Spring 2024


Hospital Sao Lucas da PCURS
Hospital Sao Lucas da PCURS

Brazil is home to over 200 million people, of which over 20% live in poverty or extreme poverty. The country has received attention for its wide income disparities and other social inequalities. There is a shortage of resources for health, and significant inequities in access to health services across regions of the country in both the private and public systems (SUS).

The David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA has partnered with Pontifícia Universidade Católica Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) in Porto Alegre in Southern Brazil since 2016 in support of our Mozambique partners, including Hospital Central de Maputo (HCM) and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane School of Medicine. As part of this academic collaboration, a new opportunity has opened for DGSOM students to participate in fourth-year clinical electives at PUCRS. Visiting DGSOM students will work daily with medical students, residents, and supervising faculty from PUCRS who speak English while they gain broad exposure to treating conditions such as HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, and dengue in an underserved and resource-limited setting.

Drs. Sahar Ashrafzadeh '23 and Tijana Temelkovska '23 share insights from their global health clinical rotation in Brazil.

Potential training sites in Porto Alegre include:

community health center
Vila Fatima community health center
  • Hospital Sao Lucas da PUCRS (HSL), the University hospital for training and research in Porto Alegre
  • Centro de Extensão Vila Fatima (CEVF), the University primary care center in a very low-income community
  • Hospital Presidente Vargas (HPV), a PUCRS-affiliated public hospital in central Porto Alegre

The rotation in Porto Alegre has been developed with formal goals and objectives. We are seeking students with an interest in caring for underserved populations, and those with enthusiasm for global health, tropical medicine, and health care delivery in resource poor settings. Students will be expected to demonstrate the highest level of maturity, professionalism, and cultural humility.


Students will receive roundtrip airfare and $1000 of additional support for the Porto Alegre clinical rotation. These funds will offset the cost of in-country accommodation and food. Students will need to cover the remaining expenses from other funds, as the cost of this rotation will likely exceed the amount provided through the Global Health Program.

Interviews for this elective will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2023, and limited time windows(s) after September 9th. Students selected for this rotation are required to participate in a mandatory full-day pre-departure training program in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 10, 2024. Upon return home from Brazil, students will be expected to provide feedback through written evaluations and to participate in a mandatory lunchtime feedback session on Thursday, May 30, 2024. Separate from this, students will be asked to attend a site-specific debrief to be arranged upon return from Brazil and prior to graduation.

Rotation dates for this elective have been confirmed. Students applying to this three-week elective must be able to commit to this elective from March 18, 2024, through April 5, 2024. Note that a March 18 start date will require departure from the U.S. by March 16, 2024, at the latest.

Questions regarding this rotation should be directed to Dr. Traci Wells at TWells@mednet.ucla.edu.

Map of Porto Alegre, Brazil