Paths of Excellence: Global Health & Disparities
Surgeons working in an operating room

Collaborate Across Boundaries

The GHD Path of Excellence provides an opportunity for students to become agents of change to reduce 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 humility in communicating and finding common ground with people in other communities
  • Develop a network of relationships within and outside U-M to promote personal and career goals in addressing health disparities at home and abroad

The GHD Path of Excellence provides 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
  • Professional Development


Med students must join this Path in winter of M1 year. The GHD experience centers on a four-year relationship with a GHD Advisor, with additional communication and support from more than a dozen GHD Advisors.

In the Scientific Trunk, students become familiar with the challenges, participants, programs and moral issues in addressing health disparities through a series of seminars with experienced faculty and small group exercises to consolidate learning. Students also take part in local field projects to address health disparities in collaboration with community-based organizations.

GHD students have the option of networking to begin exploring Capstone for Impact (CFI) projects in the Impact Accelerator month following the Scientific Trunk.

In the Branches, students work with a U-M faculty member to complete their CFI based on an 8-10-week field experience. Students also explore the implications of health disparities for their current clinical experiences and careers through a series of seminars and continue to meet with their GHD Advisor to align personal, professional and social goals as they enter residency.

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.