Global Health Education in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowships

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Abstract

A growing number of pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship programs in the United States offer global health training opportunities. Formal, integrated global health programs within pulmonary and critical care fellowships are relatively new but are built on principles and ideals of global health that focus on the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and social justice. Although core competencies consistent with these overarching themes in global health education have not been formalized for pulmonary and critical care trainees, relevant competency areas include clinical knowledge, international research training, cultural competency, and clinical and research capacity building. Existing global health education in U.S. pulmonary and critical care medicine training programs can generally be classified as one of three different models: integrated global health tracks, global health electives, and additional research years. Successful global health education programs foster partnerships and collaborations with international sites that emphasize bidirectional exchange. This bidirectional exchange includes ongoing, equitable commitments to mutual opportunities for training and professional development, including a focus on the particular knowledge and skill sets critical for addressing the unique priorities of individual countries. However, barriers related to the availability of mentorship, funding, and dedicated time exist to expanding global health education in pulmonary and critical care medicine. The implementation of global health training within pulmonary and critical care medicine programs requires continued optimization, but this training is essential to prepare the next generation of physicians to address the global aspects of respiratory disease and critical illness.

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