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Distinction in Global Health

Distinction in Global Health will join the other Distinction programs offered to medical students: Distinction in Research, Distinction in Medical Education, and Distinction in Service to the Community. This prestigious and rigorous program will support and recognize Robert Wood Johnson Medical School students who show exceptional interest, leadership, and commitment to global health initiatives. Students will distinguish themselves by assuming a significant level of responsibility in the collaborative planning, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of a focused, sustainable global health initiative. Students who are accepted into this program and who fulfill all requirements as certified by the DGH committee will receive diplomas at Commencement stating that they have graduated with "Distinction in Global Health."

What are the learning objectives for the Distinction in Global Health Program?

  • Identify health issues of concern to international communities and explore the root causes (historical, social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political factors) of health issues globally.
  • Utilize and, if needed, develop culturally and linguistically appropriate tools to assess the extent of an identified community health care problem.
  • Identify existing resources and gaps in resources in order to determine the most appropriate intervention(s).
  • Design and implement an intervention.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of their health intervention.
  • Develop expertise in interprofessional teamwork
  • Work in partnership with the global health community in designing a sustainable and culturally appropriate intervention that directly impacts an underserved, at-risk, or vulnerable global health population. This is the final and ultimate goal of Distinction in Global Health.


Students must meet the minimum requirements of the global health didactics program during their M1 or M2 year. The DGH Committee provides this timeline as a general guide for students.

First Year

  • Keep records of participation in the didactics program.
  • Identify student partners of similar interests (global destination and type of project).
  • Participate in a “domestic” global health experience.
  • Perform independent research on the proposed global destination.
  • Meet with the Associate Dean for Global Health to identify faculty mentors and global partners for the international field research with clinical exposure experience.
  • Establish personalized mentoring team: with geographic, content, and methods expertise.
  • Begin to meet regularly with mentors to review expectations and progress in the program.
  • Enhance language preparation (medical Spanish, medical Mandarin or other).
  • Develop needs assessment proposal for the upcoming international experience.

Summer between first and second years

  • First on-site global experience for eight weeks in one of the programs affiliated with RWJMS.
  • Perform needs assessment.
  • Prepare initial draft for implementation project.

Second Year

  • Present poster at global health fair on global health experience.
  • Continue global health curriculum.
  • Present summer project and results of the needs assessment.
  • Continue to refine project for implementation: This will be an appropriate intervention and plan for sustainability.
  • Complete the application for the Distinction in Global Health program for review and approval by the DGH committee. The application will be a formal proposal of the background/rationale for the project, the impacted population, the method of intervention the expected outcomes, and the evaluation plan.
  • Following project approval, develop a timeline for the project and plan the second international eight-week experience (global health elective) during M3 or M4 elective time.

Third Year

Continue project planning, individualized study to prepare for the second global experience.

Fourth Year

  • Second on-site global experience for eight weeks in the same RWJMS-affiliated program as the initial experience.
  • Student projects will be reviewed by the Distinction in Global Health committee at their November and March meetings.
  • Students must produce a scholarly project, in a format suitable for submission to a journal.
  • Additionally they will present the work orally at the year-end DGH Symposium in May.
  • When these requirements are met, the student will receive on his/her diploma a Distinction in Global Health notation and a record of this accomplishment will be put into the student’s Medical Student Performance Evaluation for the residency application process.