International Medicine Track

Marshall Family Medicine's International/Global Medicine Track was the brainchild of Dr John Walden(1943-2020), and the first in the USA. His own relationships with indigenous tribes in the jungles of South America spanned five decades. From the inception of the program in the 1980s, the training emphasizes respect and appreciation for marginalized peoples, opportunities to gain competence in tropical medicine, and individualized programming to meet the interests of the residents. Our graduates involvement in global health has been as varied as our residents: positions with the CDC, State Department, global missions, university global health faculty and NGO's; contributions to clinical care and trainings, family medicine development and research; and  co-producing a documentary in Malawi and founding a film company in Rwanda which promotes health through entertaining local programming. With these involvements have grown a network of friends and colleagues worldwide for residents tap into and be ushered into. The present COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the global expansion of family medicine, underlines the importance of training global family physicians prepared to provide and ensure quality primary care globally and locally.  With our faculty's dedication to teaching and mentoring, we believe there is no better place to learn and explore your future role in global family medicine than where it first began.

"With the financial support of the program, I attended the Military Tropical Medicine Course in Bethesda, Maryland, and rotated through community clinics in the Ecuadorian high Andes during my first and second years. Working closely with former International Health track graduate Dr. Martha Sommers, and faculty member Dr. Cynthia Pinson, my final year culminated with an intense two months of personal and professional growth at Nkhoma Hospital in rural Malawi, where I worked alongside Malawian family medicine residents and dedicated global health physicians. The days were long, beautiful, heartbreaking, and unpredictable, filled with everything from childhood malnutrition to end-stage AIDS to rare tropical infections, and the camaraderie forged through the intensity of those shared experiences has not faded. Since graduation, I have returned to the Andes, providing medical consultation for a community health organization in rural Peru."

- Nick Raubitschek, 2018 program graduate

This program will allow participants to:

  • Complete a fully accredited residency in Family Medicine
  • Receive special training in community-orientated family medicine with an emphasis in global health
  • Complete international supervised electives in resource-poor settings
  • Achieve a diploma in International Health and Rural Medicine
  • Work toward optional board certification in Tropical Medicine

In addition to providing course work at Marshall relevant to international medicine, we will:

  • Provide a one month learning experience away from the School of Medicine in the first year in addition to the usual CME benefits;
  • Facilitate participate in a multi-week course in tropical medicine during your second year; and
  • Facilitate a two-month clinical experience in a third-world country for which we will cover airfare and lodging expenses. This rotation would be tailored to your educational goals as well as your travel and language background.

The participants will have many opportunities throughout their three years to grow in areas connected to global medicine which our diverse faculty has special interests and experience. These include community and public health, parasitology, anthropology, preventive medicine, tropical medicine, travel medicine, occupational medicine, obstetrics, rural practice, teaching, curriculum development, family medicine specialty development in Africa, and serving the needs of the underserved.


Dr. Steele

Dr. Curtis


Flora Park, DO

Louis West, MD

The Choice is Yours

Recent Rotations

Hangzhou, China

Institution: Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine 
Duration: 4 weeks
Dates: January 3rd - January 30th, 2019
Clinical Work: Patient Care - Primary Care, Hospital Medicine

Diagnosis Seen:  facial paralysis, tinnitus/hearing loss, migraine HA, Guillain-Barre syndrome, insomnia, depression/anxiety, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, gastroenteritis, malnutrition, herpes zoster, sinusitis, torticollis, cervical spondylosis, bronchitis, asthma, lung cancer, liver cirrhosis, neuropathy/radiculopathy, low back pain, UTI, menstrual abnormalities, prenatal care.

Description: PGY3 rotation through various departments in a hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) serving the Zhejiang province. Prior introductory TCM self-study was reinforced with comprehensive and in-depth clinical instruction regarding TCM theory. I worked with different physicians in the department of Acupuncture, both inpatient and outpatient, which also includes the related therapies of moxibustion and cupping. In addition, time was spent in adult and pediatric Tuina massage, which have some interesting and significant differences in their respective approaches. Finally, TCM Internal Medicine was studied in the outpatient setting, with emphasis on diagnosis through interrogation, evaluation of the pulse and tongue, and treatment with traditional Chinese herbal remedies, including formulas, decoctions, and TCM patent medications.

Uttarakhand, India

Institution: Child Family Health International 
Duration: 4 weeks
Dates: March 31st - April 28th, 2018
Clinical Work: Patient Care - Primary Care, Public Health

Diagnosis Seen:  anxiety, depression, insomnia, acne, warts, measles, mumps, URI, debilitating chronic pain due to scoliosis or arthritides, cervical spondylosis, intervertebral disc herniation, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus, obesity, malnutrition, dehydration, gastroenteritis, IBS, well-child visits.

Description: PGY2 rotation with teaching in Homeopathy, Yoga and Ayurveda, Pediatrics, Cardiology, General Practice, Physical Therapy, Integrative Medicine. Half of the rotation was spent working with physicians trained in either traditional (Homeopathy, Yoga, Ayurveda) or modern medicine in Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand state. In addition, 1 week was dedicated to rural medicine in the small Himalayan village of Patti, with health promotion visits to nearby villages. The last week took place in Rishikesh, which is a holy pilgrimage site located on the Ganges River. During this time, I stayed and participated in yoga courses at an ashram and worked with a family of physicians providing rehabilitative and integrative medicine services for the local population and international visitors to the area.


Sponsor your membership in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; Send you to the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene ,  the annual national Global Health Council meeting  or the annual American Academy of Family Medicine Global Health Summit ;  for one of your three years.

Links to research Dr John Walden co-authored on the impact of global health training during residency:

Links to research co-authored by program graduate Dr. Timothy K. Thomas on HIV and breastfeeding in Kenya:

Link to research by program graduate Dr Brent Burkett on Obstetric characteristics of two Mayan populations in the highlands of Guatemala:

Link to article by program graduate Dr Jerry Koleski on misconceptions about international health:

Link to article co-authored by program graduate and faculty Dr. Martha Sommers on censoring the CDC:

Dr. Martha Sommers and Global Health Track Resident Dr. Jamie Anderson were happy to be invited by host Dr. Kennedy B. Nkhoma to discuss COVID-19 and Vaccines on Low Profile Malawi. The target audience was Malawians and members of the Malawi Diaspora. The discussion aired live at 8 pm Malawi time on February 21, 2021 to 1.2K viewers, many asking questions; and so far has had 2.4K views.

Please click the below link to view the discussion.

Jim Creighton Receives the Emil M. Mrak International Award

Jim Creighton has been living and working in Africa since the early 1980s. After graduating from medical school at UC Davis, he was the first resident at Marshall University’s International Health Program in family medicine. As an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer, he oversaw medical services, health training and safety of Peace Corps volunteers in both the West Africa and southern Africa region. Creighton later took a position with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the Director of the Southern Africa Regional Aids Program and as Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Country Director in Lesotho. He currently resides in Rwanda, where he founded a film company, Akagera Productions, which has the goal of educating local populations on health and social issues through entertaining local programming, such as the recently produced TV series, Mutoni.​

Dr.John Walden, who founded our program,  was a founding board member for Tribal Outreach Medical Assistance.

Dr Martha Sommers, graduate and present faculty member, coproduced award winning documentary, Brink of Survival.

Link to trailer:

Graduates Brent Burkett and Jennifer Thoene have long-term blogged on their family's medical mission work:

Newsletters and Articles

Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM): Dream School - How One Patient Encounter Can Change The Direction Of Your Life

The perseverance and process toward creating a medical school to serve South Sudan and the Gambella Region of Ethiopia