Preparing for an International Health Elective: Exploring Global Health, Ethics and Safety Course - St George's, University of London


2 locations available
Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


Prepare for undertaking an International Health Elective, in this course developed in collaboration with King's College London

Why join the course?

International health electives (IHEs) are highly variable, student-organised placements that offer important opportunities for student-directed learning about health and healthcare in unfamiliar contexts. They enable medical and healthcare students to take responsibility for their own learning and to explore areas of interest relevant to future careers.

However, there is evidence to suggest that international health electives do not always deliver the learning outcomes anticipated and that pre-elective learning can help to ensure a valuable and productive experience. This free online course, developed as a collaboration between King’s College London and St George’s, University of London, is aimed at learners currently studying in medical or healthcare disciplines and considering taking an IHE. On the course you will learn how you might avoid negative experiences and ensure that doing an IHE would be both valuable and productive, should you decide to undertake an elective yourself.

Understand the issues surrounding IHEs

On this course, you’ll explore some of the problems that may be experienced during IHEs, including working beyond competence, consumption of scarce host resources, suboptimal supervision, and risks to the health of students and the patients they see. We will present examples of student experiences with opportunities to discuss the choices and courses of action available, and guidelines to support decision-making when faced with challenging circumstances.

Learn how to get the most out of an IHE

In an already crowded medical school curriculum, this free online course offers flexible learning to prepare you for undertaking your own IHE. Touching upon complex issues of ethics and professionalism, global health and clinical practice, the course aims to provide you with the information that you need to maximise the positive aspects and mitigate the negative elements of international health electives.

What topics will you cover?

  • Understanding digital professionalism
  • Working beyond competence
  • Bringing gifts and dealing with scarcity
  • The impact of language barriers
  • Global Health and the Social Determinants of Health
  • Staying safe: Managing risk inside and outside the clinical environment
  • Health infrastructures and systems
  • Voluntourism
  • Experiencing different professional cultures

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of professional guidance on digital professionalism and be able to apply this to communications on electives.
  • Identify clinical procedures that it will be appropriate for you to undertake on your elective and those that are not.
  • Identify ethical issues that you are likely to encounter on your electives and adopt a structured approach to developing a response.
  • Recognise the importance of linguistic barriers to elective experiences and take steps to mitigate these.
  • Discuss from the global perspective the determinants of health and disease and variations in healthcare delivery and medical practice.
  • Identify the occupational health risks associated with planned electives, including the risk of body fluid exposure, and identify strategies to mitigate these risks.
  • Recognise that health systems are structured and function differently across the globe.
  • Discuss the essential components of a health system using the World Health Organisation (WHO) model.
  • Discuss the role of voluntourism in relation to international health electives.
  • Understand the challenges of working across professional cultures.

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily aimed at those currently studying in medical or healthcare disciplines and who are considering undertaking an International Health Elective as part of their training.

Who will you learn with?

Paula Baraitser

I am a senior lecturer at the Kings Centre for Global Health where I lead the MSc and iBSc in global health. I am the elective's lead for GKT School of Medicine.

Carwyn Hooper

I am a Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at St George's, University of London. I have studied medicine, philosophy and medical education. I have also completed a PhD in Law.

Fawzia Gibson-Fall

Fawzia is a Teaching Fellow at the King’s Centre for Global Health

Who developed the course?

St George's, University of London

St George’s is the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research.

King's College London

King’s College London, established in 1829 and a founding college of the University of London, is one of the world’s leading research and teaching universities, based in the very heart of London.

Join this course



Unlimited (New!)
$259.99 for one year

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 5 weeks

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Last updated Oct 2020

About the School

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses.

Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses. Read less
London , Aberdeen , Auckland , Baltimore , Barcelona , Bath , Bathurst , Bergen , Biel/Bienne , Birmingham , Bracknell , Brisbane City , Cambridge , Cape Town , Clayton , Crawley , Charlottesville , Delhi , Dublin , Dundee , Durham , Edinburgh , Enschede , Exeter , Fiesole , Geneva , Royal Borough of Greenwich , Grenoble , Groningen , Hawthorn , Hsinchu , Jerusalem , Canterbury , Hong Kong , Lancaster , Leeds , Leicester , Leuven , Madrid , Makati , Manchester , Melbourne , Ann Arbor , Milton Keynes , Montreux , Murdoch , Norman Gardens , Norwich , Oxford , Padua , Paris , Darling Heights , Reading , Rehovot , Seoul , Sheffield , Slough , Southampton , Glasgow , Guildford , Sydney , Taipei , Tokyo , Trondheim , Uppsala , Warwick , West Lafayette , York , Chicago , Newcastle , Coventry + 70 More Less
Visit the school’s website