Last week, one of the national medical student organizations was holding "Primary Care Week" to spotlight some of the disparities and needs in primary care. As part of this, some medical students at the U of M were holding a series of lunchtime talks. One was centered on international medicine, and I was invited to speak.
It was a great opportunity, and fairly well attended by the medical students (or "studs"), with whom international medicine is a very popular topic. For my part, I talked a little about what our plans are for the future, as well as my past experiences abroad both as a medical student and as a resident.
Afterwards, multiple students came up and asked us about a number of topics. The motivations towards international work are various, and for the most part, admirable. The enthusiasm seems to be highest earlier on in medical education, when principles shine bright, and seeming problems with practicalities seem easy to overcome. Given that the options entertained in Africa for us now all have to do with education of Africans, the way to most effectively guide students and residents remains a particularly important topic.