  The program leader has indicated that in order to enroll in the course and travel component, students must contact the program coordinator, Jeanne Laicha.

Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.



Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring- Embedded 2018 08/22/2017
Rolling Admission 01/26/2018 02/24/2018
NOTE: The application deadline date is NOT as it appears above. Please contact the program leader Jeanne Laicha by emailing if you are interested in applying for this embedded program
Spring- Embedded 2019 08/21/2018
Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed