International Medical Education and Mission Award
Rural Health Education and Services (RHES) believes in the value of serving at home and abroad. The International Medical Education and Mission ("IMEM") Award supports international clinical education rotations and medical missions. Other educational or mission experiences will not be considered.
IMEM Awards provide opportunities for resident physicians, fellows, and students who desire to study and serve internationally. Each award is $1,000.
Priority is given to students, resident physicians, and fellows who have a desire to pursue a practice in a rural or urban underserved area upon completion of their training.
*Locations in remote rural United States, where access to primary care is beyond a reasonable distance/time of travel, may be considered. Domestic mission locations cannot be associated with academic curriculum.
- United States Citizen
- Student, resident physician, or fellow in one of the following accredited programs in the United States:*
- Resident physician or fellow
- Allopathic or Osteopathic medical student
- Nursing student in a BSN, MSN, or DNP program
- Physician Assistant student
- Dental or dental hygienist students
- Master of Social Work (MSW) student
- or other clinical health care program
*University of Kansas Medical Center students, resident physicians, and fellows must secure approval for an international educational rotation by the Office of International Programs (OIP) prior to receiving this award.
Application Cycles: February 15 to March 31 and October 15 to November 30
Award winners ("Awardees") will be notified within 6 weeks after the close of each cycle. Awards in the amount of $1,000 each will be distributed approximately 6 weeks after the awardee has returned the required W-9 and acceptance letter.
The award may be considered taxable income. Please consult your tax professional for details about how this taxable income may affect you.
Responsibilities of Awardees
- Provide a signed W-9 to RHES upon acceptance of the award.
- Complete the international education or medical mission within the time periods set forth in the award application.
- Within 7 days, complete an emailed follow-up survey upon the completion of the international education or medical mission trip.
If awarded an IMEM Award, the Awardee understands and acknowledges that they will be considered in default if they do not complete the international education or medical mission on the dates identified herein. In the event Awardee is considered to be in default, they must repay the full amount of the IMEM Award to RHES within thirty (30) days of the date of such default.
“I had the most amazing time in Niger. I spent the first month at Danja Fistula Center where I cared for specific vulnerable populations, including patients with leprosy, chronic wounds, and birth-related injuries. I then spent the remainder of my time at Galmi Mission Hospital where I provided full-spectrum family medicine services. My main focus was on maternity and newborn care. As such, I provided many women's health services including vaginal and surgical deliveries, gynecologic services, and routine prenatal care. I also cared for infants in the NICU. I spent my last month in Galmi doing adult and pediatric medicine, both in clinic and inpatient. This really pushed me and grew my tropical disease knowledge. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to serve in a cross-cultural setting. The patient population I cared for was so welcoming and I really had a difficult time saying goodbye.”
- Taylor Russell, fellow at Via Christi International Family Medicine in Wichita who received a $1,000 IMEM Award to support her 2023 global health trip to Niger.
“This international rotation with Child Family Health International was aimed at educating senior medical students on the structure and current state of healthcare in the Philippines. The first segment was spent discussing the system, identifying elements of public versus private sector, and how they are building their universal model ‘PhilHealth.’ The latter half was spent on a rural island with the Municipal Health Officer, seeing patients in clinic and working with healthcare workers to discuss the services offered. This entire program provided me with an invaluable learning experience on the challenges of rural medicine when socioeconomic and geographic barriers impact access and outcomes. This experience has reassured my desire to practice medicine in underserved communities. I know that I want to practice in the Midwest, specifically Kansas, because this is community I know most. Rural Kansas has a lot of work yet to be done and I think my efforts are best served here. Alongside my career here, I want to partner with another international organization long term to assist in their efforts.”
- Kyle Rampetsreiter, fourth-year medical student at KU School of Medicine in Kansas City who received a $1,000 IMEM Award to support a 2023 global health trip to the Philippines.
“City of Hope was initially founded as a primary school and has since expanded into a secondary school and a health center. The health center was started to provide health care to the children at the school but has expanded to OB care as well as general care for the community. I spent most of my time working there with the clinical officer who runs the health center along with a midwife nurse. I initially wanted to study family planning perceptions in the region, and I did get to do this some, but my plans changed as I experienced the needs of the area. I shifted my focus to learning about health systems in Tanzania and how to improve the overall health of a community rather than simply providing sick care. I worked together with the founder and the CEO of HopeCo (the organization who run City of Hope) to explore gaps in care and discuss how to improve the health center. One of those improvements came while I was there; I discovered an unused Butterfly ultrasound someone had donated, but no one knew how to use it. Therefore, I worked with the staff to train them on its use with my phone, especially in OB care. They are still looking for a compatible device to work with it but will hopefully have a functional ultrasound there soon.”
