International exchange program offers new experiences for medical residents

A new partnership between Sparrow, Michigan State University and Mexico’s Yucatan Department of Health will foster opportunities for medical education, training, research, and outreach between the Mexican state and mid-Michigan.

The Global Health: Medical Residency Exchange Program is expected to begin in July when the first medical residents travel from Lansing to the Yucatan capital of Merida. Its organizers are already exploring possibilities that may include collaborative research and clinical work.

“Our residency program applicants have shown great interest in learning about and experiencing international health care delivery systems,” said Ted Glynn, M.D., Vice President of Medical Education at Sparrow. “With this partnership, we are able to provide that to our residents.”

Glynn and other leaders from Sparrow, along with representatives from MSU’s Institute of International Health, recently returned from Merida, where they met with Yucatan state health department, university and hospital administrators to solidify plans for the two-year initiative. The program will be coordinated through the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“The intent of the trip was to formalize the medical resident exchange program between Hospital O’Horan and Sparrow and to conduct a site visit with Marista University School of Medicine to explore the possible research partnerships,” said Reza Nassiri, director of the MSU Institute of International Health.

Jacob Rowan, an MSU associate professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine, will coordinate the activities from Merida. Rowan was previously based in Merida to coordinate a medical education exchange between the Yucatan and the College of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition, the Institute of International Health offers an annual study abroad course for MSU undergraduates.

“We’re very proud of the groundwork that Nassiri and Rowan have done in Merida, Mexico,” said William Strampel, dean of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. “The collaboration with Sparrow will enable us to build on established efforts to offer residents rich and rewarding experiences.”

The resident exchange will be piloted for two years. At the conclusion, it will be evaluated and the partners will explore options for expanding and potentially adding a medical student exchange or telemedicine.

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