International Partners

A unifying theme of the projects with our international partners is capacity building of healthcare providers. We believe that if underserved communities are to successfully cope with diseases, our efforts to empower caregivers must include traditionally marginalized groups in prevention and intervention activities. In developing countries, increasing the capacity of the healthcare workforce to meet the needs of their patients is an essential goal (WHO). We acknowledge that international capacity-building must focus on enhancing the knowledge, skills and practices of local caregivers within the resource constraints of their communities.

USF Medicine International Flyer

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Collaboration with Gansu Provincial Health Department and Lanzhou University, China

In March 2009 the Deputy Director of Gansu Provincial Health Department and officials from Lanzhou University, China met USF leadership to tour USF's facilities and state of the art training centers. The relationship between the institutions may include:

Online medical curriculum certificate program for physicians, public health professionals, and nurses

Faculty exchange and research training

Agreement Signed with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine, Shanghai, China 


In 2006, USF Medicine International initiated a partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a premier Chinese research institute and home to the largest medical school in the country. On May 5, a collaborative agreement was signed and endorsed by Dr. Xu (see profile below) and USF Provost Dr. Khator and USF Health Vice-President and Dean of the College of Medicine, Dr. Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA and USF Dean of International Affairs, Dr. Maria Crummett.

Dr. Guo-Tong Xu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, School of Medicine visits USF Health

From May 4-6, 2006, Dr. Guo-Tong Xu, MD, PhD, Associate Director, Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) was a distinguished guest to USF's Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is a premier Chinese research institute and is home to the largest medical school in the country. The goal of Dr. Xu's visit was to establish a partnership between USF Health and SJTU that will promote the exchange of research and educational activities between the two universities.

The collaboration between USF Health and SJTU will be an integral component of USF Health's rapidly growing global outreach activities.

Dr. Xu also exchanged ideas with USF-Health Senior Associate VP, Research Dr. Abdul Rao; USF Health Associate VP, International Programs Dr. Ann Debaldo; and prominent USF Health faculty members including, Internal Medicine Chair Dr. Allan Goldman, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Dr. Barbara Hansen and College of Medicine Associate Dean for USF Medicine International Dr. John Sinnott. Facilities he visited included the USF Health/Hillsborough County Health Department's HIV Research Unit, the Infectious Disease Division at Tampa General Hospital and basic science laboratory headed by Dr. Shyam Mohapatra, PhD, Professor of Medicine in the USF Division of Allergy and Immunology. The collaboration between USF Health and SJTU will be an integral component of USF Health's rapidly growing global outreach activities.

CES University in Medellin, Colombia

Dr. Carlos Callegari, Director of the International Academy of Medicine and IberoAmericas Programs, along with Dr. Ana Paula Velez of the Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine met with top leadership at CES University in Colombia to forge a collaboration between the two universities. We signed a collaborative agreement with CES in March 2011. There are many opportunities for collaboration with CES and more information regarding the ways in which we will work together will be forthcoming.

Special visit to meet the founder of Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Colombia Dr. Marcos Restrepo

Meeting with Dr. Andres Trujillo ZEA Instituto de Medicina Tropical de Colombia and Dr. Paula Vasquez, Chief of Medical Education

Drs. Ana Paula Velez and Carlos Callegari Meeting with Dean Jorge Julian Osorio and International Officer Dr. Saldarriaga from CES

Overview of Consejo Presidencial del SIDA (COPRESIDA)

Consejo Presidencial del SIDA (COPRESIDA) is the Presidential Council on AIDS in the Dominican Republic. The Council is run by the Ministry of Health and is part of the Executive Branch of the government. COPRESIDA's mission is to reduce the risks, vulnerability to, and impact of HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic through the coordinated development and implementation of policies which incorporate multi-sectorial partners.

Dr. Menezes, Director of USF Medicine International, Dr. Fiallo, CEO, COPRESIDA, Dr. Sinnott, Associate Dean, USF Medicine International, Dr. Valdez, Clinical Coordinator COPRESIDA and Dr. Marinez, Fellow in Infectious Disease

In May 2006, USF Medicine International signed a collaborative agreement with COPRESIDA, building the capacity of health care providers to address HIV/AIDS in the Dominican Republic. An integral component of this agreement is capacity building through innovative medical education and training programs. USF Division of Infectious Disease has proposed establishing distance learning modules for training physicians from the Dominican Republic in HIV clinical management skills.

Dr. Sandra Gompf, Associate Professor of Infectious Disease, Drs. Michael Phillips and Javier Marinez, Infectious Disease Fellows, Dr. Monica Thormann, Chief of Infectious Disease at Dr. Salvador B Gautier Hospital, and Dean Maria Crummet, USF International Affairs

The final stages of agreement with Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena (UNPHU) Medical School, Santo Domingo

The Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena (UNPHU), located in Santo Domingo, was founded in 1966 and is the oldest private medical institution in the Dominican Republic. The school is home to the most advanced medical education and research laboratories in the nation. UNPHU holds cooperation agreements with numerous institutions in the US and Europe. The College of Medicine signed a collaborative agreement with UNPHU in 2007. Our collaborative interests include:

  • HIV and Nutrition Research
  • HIV Train the Trainer Model 
  • National HIV Update 
  • Medical Exchange Programs

TGH and Juan Bosch Hospital Trauma Center

TGH has generously provided medical equipment for the Trauma Center, and USF faculty physicians have served as consultants in creating an Infection Control Program at the Trauma Center.


USF-INDIA Center for Health and HIV/AIDS Research and Training (CHART-India), was founded by Dr. John Sinnott, Dr. Kiran Patel and Dr. Eknath Naik in 1998. CHART-India's mission is to promote collaboration between the United States and India. With the help of health care professionals and educators who specialize in HIV/AIDS, training and education programs began and CHART has developed partnerships with numerous healthcare organizations across resource-deprived regions in India.

Overview of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), Mumbai, Maharashtra

Directorate of Medical Education and Research is a division of the Government of Maharashtra, India that oversees the administration of eleven government medical colleges and hospitals, their attached Urban & Rural Health Centers and three Government dental colleges & hospitals. DMER coordinates the fundamental research, applied research & operational research in these institutions.

Collaborative Agreement Signed with Directorate of Medical Education and Research

The partnership between USF Medicine International and DMER focuses on capacity building in medical education, research and infrastructure. The main start-up areas the agreement addresses are:

  • Clinical Research
  • HIV training model
  • Continuing medical education
  • Faculty and student exchange
  • Hospital protocols
  • Quality assurance

Associate Dean, USF Medicine International, John Sinnott, signs the Agreement of Collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra, India, Directorate of Medical Education and Research, January 2006.

Training of Health Care Providers from India at USF

The partnership with the Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, India, provides technical support establishing protocols and training for physicians and public health personnel. The Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine trained 49 policy makers and public health physicians from Maharashtra between June 2004 and May 2005, as well as conducted four capacity building training programs aimed to educate physicians and administrators from Maharashtra, India to better manage HIV/AIDS and to reduce its devastating impact. The curriculum combined 25 HIV-related medical and psychosocial didactic presentations with culturally relevant instruction and reading sources.

USF Provost Renu Khator and Dr. Kiran Patel, Chairman, Patel Foundation for Global Understanding, presenting certificate of completion to Ana

Participants of the training programs shadowed physicians in: 

  • Local Hospitals 
  • State Laboratory 
  • Outpatient HIV specialty clinics in Hillsborough and Polk county health departments 

Future certificate training areas include: 

  • Pre-hospital trauma care 
  • Infectious disease 
  • Cardiac and pulmonary surgery 
  • Pediatric neurosurgery

Overview of KRIPA Foundation, Vasai, Maharashtra

KRIPA Foundation is one of the largest non-governmental organizations in India. KRIPA has helped people suffering from chemical dependency and HIV infection for over two decades. KRIPA professionals have experience in behavioral modeling and interventions in vulnerable populations. CHART-India has a partnership with the KRIPA Foundation in behavioral research.

Advancing Partnerships with Vasai Regional AIDS Control Society (VRACS), Vasai, Maharashtra

The Vasai Regional AIDS Control Society is a project developed through a partnership between the KRIPA foundation and the CHART-India project at USF. VRACS is a community-based project that combines prevention strategies with research and intervention activities. The Division of Infectious Disease has provided technical assistance in HIV research and management as well as training of VRACS physicians in HIV management.

Inauguration of the Vasai Regional AIDS Control Society, left to right, Father Joe Pereira, Dr Jeffrey Nadler, and Mr. Vaidynathan

Pioneering Research with Indu Health Research Foundation, Vadodara, Gujarat

Indu Health Research Foundation (IHRF) was founded to ensure the provision of safe blood products for transfusion needs to patients all across the state of Gujarat. USF Health worked closely with IHRF to improve blood safety and tissue banking. IHRF has pioneered work in triple sero-surveillance of HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C virus. The Foundation advocated for and successfully implemented a policy change in blood screenings for the State of Gujarat, India.

Collaborations with Sterling Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Sterling Hospital is a 285 bed hospital with five ICUs and ten major departments located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In November 2004, with technical support from CHART-India, the update on Neurologic Manifestations of HIV was held at the Sterling Hospital. CHART-India and Sterling Hospital have also jointly published a research paper on generic HIV drugs.

Overview of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) Mysore, Karnataka

Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, established in 1984, is a non-profit organization that operates hospitals and provides outreach services through mobile health units. They aim to improve healthcare and sustain enrichment through education, and a broader social outlook. The SVYM, which has more than 150 dedicated members and serves 250,000 people, also runs the Viveka Tribal Center for Learning at Hoshalli, a semi-residential school with over 400 students.

Collaborations with SVYM

CHART-India has trained physicians and other healthcare providers, and conducted behavioral research in SVYM. The Division faculty have contributed individually by:

  • Funding medical student scholarships at Mysore Medical College
  • Donating laptops
  • Teaching in SVYM's leadership program
  • Sponsoring a state-of-the-art learning center

Designing Medical Curriculum in Kazakhstan

The Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine participated in a multifaceted academic intervention in Kazakhstan in March 2006. The program included:

  • Public Health Awareness
  • HIV Update
  • Hands-on bimodal training

This meeting also included the development and implementation of HIV and tuberculosis learning modules and international accreditation standards for medical school systems.

Dr. Paul Wallach, center, and Dr. Beata Casanas, second from right, with trainees and facilitators in Kazakhstan

Pioneering International Medical Exchange: First Clinical Observership Program at USF Health

Are medical schools different globally?

Ten medical students from Yeungnam University, College of Medicine in Daegu, South Korea learned how USF medical students prepare for their profession when they visited the USF Center for Advanced Clinical Learning on January 11, 2008. The group of ten included mostly fourth-year medical students. USF Medicine International, in collaboration with the Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine hosted this enthusiastic group for two weeks from January 5 - 20th.

The South Korean medical students participating in the Stephen Klasko Clinical Observership Program were exposed to American standards of clinical experience and interactive learning opportunities. In addition, the program was created to foster a positive exchange of ideas and technology between USF and Yeungnam medical students with a focus on enriching the cultural environment of the medical school. Doctors John Sinnott, Lynette Menezes and Ann DeBaldo conceived and executed the vision of this program, which is the first of its kind at USF to host international medical students for a clinical observership.

“This type of meaningful, durable interaction clearly addresses USF Health’s ultimate goal of global prominence,” said Dr. John Sinnott, Associate Dean of USF Medicine International. “Yeungnam University could have selected any medical school in the United States and they chose USF on the basis of its educational commitment, emphasis on research, and commitment to an international reputation.”

Interactive Learning Sessions

On this particular day the South Korean students and their faculty mentors, Dr. Sam Beom Lee and Dr. Jae-Beum Bang, attended interactive health sessions at the USF Center for Advanced Clinical Learning. The purpose of the sessions was to practice interventional life support procedures that could be applied to patient management. The international students also practiced patient interviews and refined their physical diagnosis skills. In addition, they gained hands-on training of medical simulators such as those that develop listening skills for the diagnosis of heart murmur. The students learned from the center’s Director, Dawn Schocken, PhD, that the USF approach to patient care is not solely dependent on diagnostic tools; medical students are further instructed to use observation of the patient’s symptoms as a vital component of making a diagnosis. The South Korean students enjoyed the distinctly different teaching styles of the American medical school professors.

Students were also eager to experience American culture with their American medical student partners at USF. Lunch time gave them an opportunity to enjoy pizza and practice their English conversational skills. With the goal of gaining more clinical knowledge and enhancing their understanding of medicine and physician-patient interaction, the students accompanied physicians in their observational rotations at Tampa General Hospital for most of their stay.

Cultural Exchanges with USF Medical Students

Doing their best to partake of every aspect of the USF medical student life, the South Korean students visited Ybor City and attended swing dancing and gatherings made possible by the gracious invitation of USF medical students Jane Pak, MSII and Vikash Singh, MSII.

“We had a chance to observe clinical practice in the hospital and we had a chance to meet medical students here and talk about our life and studies. We always dreamed of meeting medical students abroad and it was like a dream come true,” said Jeong-A Seo, MSIV Yeungnam University, on behalf of her fellows. “We also had a chance to attend the Leadership Florida conference, and we learned how to be a leader in our own society and in our own way. It was really wonderful, the chance of a lifetime.”

Dr. Ann DeBaldo, Associate Dean, International Programs, College of Public Health, while at the meeting with President Genshaft and the South Korean medical students, expressed that “…this visit is something we will remember for a very long time and we look forward to the next group’s arrival.”

President Genshaft & the Beginnings of a Medical Student Exchange Program

A special highlight for the South Korean medical students taking part in the Stephen Klasko Clinical Observership Program at the USF Health campus was a visit with USF President Judy Genshaft on January 11th. Present at the meeting were Drs. John Sinnott, Lynette Menezes, Ann DeBaldo, and two faculty members of Yeungnam University. President Genshaft welcomed the visitors, discussing their experience at USF and their views on the Clinical Observership Program.

As a new venture into establishing a medical student exchange program, this program has brought an optimistic message to the College of Medicine’s growing international efforts — a truly interactive learning experience is possible through medical student exchange between universities from across the globe.

President Genshaft was eager to discover how the experience has influenced the perspective the South Korean students have about medicine. The students responded favorably to the entire program and found common goals that the US and South Korean physicians share. While acknowledging the similarities in the practicing of medicine in the two countries, the South Korean medical students were also sensitive to the differences that exist between both countries in the path that is taken to achieve these common goals.

Jun-Hyeok Lee, MSIII Yeungnam University was hopeful about the future of this partnership, stating “This relationship between our school and USF will hopefully grow stronger so that more students can have opportunities like us. Like Dean Klasko said at our welcome meeting, we will both gain something and learn something from it.”

It is the hope of USF Medicine International that the new medical student exchange program will facilitate an understanding and appreciation of the two cultures. Overall, President Genshaft expressed her pleasure at having the South Korean students and their faculty as guests of the university and was delighted by their desire to continue their program with USF. Looking forward to future exchanges of medical knowledge and technology between the two universities, Dr. Genshaft expressed enthusiastically, “We value having a relationship with Yeungnam University.”

USF Health Doctors John Sinnott, Lynette Menezes and Ann DeBaldo conceived and executed the vision of this program, which is the first of its kind at USF.

USF Medicine International would like to acknowledge the service of many of the individuals who contributed to the successful implementation of the international clinical observership:

  • Greg Baran, MD, Director, Radiology
  • Jose Montero, MD, Division of Infectious Disease & International Medicine
  • David Orban, MD, Director, Emergency Medicine
  • Mark Rumbak, MD, Director, Pulmonary Medicine
  • Dawn Schocken, PhD, Director, Center for Advanced Clinical Learning
  • Harry van Loveren, MD, Director, Neurosurgery
  • Todd Wills, MD, Division of Infectious Disease and International Medicine
  • Karina D’Souza, MPH, Graduate Research Assistant, USF Medicine International
  • Gloria Santayana, MPH Graduate Research Assistant, USF Medicine International
  • Jane Pak, MSII

Without the support of Dean Stephen Klasko and President Judy Genshaft, this program would not have been possible.

Click here for more on USF Center for Advanced Clinical Learning. View article from USF Health main news.

Story by Julian Corvin, USF Health Division of Infectious Disease and Akash Parekh, Seven Year Accelerated Medical Program Student & Research Intern in Division of Infectious Disease.Photography by Eric Younghans, USF Health Media Center

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