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Rotations and Exchanges

Global Health St. Stephen's HospitalInternational rotations include exchanges, up to two months, to various rotation sites including South Africa, Uganda, India, Tanzania and others.

The type and length of each rotation is defined and approved by faculty in the global health department at DMU. On students return, they complete a reflection in the form of heath- and culture-related questions. Oral presentations on- and off-campus are encouraged.

Des Moines University’s global health department is developing different sites for international rotations. Elective international rotations will be considered by the associate dean for global health and students are encouraged to participate in these opportunities. An international rotation can only be scheduled as an elective rotation and may be from one week up to eight weeks in length. The maximum number of international rotation weeks eligible for graduation credit is eight weeks. The supervising physician can be a member of DMU faculty or a healthcare provider approved by the associate dean of global health.

It is important to note the extent of student support by DMU for international travel. Students traveling overseas for trips approved through the global health deptartment can take advantage of free immunizations and medical advice through the Student Health Clinic on campus. Evacuation assistance provided by the school assures “around-the-clock protection” in case of emergencies or if a quick evacuation out of the country is required. Selected students will receive financial support for expenses incurred during approved international experiences. With the administrative support of the global health department, planning a trip abroad is a smooth process.


Students should consider the potential dangers of any site outside the United States. Given the potential for physical danger, the University requires students to complete the required paperwork and course work and submit verification of having done so to Chris Catrenich in the global health department.

The documents listed below will walk you through this process. The first is a checklist of the required paperwork. The next are waver of liability forms that will need to be filled out and signed as part of the required paperwork.

  1. Student checklist for international rotations
  2. International travel waiver (non-sponsored)
  3. International travel waiver (sponsored site)
  4. Requirements for international rotations

Clinical affairs requires that the clinical request form must be submitted to them 45 days in advance to the start of the rotation. Cancelling an international rotation will not be allowed within 30 days of the start of the rotation.

Health requirements: national and international rotations and travel

Checklist for international rotations and travel

This checklist is provided as a portion of the preparations required for any international rotation. Note that a number of these actions and recommendations are not required by the college or by law but are listed as reminders.

  1. Contact the global health department about this rotation. The global health department prefers you contact them at least six months in advance of the beginning of the rotation. Keep in mind that an international rotation must be approved no later than three months before the start of the rotation.
  2. For DMU “non-sponsored” sites, the student must provide the following before a rotation request will be considered:
    1. Demographics from the hospital, practice or clinic that will serve as the supervising body.
    2. Curriculum vitae of the supervising physician.
    3. Letter of acceptance from the supervising physician.
  3. Current immunizations for the region to be visited (
  4. Student Health Services can provide the required travel vaccinations on approved trips. Call the DMU family medicine clinic 515-271-1710 to make an appointment or for additional information on travel vaccinations. Generally, vaccinations should be obtained at least 3 weeks prior to travel, if not sooner
  5. Verification of medical insurance for the region or countries to be visited (If your medical insurance does not cover you while overseas, please check out this website: to purchase a policy that will cover you). If you have medical insurance through Des Moines University with AETNA, then you have coverage overseas.
  6. Provision of family or next of kin with contact information for you while out of the country
  7. Complete waiver of liability forms.
  8. Complete requirements for international rotations form.
  9. Read the Global Health safety document
  10. Student understands that each day on their rotation, they will need to record procedures performed on a paper document and provide that information to the global health department when the rotation is complete.
  11. Register with the state department
  12. Current mailing address and phone number
  13. Worldwide Assistance card and sticker are received from the global health department
  14. After Dr. Shah’s approval – the clinical coordinator is contacted and rotation is put on schedule

After rotation is complete

  1. Student evaluations are submitted to the global health department.
  2. Reimbursements are complete (if applicable).
  3. Daily procedure documents recorded on student’s PDA for clinical affairs.