Advances in Physiology Education

International student exchange and the medical curriculum: evaluation of a medical sciences translational physiology course in Brazil

Mariana Morris, T. David Jones, Maria Jose Alves Rocha, Rubens Fazan Jr., Mark W. Chapleau, Helio C. Salgado, Alan Kim Johnson, Maria Claudia Irigoyen, Lisete C. Michelini, David L. Goldstein


The objective of the present study was to conduct a short-term international course on translational physiology for medical students from Wright State University and the University of Iowa. The goals were to 1) provide students with an exposure to the academic, cultural, and medical environments in Brazil; 2) promote awareness of the global medical community; and 3) provide an academic course focused on translational physiology. An evaluation of the students was conducted to determine whether such a short-term course might be useful in the medical curriculum. The 2-wk course was held in the summer of 2005 at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, for 23 American students. The program included presentations of basic and clinical topics, meetings with medical students, and clinical presentations. The program finished with student attendance at a scientific meeting sponsored by the Brazilian Society of Hypertension. Student surveys evaluated issues related to perceived treatment, Brazilian medical school environment, culture and personal attributes, and career aspirations. The international Medical Sciences Translational Physiology course for medical students provided a brief, but intense, experience. It gave students a picture of the medical environment in Brazil and an appreciation for the differences and similarities in cultures. Most students reported that it was a positive experience that would be beneficial to their careers. In conclusion, a short-term international course provides an efficient means for medical students to experience aspects of global medical science.

  • medical education
  • globalism
  • Latin America
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