Pioneering International Medical Exchange- First Clinical Observership Program

First Clinical Observership Program at USF Health – Are medical schools different globally?

Ten medical students from Yeungnam University, College of Medicine in Daegu, South Korea learned how USF medical students prepare for their profession when they visited the USF Center for Advanced Clinical Learning on January 11, 2008. The group of ten included mostly fourth-year medical students. The Office of International Affairs (OIA) of the USF College of Medicine, in collaboration with the Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine hosted this enthusiastic group for two weeks from January 5 – 20th.

The South Korean medical students participating in the Steven Klasko Clinical Observership Program were exposed to American standards of clinical experience and interactive learning opportunities. In addition, the program was created to foster a positive exchange of ideas and technology between USF and Yeungnam medical students with a focus on enriching the cultural environment of the medical school. Doctors John Sinnott, Lynette Menezes and Ann DeBaldo conceived and executed the vision of this program, which is the first of its kind at USF to host international medical students for a clinical observership.

“This type of meaningful, durable interaction clearly addresses USF Health’s ultimate goal of global prominence,” said Dr. John Sinnott, Associate Dean of International Affairs for the College of Medicine. “Yeungnam University could have selected any medical school in the United States and they chose USF on the basis of its educational commitment, emphasis on research, and commitment to an international reputation.”

Interactive Learning Sessions

On this particular day the South Korean students and their faculty mentors, Dr. Sam Beom Lee and Dr. Bang Jae-Beum, attended interactive health sessions at the USF Center for Advanced Clinical Learning. The purpose of the sessions was to practice interventional life support procedures that could be applied to patient management. The international students also practiced patient interviews and refined their physical diagnosis skills. In addition, they gained hands-on training of medical simulators such as those that develop listening skills for the diagnosis of heart murmur. The students learned from the center’s Director, Dawn Schocken, PhD, that the USF approach to patient care is not solely dependent on diagnostic tools; medical students are further instructed to use observation of the patient’s symptoms as a vital component of making a diagnosis. The South Korean students enjoyed the distinctly different teaching styles of the American medical school professors.

Students were also eager to experience American culture with their American medical student partners at USF and lunch gave them an opportunity to enjoy pizza and practice their English conversational skills. With the goal of gaining more clinical knowledge and enhancing their understanding of medicine and physician-patient interaction, the students accompanied physicians in their observational rotations at Tampa General Hospital for most of their stay.

Cultural Exchanges with USF Medical Students
Doing their best to partake of every aspect of the USF medical student life, the South Korean students experienced parties, Ybor City, swing dancing, and the Hyde Park Café made possible by the gracious invitation of USF medical students Jane Pak, MSII and Vikash Singh, MSII.

“We had a chance to observe clinical practice in the hospital and we had a chance to meet medical students here and talk about our life and studies. We always dreamed of meeting medical students abroad and it was like a dream come true,” said Jeong-A Seo, MSIV Yeungnam University, on behalf of her fellows. “We also had a chance to attend the Leadership Florida conference, and we learned how to be a leader in our own society and in our own way. It was really wonderful, the chance of a lifetime.”

Dr. Ann DeBaldo, Associate Dean, International Programs, College of Public Health, while at the meeting with President Genshaft and the South Korean medical students, expressed that “…this visit is something we will remember for a very long time and we look forward to the next group’s arrival.”

President Genshaft & the Beginnings of a Medical Student Exchange Program

A special highlight for the South Korean medical students taking part in the Clinical Observership Program at the USF Health campus was a visit with USF President Judy Genshaft on January 11th. Present at the meeting were Drs. John Sinnott and Lynette Menezes, and Dr. Ann DeBaldo, Associate Dean, International Programs, College of Public Health and two faculty members of Yeungnam University . President Genshaft welcomed the visitors, discussed their experience at USF and their views on the Clinical Observership Program.

As a new venture into establishing a medical student exchange program, this program has brought an optimistic message to the College of Medicine’s growing Office of International Affairs— a truly interactive learning experience is possible through medical student exchange between universities from across the globe.

President Genshaft was eager to discover how the experience has influenced the perspective the South Korean students have about medicine. The students responded favorably to the entire program and found common goals that the US and South Korean physicians share. While acknowledging the similarities in the practicing of medicine in the two countries, the South Korean medical students were also sensitive to the differences that exist between both countries in the path that is taken to achieve these common goals.

Jun-Hyeok Lee, MSIII Yeungnam University was hopeful about the future of this partnership, stating “This relationship between our school and USF will hopefully grow stronger so that more students can have opportunities like us. Like Dean Klasko said at our welcome meeting, we will both gain something and learn something from it.”

It is the hope of the COM’s Office of International Affairs that the new medical student exchange program will facilitate an understanding and appreciation of the two cultures. Overall, President Genshaft expressed her pleasure at having the South Korean students and their faculty as guests of the university and was delighted by their desire to continue their program with USF. Looking forward to future exchanges of medical knowledge and technology between the two universities, Dr. Genshaft expressed enthusiastically, “We value having a relationship with Yeungnam University.”

USF Health Doctors John Sinnott, Lynette Menezes and Ann DeBaldo conceived and executed the vision of this program, which is the first of its kind at USF to host international medical students for a clinical observership. At center of photo is Dr. Sam Beom Lee, Associate Dean of International Affairs, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, South Korea.

The Office of International Affairs would like to acknowledge the service many of those individuals who contributed to the success of the international clinical observership:

Greg Baran, MD, Director, Radiology
Jose Montero, MD, Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine
David Orban, MD, Director, Emergency Medicine
Mark Rumbak, MD, Director, Pulmonary Medicine
Dawn Schocken, PhD, Director, Center for Advanced Clinical Learning
Harry van Loveren, MD, Director, Neurosurgery
Todd Wills, MD, Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine
Karina D’Souza, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant, Office of International Affairs
Gloria Santayana, MS Graduate Research Assistant, Office of International Affairs
Jane Pak, MSII

Without the support of Dean Stephen Klasko and President Judy Genshaft, this program would not have been possible.

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Story by Julian Corvin, USF Health Division of Infectious Disease and Akash Parekh, Seven Year Accelerated Medical Program Student & Research Intern in Division of Infectious Disease.
Photography by Eric Younghans, USF Health Media Center

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