Background: We propose several advantages for residents who experience elec
tive rotations in developing nations. Residents participating in these elec
tives are exposed to different cultures and see pathology not commonly foun
d in their host nations. We describe the structure of such an elective prog
ram for pediatrics, combined medical/pediatrics and internal medicine physi
cians in training.
Description: Residents rotated through 2 clinic sites: the Behrhorst Develo
pment Foundation in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, and the San Ignacio Clinic an
d Hospital in San Ignacio, Belize. Residents kept a log of patients and pat
hology encountered while undergoing the elective. They also recorded additi
onal data to be used to describe their experiences.
Evaluation: A total of 803 patients were seen by 3 visiting residents in 2
different countries. Residents encountered a wide range of medical problems
including 10 different species of parasites.
Conclusions: International electives are a feasible part of residency train
ing. Residents participating in these experiences gain exposure to disease
processes not found in their host countries. It is hoped that a greater und
erstanding of medical humanism can result from such experiences.