- Emily Long, resident physician at Ascension St Vincent's East Family Medicine Residency in Birmingham, Alabama. Emily received a $1,000 IMEM award to support her 2023 global health trip to Tanzania.
"I spent four weeks within a rural hospital in Jamaica. I was able to provide health care and learn so much about Jamaican culture. It was such a moving experience to see the stark contrasts between healthcare systems and be able to provide my own knowledge to local doctors there. The IMEM award allowed me to further my own cultural perspective while providing medical care to those in need; a once in a lifetime experience.”
- Elizabeth Colvin, third-year medical student at the Campbell School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lillington, North Carolina. Elizabeth received a $1,000 IMEM award to support a 2023 global health trip to Jamaica.
“I went to Guatemala to work in a clinic called Mayan Medical Aid, located in Santa Cruz La Laguna, a small village on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Patients are primarily indigenous Guatemalans. Their primary language is K'achikel, an indigenous Mayan language. Two nurses triage patients, interpret from Spanish to K'achikel, start IVs and administer medications. While I was there, I stayed in the community and during my brief time, I was able to make connections and develop relationships with clinic staff and with patients in the community. In clinic, I evaluated and diagnosed patients, administered injections, and did prenatal ultrasounds. I saw patients with both acute and chronic medical conditions. Being able to provide healthcare in a different context and environment from my residency clinic was helpful in many ways. I saw many infectious diseases that are uncommon in the US, was able to improve my Spanish fluency, and was able to experience a taste of life in a rural Guatemalan community.”
- Molly Hamilton, resident physician at the Cahaba-University of Alabama at Birmingham Family Medicine Residence who received a $1,000 IMEM award to support her 2023 global health trip to Guatemala.
“I had a great time in Thailand learning about the healthcare system, endemic diseases, and the different approaches Thai physicians employ. The doctors in rural Thailand had limited resources so it was enlightening to see the conservative measures they took to treat the same illnesses American patients have. The trip also gave me insight into the herbal medicine part of Thai culture as we spent a few days working with Thai Alternative Medicine doctors. I also helped educate the university's medical students on the versatility and application of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS).”
- Min Ji Son, fourth-year medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine who received a $1,000 IMEM Award toward a 2023 global health trip to Thailand.
"My experience in Ghana was insightful and eye-opening. I worked in a large, busy trauma center in Kumasi with local emergency medicine residents and Ghanaian attending physicians. I witnessed and got to assist in resuscitating patients with multisystem traumatic injuries, tropical diseases like severe malaria, and many other conditions that we may not see often in Kansas City. While I did see some common diseases and injuries, having limited resources complicated most treatment plans that I would normally pursue at KUMC. I met some wonderful people both inside and outside the hospital, whom I hope to see again!
"Even though I had participated in several mobile clinics prior to this experience, I realize now that I did not understand the nature of global emergency care and services until I worked in a busy hospital in central Ghana. This experience was insightful and I met so many wonderful people.”
- Daniel Masin, resident physician at the University of Kansas Emergency Medicine program who received a $1,000 IMEM Award to support a 2022 medical mission trip to Ghana
“I spent four weeks in Pamplona, Spain, where I observed and scrubbed into cases in the OR, participated in clinic, and got to know the attendings, residents, and medical students. Overall, the experience was incredibly stretching, challenging, and rewarding. I learned a lot about the differences in medical education and healthcare infrastructure in Spain vs the USA. It was exactly the experience I was looking for! This trip has reminded me how much I grow and learn when I'm surrounded by a new, unfamiliar culture, and how that growth will benefit my future patients.”
– Alyssa Belford, fourth-year KU Medical Student in Kansas City who received a $1,000 IMEM Award toward a 2023 global health trip to Spain
"Our focus was on the rural Guatemalan community of San Pedro La Laguna. There were many different facets of medicine that were faced with and had to respond to with limited resources. Our main focus was in the local hospital where we saw patients that came in every day with a plethora of different health concerns. We were also able to observe how a different culture responds to similar health concerns that we have here in the states. Another aspect of our trip was that of educating the community on chronic disease management. We spent time at the local markets recruiting people to come and get their blood pressure and blood sugars checked and found a staggering amount that needed medication or further evaluation. It was an incredible opportunity to integrate with the culture and to hear about why traditional medicine is a ‘plan B’ for most Guatemalan people.”
– Wyatt Bell, second-year KU medical student in Wichita who received a $1,000 IMEM Award toward a 2023 global health trip to Guatemala.