The Development of a Novel International Elective in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Amy Mathews*, Ashti Doobay-Persaud, Leslie Rydberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interest in global health is rising in graduate medical education. Trainees are increasingly seeking high-quality, ethically sound, and educationally robust opportunities for global medical rotations (Int J Gynecol Obstet. 2014;128(2):148-51). When based on best educational practices, these opportunities can provide a unique learning experience for residents in traditional physical medicine and rehabilitation programs. This article describes the development of an international rotation in physical medicine and rehabilitation including specific competency-based physical medicine and rehabilitation global health learning objectives, predeparture training, rotation structure, and postrotation feedback mechanisms. The aim is to present the development of the program as a resource for both residents and program directors to help create and maximize existing rotations at their own institutions. Learners must complete predeparture requirements that include completion of a musculoskeletal rotation and global health didactics intended to provide foundational knowledge in physiatry and global health. Postrotation requirements include the residency program's standardized evaluation form, resident survey, and self-reflection essay. Experience from a novel 4-wk pilot rotation to Punta Gorda, Belize, is described to exemplify Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-based learning objectives as well as the benefits of a formalized rotation structure. Using this unique set of learning objectives and proposed rotation requirements, the authors believe that physical medicine and rehabilitation residency programs can develop valuable global health learning experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-808
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2021


  • Curriculum
  • Elective
  • Global Health
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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