||National survey of international electives for global health in undergraduate medical education in Japan, 2011–2014
Suzuki, TomioNishigori, Hiroshi
Nagoya Journal of Medical Science
90 , 2018-02 , Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, School of Medicine
Interest in global health in medical education is increasing in Western countries, whereas data from non-Western countries is scarce. Here, we conducted a nationwide study of international clinical electives at Japanese medical schools from 2011 to 2013. We constructed a 28-item cross-sectional survey in Japanese to investigate the rate and characteristics of both Japanese students going abroad and international students coming on exchange to Japan. The surveys were sent to the administrative offices of all 80 Japanese medical schools in each of the three years, through the Japan Medical Education Foundation. All 80 medical schools responded to the questionnaire (response rate, 100%). An average of 70 of the 80 medical universities provided exchange programs across the three years to allow students to travel abroad as part of the school curriculum and obtain academic credit. The schools provided support in the form of in- and outside-class preparatory programs, tuition fee exemptions and housing. The most popular destinations for Japanese students going abroad were Europe and North America, which may reflect the desire of Japanese students to acquire medical knowledge or experience through exposure to the English language. In contrast, the most common countries of origin of international exchange students coming to Japan were Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan, with pediatrics being the most popular elective. Foreign exchange programs are becoming increasingly incorporated into the Japanese medical education curriculum and can help to strengthen international partnerships and collaborations.