Global Health & Disparities

Better Care for All

Students in the Global Health & Disparities (GHD) Path want to …

  • Collaborate across boundaries to break down barriers to health care for vulnerable populations,
  • Become leaders in understanding and changing the root causes of health disparities in the U.S. and in low- and middle-income countries,
  • Expand their cultural competency in communicating and finding common ground with people in other communities, and
  • Develop a network of relationships within and outside UM to promote personal and career goals in addressing health disparities at home and abroad.
A health care team on an international trip

The GHD Path of Excellence was the first path program offered to Michigan medical students. It was created to provide students an opportunity to integrate foundational, investigative and experiential learning to become agents of sustainable change to reduce domestic and global health disparities.

The program aims to provide a flexible, mentored, self-regulated environment to shape student learning within the domains of:

  • Global and Domestic Burden of Disease,
  • Reforming Health Care Systems Through Collaboration,
  • Scholarship of Transformation, and
  • Professional Development.


The GHD experience centers on a four-year relationship with a GHD Advisor, with additional communication and support from over a dozen GHD Advisors. Each student also completes a scholarly capstone project based on an 8-10 week field experience. Other key activities include leadership development through local field projects in southeast Michigan and a series of seminars that include exploration of career paths with experienced faculty and small group exercises to consolidate learning.

GHD partners with Global REACH to facilitate UMMS students' activities in global health disparities and with the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) to facilitate students’ experiences in domestic settings.

The GHD Path is operated by a Faculty Steering Group and Advisors, with regular input from students.

GHD Scholarship Program

Senior medical students enrolled in the GHD Path who identify supplementary opportunities for 1-2 month experiences in low-resource settings – both international and domestic – are eligible to apply for support. The experiences must focus on areas such as research, development/implementation of innovative health-related interventions, program evaluation, needs assessment or educational program development.

Student input has been absolutely vital for the Global Health and Disparities Path of Excellence. They are also very interested in being active very early in the field, getting to know leaders on a personal basis and in developing networks with those who are doing direct work related to alleviating disparities.

Brent Williams, M.D., M.P.H., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Director for the Global Health & Disparities Path of Excellence

Brent Williams, M.D., Ph.D.


Jason Bell, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.