McMaster University Internal Medicine International Health Elective: A Survey-Based Study to Understand Achievements and Lessons Learned

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Andrew W. Duncan MD
Musa Waiswa MBChB MMed (Int Med)
Ally P.H. Prebtani BScPhm MD
Madeleine M. Verhovsek MD
Tim M. O’Shea MD MPH


The McMaster Internal Medicine International Health Elective (IHE) has been placing senior medical residents (PGY-3) in an elective setting in a teaching hospital in Kampala, Uganda, for the past 7 years. This article discusses a study in which the authors electronically mailed a survey to alumni of this elective to evaluate important aspects of program participation from the residents’ point of view. The factors most commonly cited as being important in the decision to apply to the McMaster IHE were to gain experience practising medicine in a resource-limited setting and to gain exposure to diseases and conditions not commonly encountered in Canada. Most residents (61.5%) planned to have some involvement in global health prior to their elective, and 100% felt the elective experience made them more likely to take part in global health activities in the future.


IHEs offer a unique opportunity for residents to explore global health. Residents participating in this survey found the McMaster Internal Medicine IHE to be a successful endeavour.

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