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 Hospital has almost 30 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 developing countries.
  2. To provide knowledge and skills to help address these needs and to work and collaborate with professionals and providers in resource poor areas.

Global ChildUH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital 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 $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.

Global Child Health Curriculum and Distinguishing Features

Pediatric and Medicine-Pediatric Residents interested in global child health can take advantage of this specialized track during residency. Implemented in 1987 by Dr. Karen Olness, UH Rainbow’s Global Child Health Track is the oldest and most established in the country. Goals of the GCH track include educating about factors that impact health, wellness and special needs of children in developing countries, and to provide knowledge and skills to help address these needs through didactics, hands-on activities, and experiences working and collaborating with professionals and providers in limited resource settings.

Curriculum and Distinguishing Features

Global Health Lecture series: The GCH track has a curriculum with lectures throughout a 3-year program.

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
  • Medical Anthropology/ 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
  • Global Health Vignettes
  • Infectious Diseases/Tropical Medicine topics
    • Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
    • Malaria
    • Tuberculosis
    • HIV – AIDS
    • Parasites in Resource-Poor Countries
    • Neglected Tropical Diseases

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.

Educational Activities: Global Child Health Course (using Problem-Based Learning and Simulation): “Management of Humanitarian Emergencies: Focus on Children and Families.” This unique and intense week-long course is attended by national and international faculty, fellows, residents, and medical and MPH students. It is highly recommended for all GCH residents. The cost for Rainbow residents is covered by our Global Health Program.

SUGAR = Simulation Use for Global Away Rotations: Residents participate in a hands-on simulation activity to practice working in complex medical situations with limited resources. Information about this program can be found at the website

GCH Resident Committee: A committee composed of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year residents to help coordinate extra-curricular activities such as movie nights, book club discussions, group volunteering efforts, pot luck dinners, and hot topic discussions.

Journal Clubs: There are at least 2 GCH journal clubs per year.

Away Electives: The Global Child Health Program at Rainbow offers a wide array of global health experiences from introductory/exploratory rotations for those interested in learning global health to more intensive rotations in academic settings. Based on individual interests, we can also work to establish potential new partnerships. 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 $1000 in funding. Rainbow has current affiliation agreements with several international programs around the world, including Haiti, Laos, Indian Health Service, Nicaragua, Belize, and Peru.

Local GH Elective: New this year is a local elective opportunity that includes working in Cleveland's Refugee Clinic, Hispanic Clinic, and more. This can be catered to individual interests.

GCH Newsletter: The resident committee, along with the program director and other faculty members, create a newsletter that contains current events in Global Health, highlights of resident experiences, as well as upcoming conferences.

Presentations: Residents present their experience at the Annual Global Child Health Grand Rounds in May of each academic year. In addition, residents have had opportunities to present their projects and/or research at national conferences.

Examples of where we’ve traveled:

  • Laos, Health Frontiers
  • Haiti, St. Damien Children’s Hospital; Part of St. Damien Collaborative
  • Indian Health Services, Tuba City Regional Health Care, Arizona
  • Nicaragua, Just Hope
  • Belize, Body and Soul Clinic
  • Ghana, Baptist Relief and Development Agency
  • Ecuador, Yo Te Amo


Dr. Denise Bothe
Director, Global Child Health

Dr. Tasa Seibert
Assistant Director, Global Child Health

Jessica Williger
Coordinator, Global Child Health