Research

Clinical electives at the University of Michigan from the perspective of Ghanaian medical students: A qualitative study

S Danso-Bamfo, N A Abedini, H Mäkiharju, K A Danso, T R B Johnson, J Kolars, C A Moyer

Abstract


Background. Participation in international electives is an integral part of medical training for many medical students, yet little research explores the experiences of students from low-income countries who travel to high-income countries for medical electives.

Methods. One hundred and two Ghanaian medical students who participated in 3 - 4-week clinical rotations at the University of Michigan between January 2008 and December 2011 were invited to participate in a mixed-methods study. Face-to-face, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 respondents from the larger group who agreed to take part in follow-up interviews. The 60- to 90-minute interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, and transcripts were coded by three investigators in an iterative process of thematic identification, codebook generation and revision and consensus discussions.

Results. Respondents described perceived differences between Ghana and the USA, including: exposure to ‘new’ aspects of medicine; differences between Ghanaian and US patients, healthcare workers, and patient-provider relationships; and aspects of the US system that they would like to see emulated in Ghana.

Conclusion. This preliminary study suggests that international bilateral exchange programmes have lasting value for participants from low-income nations. Further research is needed to determine if the different types of experiences yield measurably different benefits.


Authors' affiliations

S Danso-Bamfo, Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., USA; Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass., and Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA

N A Abedini, Division of Hospital Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA

H Mäkiharju, Hematology and Oncology Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA

K A Danso, School of Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

T R B Johnson, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA

J Kolars, Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA; Global REACH, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA

C A Moyer, Departments of Learning Health Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA; Global REACH, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, USA

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Keywords

Medical elective; Global south; Medical education

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2017;9(4):203-207. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2017.v9i4.827

Article History

Date submitted: 2017-12-06
Date published: 2017-12-06

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