Internationalization of Medical Education: Columbia Hosts Global Video Conferences

More than 190 students from 12 countries on four continents participated this year in two large video conferences as part of the 2019 Columbia University Irving Medical Center International Collaboration and Exchange Program, known as “ICE.” During the video conferences, which started at the early hours of the morning to accommodate participants in Australia and Asia, students shared presentations on various health care and public health topics. The conferences were hosted by the Hammer Health Sciences Library.

ICE was initiated in 2014 in the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology at VP&S to offer preclinical medical and dental students early international experiences. First-year VP&S and CDM students who participate in the program are able to share knowledge of common subjects with international peers and expand into areas of global health and cultural exchange.

The program, which expands over two semesters, has three parts. During the first and second stages, participating students work in small and later large international groups through videoconferences. For the third part of the program students can travel to the partner institutions and receive lab placements abroad. 

“Our goal is to provide medical and dental students a platform for early networking with peers across the world,” says Anette Wu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medical sciences (in medicine) and of pathology & cell biology at VP&S and director of the ICE program. “Their ability to network and collaborate, as future leaders in their fields, can improve our global health care.”