May 22, 2023

Woll Scholarships to support international electives: Application Deadline June 26

Global REACH is accepting applications for Woll Scholarships from UMMS students planning international electives in low- and middle-income country settings.

UMMS student Jessica Waninger with a diabetic retinopathy outreach team from Kenya's Kisii Eye Hospital.

Established with the generous support of Drs. Douglas and Margo Yellin Woll, the awards provide up $2,500 in support of clinical electives that include a scholarly component. Applications are being accepted now through June 26 for experiences planned in summer or fall of this year.

This marks the first of two application periods anticipated this year, with a second window planned in November for students traveling in the winter or spring of 2024.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing not only an increase in the number of students traveling abroad, but also a strong interest in scholarly work that extends beyond traditional clinical electives,” said Global REACH administrative director Tania Piotrowski, MHSA. “We remain grateful to the Woll family whose generous gift continues to support our students’ passion for global health.”

First introduced in 2015, the scholarships have helped 18 third- and fourth-year students embarking on overseas experiences to date in places like Brazil, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Typical experiences comprise a one- to two-month international clinical clerkship that also incorporates a scholarly component (e.g., research, a quality improvement initiative, or an educational project etc.).

Past projects have included mentored research on hypertension among expectant mothers in Ghana; the creation of an exchange field guide laying groundwork for future surgical electives in Uganda; and assisting with an ongoing community screening project in rural Kenya for diabetes and diabetic retinopathy.

“My time in Kenya at Kisii Eye Hospital was transformative and gave me a renewed perspective on public health, healthcare acquisition, and healthcare delivery,” said Jessica Waninger, who spent a month at Kenya’s Kissi Eye Hospital earlier this year. “This experience reinforced my desire to participate in global and local outreach.”

Over the past two years, five Woll Scholarship recipients have traveled to Ghana for electives and projects within the obstetrics and gynecology departments at partner teaching hospitals there.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have had this experience,” said Namratha Atluri, who visited Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, in Accra, last year. “I have always known global health would be an important part of my future career, but this trip has helped me to gain new perspectives and additional skills in developing projects, as well as a wide network of Ghanaian physicians whom I plan to stay in touch with.”

Learn more about Woll Scholarships and other Global REACH student funding opportunities here.