Emergency Medicine and Global Health

There has never been a time in history where the awareness of international and national health disparities, and a focus on emergency health systems strengthening has been more important. Here at UVM we strive to create residents who are socially conscious, globally minded, and trained to apply a public health lens to their care delivery. The International Emergency Medicine Program here strives to do Bisanzo Global Healthjust that.

The global health faculty have diverse experiences in Central America, South America, South East Asia, and Africa. Mentorship and field experience will be available in additional regions of interest with partners that have been established all over the world. Additional opportunities may include partnership with major international health policy and advocacy organizations.   Residents interested in careers in Global Health will be paired with an experienced faculty member who will serve as a longitudinal mentor throughout residency and beyond.

Global Health Electives

Emergency Medicine is a critical component of global health at UVM. We are uniquely positioned within the University to help lead many of the global health initiatives. The Department of Emergency Medicine has four primary areas of focus in global health: electives, sustainable partnerships, advocacy and research. 

Global Health Resident Opportunities 

Residents in the Department of Emergency Medicine will have up to 8 weeks of elective time that can be used toward global health electives and research opportunities. Elective opportunities will include, but are not limited to;

  • A four week International Trauma Rotation at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town South Africa. This opportunity affords residents the opportunity to work in one of the world’s busiest trauma centers, while partnering with a fellow South African emergency medicine resident (registrar) in a collaborative EM focused education or research project.
  • Uganda, working alongside our colleagues in the Emergency Care Society of Uganda (ECSU) to expand emergency care system development for the country. This opportunity includes multi-lateral in-country education partnerships with Makerere University (Mulago Hospital), and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) Emergency Medicine Residency Programs. Educational opportunities include but are not limited to bedside rotations, educational initiatives (curriculum development, research, ultrasound, policy and advocacy). Additional opportunities include working with our International Health Nursing Program to collaborate with our UVM Global Health Nursing faculty to teach and train nurses in the field of EM, as well as with the Ugandan Out of Hospital Emergency Care (OHEC) Program to work alongside Ugandan EMTs as they build the Ugandan EMS system.
  • Uganda, working alongside a longstanding NGO, Global Emergency Care, that conducts a train-the-trainer model to provide advanced training in emergency care to nurses in rural Uganda. You will have the opportunity to work at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, and Nyakibale Hospital. Through this opportunity residents will have the chance to work alongside physicians, and emergency care practitioners (ECPs) at the bedside and on ultrasound initiatives.
  • Opportunities to work as independent training partners with the World Health Organization’s Emergency, Trauma and Acute Care Programme as trainers for the Basic Emergency Care in sites that are in interested in this training across the globe. Residents will have the opportunity to undergo the BEC Training of the Trainer Course, as well as participate in a BEC training which will then certify them to participate in these trainings world-wide.
  • Additional sites available are those established with the Larner College of Medicine (Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and Dominican Republic).

Global Health Residency Curriculum

Global health topics that are relevant to emergency medicine will be taught as part of the core EM residency curriculum. This will include expanded topics on specific health care conditions and procedures needed in resource limited settings, research methodology, sustainable capacity building, international emergency and disaster response, international policy and simulation.  As all international work is also local, we are expanding opportunities as part of our social justice mission to work more closely with our Vermont New American and Migrant Farmworker populations as well as local organizations focused on these populations here in Vermont.

Global Health at Larner College of Medicine

The Larner College of Medicine and the Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) have created a collaborative partnership to support global health learning and elective opportunities for students, residents, and staff. Our global health experiences focus on sustainable bi-directional medical education partnerships for not only our residents and students at UVM, but also our partnering institutions’ learners. We currently have longstanding partnerships in Uganda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Russia, and the Dominican Republic. 


Katie Wells, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of International Emergency Medicine, has worked for the last five years in Emergency System Development primarily in Vietnam and Mongolia, and now Uganda. Katie completed her MPH at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with a focus on global health policy, and a two-year global health fellowship with the University of Utah Center for Global Surgery. Katie is currently focused on building a residency-wide global health curriculum and collaborative partnerships in global health development for the Department of Emergency Medicine. Additionally, Katie will be responsible for the expansion of global health research for the Department of EM at UVM. 

Mariah McNamara, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, is the Associate Program Director for the UVM/WCHN Global Health Program and is the course director for the Global Health Bridge Course required of third year medical students. She completed her MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health during her fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital focusing on International Health and Humanitarian Studies. 

Mark Bisanzo, MD, DTM&H, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, is the Director of Programming and Co-Founder of Global Emergency Care (GEC). GEC is a non-governmental organization founded in 2007 that works to help build capacity for emergency care delivery and education in low resource settings. GEC has helped to create a program focused on delivering emergency care in rural areas of Uganda by training non-physician clinicians to provide emergency care.  Additionally, GEC has supported and contributed to the post-graduate physician training in Emergency Care that was launched in Uganda in 2017.