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Global Child Health Program

Global ChildPediatric and Medicine-Pediatric residents interested in international health can take advantage of our unique Global Child Health (GCH) Program. The Global Child Health Program is the oldest and most established Global Health program in the country that focuses primarily on child health. Implemented in 1987 by Dr. Karen Olness, with ongoing updates as needs are recognized, the Global Child Health Program at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s has 35 years of experience.

The GCH program has two major goals:

  1. To educate about the things that impact health and wellness and special needs of children in resource limited settings.
  2. To provide knowledge and skills to help address these needs and to work and collaborate with professionals and providers in resource limited areas.

Global ChildUH Rainbow Babies & Children’s has designed the track to be comprehensive and flexible. The track centers on a core curriculum of essential global health information, which is taught via didactics, simulations, and problem based learning approaches. This program includes interactive components including local medical opportunities, volunteer opportunities (e.g. Medwish), journal clubs and small group sessions (such as book club and movie nights). Career planning, mentoring and advising are there to help each resident develop a unique global health experience. Residents have the option for an away or local elective, research and scholarly work, and the opportunity to attend and participate in various global health talks, events, or activities within the local hospitals, community, and more.

Traveling for an overseas elective to a resource-limited area is a very valuable experience. It is not required but encouraged and all efforts will be made to help this work for those who want to travel. If a resident wishes to do an overseas elective, the program directors and mentors will help establish and identify research, clinical, and educational opportunities with health centers globally (see options below). The GCH track provides a minimum of $1000 in funding to interested Global Health Residents who have completed their preparations for a trip to such a center. GCH Residents have had some outstanding experiences described as a highlight of their residency!

Alumni of the track have gone on to do a variety of work from private practice and academics, to humanitarian and missions work, public health and have been able to maintain some connection to global health.

Curriculum and Distinguishing Features

Global Health Curriculum is taught through didactics, case studies, workshops, and online resources.

Topics offered include:

  • State of the World’s Children
  • Motivations for Global Health Service
  • Primary Health Care: History and examples/practical issues in developing countries
  • Collaborative International Research
  • Cross Cultural Issues
  • Culture Shock
  • International Health Players (NGO's, UNICEF, etc.)
  • Overview of Disaster Management
  • Child Trafficking, Child Labor/soldiers
  • Language Learning
  • Global Nutrition and consequences of Malnutrition (considering macro and micronutrient deficiencies)
  • Neonatal and Perinatal Health in Resource-Poor Countries
  • Developmental Disabilities in Resource-Poor Countries
  • Palliative Care in Resource-Poor Countries
  • Sickle Cell in Resource-Poor Countries
  • Refugee Health Care
  • Personal Health Preparation for GH Service
  • Planning your trip
  • Medwish (recycling medical supplies)
  • Water and Hygiene/Sanitation
  • Ethical Issues in Global Health
  • Infectious Diseases/Tropical Medicine topics
    • Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
    • Malaria
    • Tuberculosis
    • HIV – AIDS
    • Parasites in Resource-Poor Countries
    • Neglected Tropical Diseases

Educational Activities: Our curriculum is taught by many global health experts including our own dedicated Rainbow faculty. Additionally, trainees have an opportunity to help teach topics of interest and facilitate cases and simulations. We use a variety of modalities for teaching including SUGARPREP resources such as SUGAR (Simulation Use for Global Away Rotations), PEARLS (Procedural Education for Adaptation to Resource Limited Settings), I-PACK (Immigrant Partnership and Advocacy Curricular Kit), and Pediatric GOALS (Global Health Objectives Adapted for Learning Stateside). More information available at Sugarprep.org.

Away Electives: The Global Child Health Program at Rainbow offers a variety of global health experiences. Residents in the GCH Program wishing to participate in a GCH away elective are supported with up to 4 weeks once or twice during residency, including a minimum of $1,000 in funding. Rainbow has current affiliation agreements with several international programs around the world including, Laos, Thailand (Khon Kaen University), Indian Health Service, Uganda and Peru.

***We also have residents from Khon Kaen University observing on electives at Rainbow.

Local GH Elective: Local elective opportunitiesinclude working in Cleveland's Refugee Clinic, Hispanic Clinic and more. This can be catered to individual interests. Residents are also able to do an in-house global health skills elective.

Resident Involvement: Residents are invited to help coordinate extra-curricular activities such as movie nights, book club discussions, group volunteering efforts, pot luck dinners and hot topic discussions.

Presentations: Residents present a case/topicfrom their away elective to their fellow trainees. They also have the opportunity to present about their experience at the Annual Global Child Health Grand Rounds. In addition, residents have had opportunities to present their projects and/or research at national conferences.

Faculty Mentoring: The GCH program director and other faculty interested in GCH are available for one-on-one advising and mentoring to personalize your global child health education and experiences.


Dr. Denise Bothe
Director, Global Child Health

Dr. Rachel Welch
Pediatric Chief Resident

Jessica Williger
Administrator, Global Child Health