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A survey of the beliefs regarding international emergency medicine among fourth-year medical students planning on matching in emergency medicine

Elissa M Schechter-Perkins1*, Nicolas P Forget2 and William K Mallon3

Author Affiliations

1 Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

2 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

3 University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA

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International Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 6:18  doi:10.1186/1865-1380-6-18

Published: 20 June 2013



With the recent growth of fellowships in international emergency medicine, the authors sought to evaluate medical students’ attitudes toward international emergency medicine and to determine the effects these attitudes have on their residency selection.


Study design: Cross-sectional survey. Data collection: An anonymous, eight-question online survey was distributed to all members of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student section. This survey was also distributed to fourth-year medical students rotating through the Emergency Department at Los Angeles County and the University of Southern California.


Ninety-eight surveys were collected, 61 from rotating students and 37 from the AAEM mailing. There were no statistically significant differences in responses between the two groups. Of the respondents, 49.4% of have been exposed to IEM, and 46.9% have participated in international health projects. Ninety-four percent agree that IEM is an exciting career option. Seventy-nine percent said programs with IEM opportunities are more appealing than those without, and 45% said the presence of IEM opportunities would be an important factor in rank list; 53% believe that IEM requires formal public health training, and 63% believe it requires tropical medicine training; 68.3%of respondents speak a language in addition to English. This subset was more likely to have participated in IEM projects previously (p = 0.026) but not more likely to make match choices based on IEM.


Half of medical students surveyed had prior experience in international health, and most agree that international emergency medicine is an exciting career option. Over two thirds believe that the presence of IEM opportunities will be a factor in their match list decision.

International emergency medicine; Medical students; Residency; Emergency medicine education; Cross-sectional survey