Partnerships for Health—Jeff HEALTH and the Rwanda Village Concept Project—A Model of Interdisciplinary Health Professions Student Global Education


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Presented at: Consortium Universities Global Health, Washington DC.

A partnership between the Rwanda Village Concept Project (RVCP), a medical student program in Butare, and Jeff HEALTH (Helping East Africans Link to Health), a multidisciplinary student organization at Thomas Jefferson University, has been working in two Rwandan villages for the past seven years. Initially, The Rwanda Health and Healing Project initially consisted of a Genocide Survivors Village Transformation and creation of a Genocide Memorial Park. These programs led to a comprehensive community health assessment, which: 1) documented the needs through key informant interviews and focus groups; 2) identified health resources currently available; and 3) reviewed needs in context of the social and political history of Rwanda. The partnership has taken shape based on this assessment and students' learning experiences. Over 80 Medical, Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Public Health students have implemented programs in hygiene, malnutrition, HIV education, and malaria prevention. The Rwandan students monitor these programs monthly when the Jeff HEALTH students are stateside. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Engineers Without Borders joined in a latrine construction project. For each of the past 7 years, 3 Rwandan medical students have spent 2 months at Jefferson exploring community medicine as a discipline. A formal educational program and peer mentoring prepares Jeff HEALTH students for immersion into Rwandan projects. Based on the success of this model of interdisciplinary collaboration, Jefferson has expanded its Global Health education initiatives to a 4-year longitudinal area of concentration in Population Health for medical students. The results of a comprehensive evaluation of all students participating will be presented.

James Plumb MD, MPH

Dr. Plumb is Vice-Chair, Community Medicine, Professor in Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center for Urban Health. He currently co-directs a HRSA-funded four-year longitudinal area of concentration integrating public health and medical education, and is assisting colleagues in implementing public health and clinical experiences in Rwanda.

Ellen J. Plumb, MD

Dr. Plumb is a Research and Faculty Development Fellow in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Plumb graduated from Boston University in 2002 with a degree in Anthropology and Public Health and from Jefferson Medical College in 2010. She completed family medicine residency training at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2013. Her areas of interests include global public health, community-based research, human rights, and medical education.

Komal Soin, MD

Dr. Soin is a Family Medicine Resident at TJUH and is graduating in June 2014. She will be pursuing a masters in public health at Johns Hopkins after graduation. Her interests lie in global health, refugee health, public health, and women’s health.



1. Describe a method to develop a collaborative international health professional interdisciplinary student driven initiative.

2. Identify strategies for sustaining programs through cooperative agreements between students at a United States Academic Health Center and an East African Medical School.

3. Develop an interdisciplinary student global education program based on student experiences and interest.

4. Describe IPE strategies utilized in this program that could be applied to other areas.

Presentation: 42 minutes

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