The Ramon Murphy, MD Program for Global Health Education

At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS), we believe that every medical student should have the opportunity to understand health from a global perspective.

The Ramon Murphy, MD Program for Global Health Education, situated within the Department of Medical Education, is dedicated to improving the health of underserved communities. We train future leaders in global health through innovative curricula, and provide real-world experience—both in the classroom and in the field at our domestic and international partner sites.

Dr. Ramon Murphy’s long and distinguished career was dedicated to caring for New York’s underserved children and adolescents, and his work at Mount Sinai was transformational. With his colleagues, Dr. Murphy began many global health education initiatives at Mount Sinai, expanding the reach of our institution across borders and cultures in the service of those most in need. Dr. Murphy impressed upon generations of medical students their responsibility to care for the poor and disadvantaged and their communities across the world.

With an emphasis on self-awareness, cultural and social sensitivity, participatory methods, and ethics, the program strives to instill a sense of responsibility to a global community among students.

Students who participate in our global health program are paired with Mount Sinai faculty mentors, who bring a range of experience and resources to their roles, from NIH-funded research to backgrounds in public health programming and clinical care in post-disaster settings.

Contact the Global Health Education team if you have any questions about the program.

Through the Global Health Summer Research Program, medical students can conduct global health research projects between their first and second years at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). Projects are offered at various locations abroad, as well as in New York City.

When selected for the Global Health Summer Research Program, students are matched with a Mount Sinai research mentor during the fall semester of their first year. Students then work over the winter and spring to design their research—collaborating with their mentor and field-partner organizations—and complete the scholarly project over the summer, spending 8 weeks at the partner site. Projects can include:

  • Design, implementation, or evaluation of a public health program
  • Health needs assessment in a partner community
  • Quality improvement study for a health care delivery system

Students participating in the Global Health Summer Research Program will receive funding for travel, accommodations, and project-related expenses.

Exterior of a traditional Asian building

Previous project examples and locations are listed below (Note: There is no guarantee that these projects will be offered in the future):

  • Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs at a Haitian Orphanage and Surrounding Communities
  • Applications of Health System Design in Accra, Ghana
  • Building a Long-Term Community Recovery Program in Japan Following Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
  • Evaluation and Management of Malnutrition in Children in Rural Uganda 
  • Examining Access to Health Care in a Diverse Immigrant Community of New York City
  • Identification of Pediatric Patients with Sepsis at a Community Hospital in Santiago, Dominican Republic

For current Mount Sinai students, more information about the Global Health Summer Research Program can be found on the Global Health Blackboard page.



The Distinction in Global Health (DIGH) recognizes graduating MD students who have shown significant dedication to global health during their time at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) through scholarly work, education, leadership, and/or service.

Every year, a committee of faculty and administrators dedicated to global health evaluates the applications. All applications are reviewed by the committee for consensus on awarding DIGH. Decisions are made based solely on the quality and sufficiency of the information in the application. No external opinions beyond the application are incorporated into the decision process.

Graduating medical students in good academic standing are eligible to apply for the Distinction in Global Health during their last spring semester at ISMMS. For current ISMMS students, more information about the Distinction in Global Health can be found on the Global Health Blackboard page.

Congratulations to the 2019 Distinction in Global Health award recipients:

  • Caroline Beyer
  • Leela Chockalingam
  • Rui (Rae) Dong
  • Alisse Hannaford
  • Farrah Khan
  • Anirudh Kumar
  • Hazel Lever
  • Joe-Ann Moser

2019 distinction in global health awardees

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) commits core curricular time to teaching global health content. This reflects the School’s mission to produce advocates and activists who are aware of local and global disparities in health care access and health outcomes, conscious of populations that are disproportionately vulnerable to disparities, and understand their own roles in improving the health of these populations—whether in New York City or abroad.

Student takes another student's blood pressure as part of an exercise

InFocus 1—East Harlem Health and Health Equity 

InFocus 1 is a mandatory week-long course offered in the fall of first year. InFocus 1 provides first-year medical students with an overview of the status and determinants of health and health care in East Harlem, and an understanding of the complexity and responsibilities of practicing as a health care provider in this and similar environments. The curriculum includes a variety of small group discussions, lectures, and field activities in East Harlem.

InFocus 2—Global Health 

InFocus 2 is a mandatory week-long course offered in the spring of first year, and builds on the lessons learned from InFocus 1. By looking at the global distribution of disease and mortality, first-year medical students are encouraged to consider the specific health care needs of communities in the U.S. and abroad. This immersive program further highlights the complexity of the context in which health and health systems exist globally, and introduces students to strategies and tools that are used to address gaps in health status and health care delivery.

Global Health Essentials Course 

The Global Health Essentials course prepares first-year students in the Global Health Summer Research Program for their summer projects. The course aims to help students develop greater cultural competency and mental models for analyzing their positions and acting ethically in global health settings. The course also provides tools and information around health, safety and security while in the field. The Global Health Essentials Course is required for all students in the Global Health Summer Research Program, but is open to other interested students as well. 

Students are offered a generous 10 weeks of elective time in Year 3, and 18 weeks of elective time in Year 4. Elective time can be used to pursue scholarly activity, take clinical electives at ISMMS or its affiliates, visit academic institutions in the United States, or – through Global Health Electives – to pursue opportunities abroad.

Global Health Electives provide a great opportunity for students to engage in clinical practice, research, or education in an international setting. Global Health Electives include both clinical and non-clinical opportunities, and are available to all third- and fourth-year medical students.

For those students who have already participated in global health work during first or second year, a Global Health Elective can provide an opportunity for continued work on their Global Health Summer Project and/or Scholarly Year research agenda.  GH Electives can also provide the opportunity to participate in clinically-focused global health activities.  These clinically-focused electives allow students to enhance their skills and knowledge as GH clinicians and clinician-advocates by:

  • Developing clinical skills necessary to practice medicine in resource-limited areas
  • Experiencing cultural differences in providing patient care
  • Gaining experience in communicating with patients in a foreign language
  • Gaining exposure to disease entities and presentations not commonly seen in the U.S.
  • Gaining an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the manners in which the American health care system differs from those of other nations on political/legal, economic, and ethical levels

The selection of Global Health Electives offered can change every year; the most up-to-date list can be found in the Elective Course Catalogue.

Students pursuing an elective abroad are required to complete a number of pre-travel requirements listed on the Global Health Blackboard page.