Global Health

Overview of Program

The University of Rochester Family Medicine Residency Program, in affiliation with Shoulder to Shoulder, has a longitudinal site in San José de San Marcos de Sierra, Intibucá, Honduras, where we go twice a year for two weeks. We are in partnership with the San José community and work on their self-identified needs (water quality and access, improved cookstoves, community health education and improved agriculture) as well as provide medical care. San José is a very rural, remote location with no running water and no electricity. Our goal is twofold: to give our residents, medical students and faculty an outstanding experience in sustainable development in the context of a long-term relationship with a community and to improve the health of the people of San José. For more information and photographs of our work in Honduras please visit the global health section of our department website as well as the San Jose Partners website! Click on either of these links for our semi-annual trip reports dating back to 2003.

Location of Program

San José de San Marcos de Sierra, Intibucá, Honduras. This is in southwestern Honduras, 20 miles north of the Honduran/El Salvadorean border.


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Description of Field Experience

Honduran family from San Jose de San Marcos de Sierra

Honduran family from San Jose
de San Marcos de Sierra

The group (12 to 15 people per trip) consists of medical students, family medicine residents and faculty, nursing students, dental faculty and residents, and Rochester community members. We split the group between clinical care and community health projects, and everyone gets a chance to participate in both types of activity. Current community health projects include fluoride rinse programs at local schools, lay midwife teaching, improved cookstove installations, water filtration and storage projects, Community Health Worker training, and health surveys of local villages. We stay in tents in a school compound and have an excellent Honduran cook. We see patients in a makeshift clinic; no labs or X-rays are available. The terrain is hilly, so we do lots of hiking when going out to neighboring villages! Click here to read our most recent trip report (Spring 2014).

Description of Didactics

Women health volunteers display certificates after completion of domestic violence training.

Women health volunteers display certificates
after completion of domestic violence training.

Two half-days of global health teaching per year; Global Health Book Club, which meets 4-6 times per year ( listing of books read); in San José, lectures every night, with all participants expected to give a talk on a global health subject. More information on didactics.

Description of Faculty Involvement

Each trip has a minimum of two faculty members. Dr. Doug Stockman, Director of Global Health, goes on every trip. Doug is author of Community Assessment: Guidelines for Developing Countries, and has three years' experience in West Africa. Dr. Barbara Gawinski, Associate Global Health Director, coordinates book club and meetings in Rochester. A total of seven faculty members have gone to Honduras since the program started in 2003. Many of our faculty share a passion for global health. Read more information about our faculty involved in global development throughout the world.

Approximate Time of Year/Duration of Trips

October/November and May of each year; two weeks per trip.

Additional Global Health Resources

Global Health - AAFP logo American Academy of Family Physicians:
International Family Medicine Homepage
Family Medicine Residencies with Global Health
STFM logo Society for Teachers of Family Medicine:
Group on Global Health
GHEC logo Global Health Education Consortium
Shoulder to Shoulder Logo Shoulder to Shoulder