Global Health Initiative

The Global Health Initiative at West Suburban Medical Center prepares residents for a global health career. Learn about the curriculum and experiences of past residents in the program.

What Past Residents Have to Say

First and foremost, I believe that West Sub trains you to be a good doctor in resource-poor communities. Furthermore, West Sub attracts residents that are interested in caring for the
underserved, both at home and abroad. As such, there is a community of interested individuals who love to share experiences and provide support. There are opportunities that are already established abroad or the flexibility to pursue personal interests. Maternal Child Health Curriculum and fellows are also often geared towards global health. Lots of self directed learning opportunities available that are prepared for easy access.

-Jeff Larson, Class of 2014

What I like about training at West Suburban is the freedom to develop your own career path. People can train here and have the solid foundation to become a hospitalist, outpatient private practice doctor, work for the CDC, go abroad permanently, do sports medicine, do critical care, perform cesareans, or anything else you could ever dream of doing. Dr. Levin has been very supportive and flexible to allow me to pursue my own interests in global health by developing
my own curriculum built into electives and selectives.

-Josie Norberg, Class of 2012

Curriculum Highlights


  • Coordinated by Dr. Blanca Baldoceda, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Baldoceda graduated from Harvard School of Public Health. She has practiced medicine in Malawi, Chile and Peru and is the current medical director of PCC South Family Health Center.


  • PCC Community Wellness Center partners with UIC School of Public Health in hosting journal clubs with a global health theme. We alternate between the PCC Austin clinic and UIC in hosting the discussions. Coordinated by Dr. Blanca Baldoceda, M.D., M.P.H.


  • Competency in prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage and other OB emergencies, a major cause of global maternal morbidity.
  • Competency in breastfeeding: Daily opportunities on the MCH service to assist mothers with lactation, accompanied by lectures and supervision by lactation nursing specialists.
  • Competency in prevention of perinatal infectious disease, including HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, Chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Competency in general women’s health: all family planning methods, colposcopy, menopause, spontaneous abortion, etc.
  • Opportunities to be first assistant for cesareans as residents and to complete a fellowship in Maternal Child Health.
  • Opportunities to learn from Leah Suarez Abraham, Family Medicine Faculty of the Maternal Child Health service of West Suburban Medical Center and founding physician of the Hospitalito of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.


  • Two months required rotations, with an option of further elective time. The general surgeons at our hospital are personally invested in residents achieving key surgical skills, which is of great need internationally.


  • “As a resident at PCC Salud, I regularly meet patients from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. I regularly manage patients’ isoniazid treatment for latent tuberculosis. I have had patients with history of diagnoses including polio and neurocysticercosis. I treat patients who regularly travel between their home countries and ours for medical treatment.” PCC Salud patients are admitted to West Suburban Medical Center so all residents are exposed to the PCC Salud patient population regardless of their clinic site assignment.
  • Regularly admit patients to the hospital with HIV and have seen first-hand the complications of antiretrovirals and the disease. We have close relationships with Infectious Disease specialists who are eager to teach residents.
  • Every resident is given the option of one “away” elective month. Many residents choose to use this time to go abroad to pursue their goals in global health. Previous trips have included Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Malawi, and the Philippines.
  • A shared residency-wide database of global health publications for further resources and opportunities.
  • A network of graduates of the residency and fellowship who currently or in the past have practiced all over the globe, including the Himalayas, Nepal, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Haiti, and Peru.
  • PCC Community Wellness Center has made the commitment to serve communities in need both in Cook County and globally. The clinic has two specific ongoing initiatives in Malawi and Peru. As an attending or fellow working for PCC, they go abroad to Malawi or Peru without being required to take vacation time, and then make up the clinics when they return. Residents are invited to join these initiatives during their “away” elective month.



  • Toni Lullo, D.O., is a graduate and former director of the WSMC MCH fellowship. She and her physician husband fulfilled their lifelong dream by making a long term commitment to the Hospital Santa Clotilde in the Amazon jungle of Peru. Residents and fellows are invited to join them in Peru for away rotations. You can read about their adventures in the jungle on their blog.
  • To learn more, view our presentation: Global Health: Peru


Many physicians choose to volunteer their time with their own programs:

  • Haiti Disaster Relief: Attendings Dr. Nancy Kuo, Dr. Audrey Wen, Dr. Katie McDonough, Dr. Tuwanda Williamson and then MCH fellow Mark Rastetter all traveled to Haiti after the earthquake.
  • Guatemala: Josie Norberg and Becca DeHoek both participated in the Loyola International Health elective in Guatemala as fourth-year medical students, and returned as residents to supervise the Loyola medical students in the rural villages.