The Physician Assistant Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers elective opportunities for students interested in public health and global health.

Path of Distinction in Public Health

The Path of Distinction in Public Health at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health organizes existing – and develops new – courses and service-learning experiences for physician assistant students seeking ways to better integrate medicine and public health.

A physician assistant with a pediatric patient in the clinical skills lab

The Path of Distinction is supported through a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that integrates public health into the curriculum for all medical and PA students. The program began in January 2013.

A student in a Path of Distinction will need to create a specific focus within population health, global health or rural health. In consultation with a faculty mentor, students design an elective curriculum to include a capstone and field experience appropriate to their area of concentration.

International health opportunities

Students enrolled at the UW-Madison PA Program may participate in an expanding variety of opportunities in international health. The university’s health profession’s programs have recently formed an Office of Global Health Programs for coordination of health experiences available at UW-Madison. Information on these opportunities may be found at the UW-Madison Global Health Institute website.

Physician assistant student taking a global health elective

As a founding partner of the Office of Global Health, the UW-Madison PA Program currently has two international opportunities available to our PA students, both of which are in the Central American country of Belize. In order to participate in a PA Program sponsored international activity at UW-Madison, the student will need to complete an additional one-credit course on various international health care topics prior to travel.

The first international opportunity is a one-week service-learning trip with fellow classmates to the rural and underserved areas around Independence, Belize, located in the Stann Creek District of southern Belize. Our program has partnered with Peacework International and Belize Family Life Association for this international experience occurring in May of each year, at the end of didactic training. During this one-week, faculty-led experience, you will visit small rural villages to provide medical care and well-woman and well-man examinations. The student cost for this experience is approximately $1,400, plus airfare. This cost includes all in-country meals, transportation and lodging. Throughout the didactic year each student will have fundraising opportunities to offset this additional cost.

The second international opportunity occurs as a four-week elective rotation in March of the clinical year of training through Hillside Health Care International. This international experience requires a letter of intent, with only a handful of students being selected for this annual rotation. The cost for this four-week experience is approximately $1,800, plus airfare, which includes in-country meals and lodging. This preceptorship opportunity includes staffing a clinic in an East Indian township near the Garifuna city of Punta Gorda and providing mobile medical care to surrounding Mayan villages. Both of these experiences allow the student the opportunity to experience community health in culturally diverse environments.