Clerkships

ICAP provides clerkship opportunities for Columbia University medical students to gain on-site experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs in sub-Saharan Africa. 

About ICAP 
The International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP) at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health supports comprehensive HIV-related activities around the world.  ICAP works with host countries and other organizations, principally in sub-Saharan Africa, to build capacity for family-focused HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programs. ICAP programs are funded by a variety of sources, including foundations and the United States government.

For more information on ICAP, please visit http://www.columbia-icap.org.           

Structure
Students will work with an ICAP country office in Ethiopia or Tanzania for a duration of approximately 2 months:

  • Spring: February-May (for 4th-year medical students); or
  • Summer: June-August (for 1st-year medical students).

During each clerkship period, 2 students will be hosted by ICAP-Ethiopia and 2 will be hosted by ICAP-Tanzania.  Students will be paired in order to provide a richer and more supportive experience for learning and reflection.

Supervision and Mentorship
Each student will have both an ICAP-New York-based mentor and a mentor at the relevant ICAP country site.  These mentors will support the student with orientation (both in New York, pre-travel, and also on-site, in the host country), detailed project planning prior to clerkship placement, and skills coaching.  The mentors will work with other ICAP staff on arrangement of logistics such as housing and ground transportation. 

Activities
Students will learn about health care delivery systems in low-resource settings while working on a discrete programmatic project with ICAP team members.  They will spend 3-4 days per week at an ICAP office working on their project, and 1-2 days per week rounding with clinicians at ICAP-supported clinical sites.  Activities will include:

  • Observe patient care;
  • Participate in rounds;
  • Assist care providers with logistical tasks;
  • Participate in multidisciplinary team meetings (depending on language setting);
  • Participate in program implementation activities; and
  • Assist with gathering and analysis of programmatic data.

Examples of past student project activities include:

  • Work with ICAP staff to strengthen a peer-educator-based patient tracking model, to help reduce loss to follow-up rates among a clinic’s patients.  Help with grant-writing to support a new peer educator initiative.
  • Review data on adherence to treatment rates among patients at an ICAP-supported clinic, and work with ICAP staff to determine how more complete data could be collected.

Evaluations and Reports
Students and in-country mentors will each complete evaluations mid-clerkship and at the end of the clerkship, including a standard medical school evaluation form.  ICAP will use these materials to evaluate and improve the clerkship program.

Expectations
Students will be expected to work 40-hour weeks and to demonstrate professionalism, flexibility, cultural sensitivity, and a collaborative spirit.  They should be willing to take initiative and work independently when needed.           

Funding Support
A two-month clerkship has an estimated cost of $5,000 - $7,000 (for flights, lodging, food, ground transportation, etc.).  Funding support of $2,000 - $4,000 may be available in the form of a stipend from P&S and Mailman School of Public Health; students will be responsible for all costs above that amount.

How to Apply
Interested candidates should submit the following to Megan Affrunti (mca2115@columbia.edu):

  • A cover letter.  Please indicate if you are a 1st or 4th year student, preference for country placement (Ethiopia or Tanzania) and desired focus areas, if any.  Please also tell us about your motivation in applying, relevant skills, academic and professional experience, and future career plans.
  • A curriculum vitae

Timelines

  • Applications for 2009 are no longer being accepted. Please check back for opportunities for medical students in 2010.