The goal of the International Health Elective is to offer students an opportunity to learn about health and healing with a more global perspective by living and working in another country. Students will have the opportunity to live in a new and different culture, usually with little of the technical and medical facilities he or she is accustomed to using. The student will have a chance to see a different way of organizing health care to achieve good results in the health situation of the population, as is the case in Costa Rica. The resources that are taken for granted in the developed countries like USA, Canada and Europe may be lacking at times. The students have an opportunity to be of service to the community and to broaden their thinking about future medical practice.
This rotation is designed to give the student the opportunity to participate in the activities of the health team from the first to the third level of care of Costa Rican Health System (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social – CCSS). In the first level, preventative services are emphasized, including immunizations, maternal child services, prenatal care, growth and development of children, nutrition, community education, community sanitation and environment, as well as continuity of care in cases chronic diseases. In the third level the experiences vary according to the specialty.
In USA, Canada and other countries, the Spanish speaking population represents an important number of people to whom the health professional must give appropriate care. To promote competence based medical education means to prepare the professional to face the reality of working, understanding, and communicating with this group. This rotation is competence based to expose the student to work with Hispanic populations, learn, and accept the culture differences as an important scientific and ethical principle of the medical practice.