Grouped by subject, this collection of articles and links is designed to provide critical perspectives and educational background related to global health care.

Global Health Education

The Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) is dedicated to creating balance in resources and in the exchange of students and faculty between institutions in rich and poor countries, recognizing the importance of equal partnership between the academic institutions in developing nations and their resource-rich counterparts in the planning, implementation, management and impact evaluation of joint projects.

The World Health Organization is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) will be running a series of review articles on global health.  A Global View of Health–An Unfolding Series is the first in the series and it was published 1/3/2013.

The Lancet is the world’s leading independent general medical journal. The journal’s coverage is international in focus and extends to all aspects of human health. The Lancet is edited and peer-reviewed to ensure the scientific merit and clinical relevance of its diverse content. Drawing on an international network of advisers and contributors, The Lancet meets the needs of physicians by adding to their clinical knowledge and alerting them to current issues affecting the practice of medicine worldwide. The Lancet Global Health Portal gathers all the global health content in one location. Most of the global health content is free to all users. World Reports and Perspectives articles are ideal for anyone who wants a personal view on a subject, and The Lancet Global Health Series, and Regional Reports and Commissions provide in-depth views for anyone seeking disease-specific or regional information.

PLOS Medicine is a peer-reviewed weekly medical journal covering the full spectrum of the medical sciences. PLOS Medicine publishes articles relevant to clinicians, policymakers, and researchers across a range of settings that address the major biological, environmental, social, and political determinants of health.

Global Health Educational Consortium is an organization which focuses on global health education in curriculum, training materials, clinical training and career development. This site has superb material for facilitating exchanges, teaching global health, and sharing resources.

Short Medical Mission Trips

Here is a great resource from Georgetown University – School of Nursing and Health Studies on how to prepare for a medical mission trip:

Perceptions of short-term medical volunteer work: a qualitative study in Guatemala is a study conducted by medical students takes a critical look at the benefits and pitfalls of short-term missions by interviewing 72 patients and physicians in the local community.

A model for sustainable short-term international medical trips  is a review that discusses the ethical challenges of short-term missions and gives concrete suggestions on maximizing trip benefit.

Medical Spanish Learning Tools and Resources

English and Spanish Medical Words and Phrases (Bilingual dictionary limited to 3 users at a time)

Common Ground International is a YouTube channel with lots of free videos for medical Spanish learners with lots of useful vocabulary and phrases. 

Language assessments and more:

Here is an NIH publication about language assessments as a tool to test and secure a supply of language competent physicians to care for limited English proficiency (LEP) patients.  

Many health care systems currently have language proficiency tests in place to assess the language skills of clinicians and staff who identify themselves as bilingual.  For those students whose goal is to be able to speak directly to patients without the help of an interpreter, here is more information on an assessment tool created by Kaiser Permanente that tests language proficiency in clinicians.

Would it help to become a healthcare interpreter? There are many companies that offer the 40-hour interpreter training specifically related to health care.  Please keep in mind that once you take this 40-hour course, you will not be certified.  You will have a certificate of completion for the course. This means you will be considered a “trained” interpreter vs. a “certified” one.  In order to be considered a certified medical interpreter, you will need to take a test with either the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) or the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI).  Testing fees are about $485 with both agencies and renewal fees are around $300 every 4 years. Both organizations have similar requirements in place (i.e. general education and formal health care interpreter training).  Taking the 40-hour interpreter training is one of the first steps towards obtaining a certification as a health care interpreter. Cost for this course fluctuates between $600 – $900. Here are some of the companies currently offering this training:




If the goal is to improve and polish your language skills in order to speak to patients without the help of an interpreter, it might not be necessary to invest in these courses since they are specifically targeted for individuals who wish to pursue a career in medical interpretation.

It might be worth concentrating on courses that offer Medical Spanish for healthcare providers with the goal of taking a clinician linguistic assessment to determine your level of target language proficiency as a physician. These tests are designed to assess physicians’ ability to communicate directly with target language-speaking patients in a primary care medical setting in a linguistically and culturally sensitive manner without the use of an interpreter. Please remember many health care systems currently have language proficiency tests in place to assess the language skills of clinicians and staff who identify themselves as bilingual.

Courses online for health care professionals