IU School of Medicine Student Portal



The ENLACE Global Health Elective: Latin America, El Salvador immerses Phase 3 medical students in a 4-week international global health experience in a developing country in Central America. Participants undergo an introduction to global health issues and policies; begin to think critically about ethics in global health volunteerism; examine global health challenges and compare and contrast the systematic, policy and experiential differences between health care in the US and El Salvador.

Students learn/hone Spanish language skills in daily classes, work alongside host country health care providers and live with a host family. Clinical work occurs at community-based health care facilities, non-governmental public health organizations and health promoter organizations.

It doesn’t matter if you can only say “hola” or if you majored in Spanish, you will finish the month with improved and polished Spanish speaking skills. You will study Spanish language, grammar, and structure with strong emphasis on conversation. You will put your new skills to work when interacting with your host family, El Salvadorian physicians, health promoters, and patients at local hospitals and clinics.



The academic program of the Global Health Elective: Latin America revolves around 6 components: 

1. Ethics in global health volunteerism

2. Tertiary and ambulatory clinical work

3. Medical / Public Health issues facing Central America

4. Spanish conversation / Medical Spanish acquisition

5. Cultural humility

6. Critical reflection 


The rotation consists of the following required activities:

• Pre-Departure:  complete preparatory modules on principles of global health; participate in orientation sessions covering topics on cultural norms and expectations, how to recognize and mediate culture shock, nuts and bolts of living in a developing country; how to pack for a month in 1 bag, etc.; read and lead discussions on safety and security issues; select and develop and submit a clinically-focused lecture-discussion on disease/illness disproportionality plaguing El Salvador for presentation pre-departure.

• In-Country: participate in orientation sessions covering topics on El Salvadoran history, health & well-being and safety & security while in El Salvador; present clinically-focused lecture-discussion on a disease/illness disproportionality plaguing El Salvador; live with El Salvador host family; attend daily Spanish Language School;  attend and actively participate in clinical work with assigned El Salvadoran health care professionals three half-days/week; submit weekly reflections; participate in service learning project related to public health issue.

• Upon Return to US: Write and submit a 3-page Policy Brief on disease/illness selected for clinical presentation; complete required evaluations.

Elective Details:

Primary Contact for Add/Drops: Jennifer Custer ( jcuster@iupui.edu)

Director: Javier F. Sevilla Martir, M.D.

Campus: Indianapolis

Location: Suchitoto, El Salvador

Learning Objectives

    1.  Describe epidemiologic profile of host country and related public health programs (MK6)
    2. Develop clinical decisions based on sound medical reasoning and implement patient care plan within the limited resources of developing host country (PC3)
    3. Explain process and structure of medical education, health care delivery in host country (PC1)
    4. Explain interrelatedness of a global health issue on host country public policy (SBP3)
    5. Describe elements of primary health care (maternal child health, immunizations, prevention/control of endemic disease, water & sanitation, basic medical care, health education and nutrition) in context of the developing host country (PC1)
    6. Demonstrate enhanced cultural competence, understanding of cross‐cultural dynamics, language skills, and physician‐patient communication through patient and peer interaction (SBP2)
    7. Demonstrate enhanced understanding ethics in global health volunteerism’s six principles of global volunteerism and international community development, (SBP2)


  • 1. Observation: Student observed and evaluated by IU Faculty and host country health care providers using the Standard 4th year Clinical Performance Evaluation Form (attached). Additionally standards of professionalism are incorporated into this observational evaluation. 2. Clinical Presentation: Student researches and delivers a clinically focused presentation on a disease/illness that disproportionately plagues under-developed countries, specifically in Latin America. IU Faculty will evaluate content and delivery of the presentation using the Elective Presentation Evaluation Form (attached). 3. Written Paper: Student writes a 3-page policy brief summarizing the burden of the disease /illness selected as the aforementioned presentation topic, discusses the people most affected by this disease or illness, key risk factors, the economic and social costs of this disease, and what might be done to address this disease in cost-effective ways. Paper will be evaluated by IU Faculty using the Paper Evaluation Rubric (attached); Policy Paper Evaluation Rubric Form 4. Reflections: Students submit twice-weekly guided reflections over the course of the month. Reflection Rubric evaluates description/narration/connection/analyzation components. 5. Conduct and Behavior: Student conduct and behavior is assessed by IU Faculty and host-country partners in an on-going manner utilizing a rubric that assesses professionalism, intercultural competency and personal conduction.

Enrollment Information

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th year status; Must have completed Family Medicine Clerkship

Availability with Max Students per Month:


Duty Hours: 40

Time Distribution: 45% Clinical; 45% Lecture/Seminar; 10% Library/Research

Elective Type Category: AC - Advanced Clinical

Notes and Enrollment Information:

Add/Drop Contact Person: Jennifer Custer ( jcuster@iupui.edu) THIS ELECTIVE DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE INITIAL SENIOR MATCH. Students MUST apply and be accepted into the Global Health Elective: Latin America. Application found at (https://iabroad.iu.edu/istart/controllers/inquiry/Flyer.cfm?programID=506) or by contacting Jennifer Custer - jcuster@iupui.edu or 317.274.6539. The i-Abroad application will open Nov. 1, 2018 and close May 15, 2019. 4-week experience: approximately $2650 plus airfare, immunizations, passport, insurance, optional weekend activities, personal spending, etc. Program Fee includes room/board, transportation from/to El Salvadoran airport, week-day in-country transportation, language instruction, tips, etc.) Students live with local host families. Students rotate through various unique and distinct hospital and community-based primary care organizations working side by side with local physicians and other health care providers. Students participate in formal and informal language training tailored to meet individual needs. Students work with community leaders and engage in a global health service-leaning project around an on-going community identified issue. Number of weeks a student must contact faculty prior to beginning elective: Students must apply and be accepted into the course through the i-Abroad system. The i-Abroad application will open November 1, 2018 and close May 15 2019. The link to apply for the Global health Elective El Salvador is: https://iabroad.iu.edu/istart/controllers/inquiry/Flyer.cfm?programID=506

Third Year Elective? Yes

Interprofessional Skills and Service Learning

Interprofessional Collaborative Skills: None

Service Learning Included: Yes

Detaials for Service Learning: