In keeping with its dedication to international educational opportunities, the American Academy of Dermatology provides funding for 15 U.S. and Canadian senior dermatology residents to participate in a four- to six-week elective in Gaborone, Botswana, where participants rotate between the Princess Marina Hospital, in conjunction with the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, and the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI). Residents take part in dermatologic HIV care for both children and adults, and visit outreach sites in Francistown and Southern Botswana.
The grant allows residents an opportunity to learn about the care of tropical and HIV-related dermatologic conditions, as well as how to practice routine dermatology with finite resources. Residents are expected to prepare lectures and presentations, develop a database of photos, submit teledermatology consults, and present reports of their activities to the Academy and their home programs.
More than 50 dermatology residents have received grants to complete an international elective at the Princess Marina Hospital since 2008.
Each applicant must include a letter of support from his or her program director or department chair, a short application essay, and a detailed curriculum vitae with his or her online application. Letters of recommendation must be addressed to the Education and Volunteers Abroad Committee and be attached to the online application (no mail, email, or faxes). Grant recipients receive a stipend for accommodations, board, and insurance. The Academy covers airfare to Botswana.
The Education and Volunteers Abroad Committee reviews and makes decisions about all applications. The first round of applications opens in early January with an April 1 deadline. The second round of applications opens May 1 with a September 30 deadline.
“In residency, as in life in general, there are patients, experiences, and physicians who shape our personal and professional development in ways that leave us changed forever. From these memorable experiences and individuals, a few lessons resonate: advocate for the needs of patients, maintain humility while always providing the best possible care, practice with a strong sense of humanity, and be thankful for every day of life. My experience working as a dermatologist with the Botswana-UPenn Partnership [in collaboration with the AAD] was one of these inspiring experiences, and it profoundly enriched my life.”
— Jennifer Tan-Billet, MD, Harvard Medical School, 2010 grant recipient