American Medical Trainee Perspectives on Ethical Conflicts during a Short-Term Global Health Rotation in Ethiopia: A Qualitative Analysis of 30 Cases

Chelsea E. Modlin, Andrea C. Vilorio, Benjamin Stoff, Dawn L. Comeau, Tewodros H. Gebremariam, Miliard Derbew, Henry M. Blumberg, Carlos del Rio, Russell R. Kempker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There has been a significant increase in the number of students, residents, and fellows from high-income settings participating in short-term global health experiences (STGHEs) during their medical training. This analysis explores a series of ethical conflicts reported by medical residents and fellows from Emory University School of Medicine in the United States who participated in a 1-month global health rotation in Ethiopia. A constant comparative analysis was conducted using 30 consecutive reflective essays to identify emerging categories and themes of ethical conflicts experienced by the trainees. Ethical conflicts were internal; based in the presence of the visiting trainee and their personal interactions; or external, occurring due to witnessed events. Themes within internal conflicts include issues around professional identity and insufficient preparation for the rotation. External experiences were further stratified by the trainee's perception that Ethiopian colleagues agreed that the scenario represented an ethical conflict (congruent) or disagreed with the visiting trainee's perspective (incongruent). Examples of congruent themes included recognizing opportunities for collaboration and witnessing ethical conflicts that are similar to those experienced in the United States. Incongruent themes included utilization of existing resources, issues surrounding informed consent, and differing expectations of clinical outcomes. By acknowledging the frequency and roots of ethical conflicts experienced during STGHEs, sponsors may better prepare visiting trainees and reframe these conflicts as collaborative educational experiences that benefit both the visiting trainee and host providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-411
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume106
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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