Globalization has opened the doors for medical students to undertake international health electives, providing an opportunity for them to gain valuable competencies and skills outside their formal curriculum. As the number of medical students embarking on these electives increases, there is a need to structure the electives with specific learning objectives and to ensure adequate educational outcomes.
We describe the International Pediatric Emergency Medicine Elective (IPEME), which is a novel global health elective that brings together students from Canada and the Middle East who are selected on the basis of a competitive application process and brought to Toronto for a 4-week living and studying experience. The program was introduced in 2004 and uses four specific areas to provide its structure: pediatric emergency medicine, global health, leadership, and peace building. The elective uses core CanMEDS competencies to foster cross-cultural dialogue, networking, and cooperation and fulfills the program's aim of using health as a bridge to peace.
The lessons learned from the curriculum planning and implementation process are highlighted and the impact of the program explored to help provide a framework for developing similar international electives.