Summer Springboard Success Stories

Course Comparison – Global Health vs Medicine

March 4, 2020

Written by Lillie Dawes, Summer Springboard alumni

Summer Springboard offers many academic courses, two of which include Global Health and Medicine. As an alumni of the Global Health course, I am going to highlight the main differences between the two academic courses and who they might appeal to.


Global Health Overview

In the Global Health course, you explore a wide variety of topics related to the field, including epidemiology, determinants of health, and health communication. Our instructor, Laura Rapoport, a Harvard graduate in the field of Public Health, was incredibly informed on the topic and engaged us in many activities. We discussed case studies, did outbreak investigations, talked about how we can help prevent epidemics today, and worked on many projects. We also went on an excursion to a Public Health Lab, which was fascinating. We were able to tour the facility, talk with a professional, and ask many questions, and see the lab workers investigate diseases. It was truly an unforgettable experience!

The Global Health course is geared more towards looking at diseases and epidemics around the world as a whole, along with how issues such as poverty, gender, climate, and more affect people’s health. If you have any interest in how epidemics such as the flu, measles, smallpox, ebola, and more spread and the steps that we can take to help prevent these outbreaks, then the Global Health course is definitely for you! Where the Medicine course focuses more on modern medicine, the Global Health course focuses more on health on a larger scale. It is truly a fascinating subject to explore!

Medicine Overview

As an alumni of the Global Health course, I don’t have direct experience with the Medicine course. However, my roommate from SSB participated in the track and was willing to share her experience! Here is alumni Michelle Jiang’s experience with the Medicine course.

Every day from 9 am to 12 pm, my classmates and I would walk to our classrooms (which were fairly close to our dorms). Our instructors Dr. Carol Chen and Dr. Andrea Tenner were incredibly knowledgeable about the topics we were supposed to be taught during the two-week period. I am eternally grateful for the time they decided to sacrifice for us students, but even so, they were incredibly patient and kind to us. There was never a boring day under their instruction! 

During the course, we experienced hands-on activities such as suturing or measuring one’s blood pressure; we even had the opportunity to simulate a mass casualty incident and triage patients who pretended to be injured. The activities we participated in were incredibly realistic and gave us a sense of what it was like to be in an actual emergency. Moreover, we were not only limited to learning about emergency medical care. Summer Springboard allows students in the medicine course to learn about multiple different fields of medicine, including emergency medicine, pathology, and surgery. 

As a student in the medicine course, we were able to experience two different excursions to hospitals in San Francisco. During the first excursion, we were able to perform CPR in a simulation and diagnose heart and lung diseases using stethoscopes. It was a privilege to experience hands-on activities that a regular high schooler would not be able to do. During the second excursion, Dr. Chen and Dr. Tenner gave us a tour of a hospital where we were able to see live patients getting treated (without interrupting their privacy!) This field trip allowed us to view the regular working environment of a doctor’s. 

Overall, my experience under Summer Springboard’s medicine course is one that I will never forget, and if possible, I would love to experience it again!

Why would a student choose Global Health over Medicine?

Both tracks provide an in-depth exploration of certain aspects of the medicine/healthcare field. The Global Health course is more for students interested in health on a large scale, and interested in the spread of disease and how we can prevent it. It is a great starting point for those who are interested in the health field, but don’t want to become a doctor specifically; this was true for my situation! It’s an incredibly interesting field and provides many opportunities to travel the world and help those in poverty and in need of healthcare.

I hope this blog helped guide you in your track decision! Feel free to reach out to me – laedawes@gmail.com – if you have any questions about the Global Health course and my experience!

Marketing Intern - Lillie Dawes

Lillie Dawes is one of Summer Springboard’s new marketing interns. She currently attends Haas Hall Academy in Rogers, Arkansas. She attended Summer Springboard at UC Berkeley last summer and participated in the Global Health track. She hopes to use the skills and knowledge she received to someday make a difference in the world. Feel free to reach out @lillie.dawes