As a physician, you can incorporate global health into your practice as little or as much as you want. There are a ton of different ways to get involved: from short-term trips here and there to devoting your whole career to global health. If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare, See here to learn about the different degree options.
Short-Term Trips – Many doctors will dedicate a few weeks here and there to work in rural clinics in developing countries. This is awesome and very helpful; it is just important to make sure that you are dedicating your time to sustainable clinics and you are working WITH the doctors and healthcare system that is in place. The goal is to improve healthcare in the long term; not just provide healthcare for the 2 weeks that you are there.
Teaching – One way that we can really make a long-term impact is by teaching. Volunteering your time to teach locals how to be nurses or doctors so they can stay and provide healthcare to their community. This is a huge field and there are a lot of ways to get involved.
Advocacy – You don’t need to leave your country to get involved in global health. Research global health initiatives and policies and advocate for them. Get involved in legislation and grassroots advocacy.
Diplomacy – Work for the government and be a global health diplomat. Work with leaders in other countries to figure out solutions to major healthcare issues around the world.
This certainly doesn’t cover every global health opportunity, but it is a good start. Just know that you can do as much or as little as you want and still make an impact in the field of global health.