G H / MED 561 A: Tropical Medicine

G H / MED 561 A: Tropical Medicine
Last edited by Paul Pottinger about 1 year ago

Welcome to Global Health / Medicine 561: Tropical Medicine (Spring 2013)!

Course Chairpersons

Dr. Frederick Buckner

Dr. Paul Pottinger

Teaching Assistant

Richard Stein

Course times and location

Day & Dates: Wednesdays, March 27- May 22, 2013
Times: 10-10:50am & 11-11:50am
Location: D-209 (Health Sciences Building)

Course Description

The course consists of lectures covering the major diseases and syndromes occurring in the developing world.  The talks will be given by a number of expert speakers who are medical doctors. Each lecture will be organized and structured in a disease-oriented or syndromic format.  The lectures will emphasize diagnosis and treatment of diseases in resource-limited settings, where modern equipment and advanced laboratory diagnostics are often not available.  Optional reading materials are recommended for each session.  The students are expected to attend lectures and submit a 1000-1500 word paper (see Essay section below for details).

Targeted Students

Professional graduate students interested in delivering health care services to people living in tropical climates, less-developed countries, or resource-limited settings. Students would benefit from some general background knowledge of microbiology, disease pathophysiology, and clinical health care, although this is not required.  First-year medical students preparing for electives abroad are the primary audience; however, nursing students, public health students, and second-year (and beyond) medical students, residents, and fellows would benefit from this course as well.

Course Learning Objectives

  • At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to recognize a multitude of disease syndromes that are common in developing countries, such as “fever,” “diarrhea,” or “malnutrition.”
  • Student will be able to generate a differential diagnosis for etiologic causes of various syndromes.  For example, students will be able to list and describe the most important causes of “fevers” occurring in tropical regions.
  • Students will be able to recognize the features of HIV infection and describe various opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS.
  • Students will be able to explain the principles and many details of treatments for common tropical diseases.
  • Students will be able to describe preventative measures to reduce the risk or impacts of tropical infectious diseases.
  • Students will be able to describe challenges to delivering health care in resource limited settings and approaches to overcoming these challenges.

Optional Text and Resources

Speaker’s notes and selected reference articles will be posted before each lecture.

Suggested Text for Reference and Further Reading:

Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine, Second Edition.  Oxford University Press; UW SCC Bookstore Price: $39.95 (Flexicover) 0-19-852509-5 Publication date: 2005, 686 pages.

On Reserve (in Health Sciences Library-HSL):

Manson’s Tropical Diseases, ed GC Cook, 21st Ed., 2003, Saunders WC 680 M293 2003

Hunter’s Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases, ed. Strickland, 8th Ed., 2000, Saunders WC 680 T857 2000

Recommended Reference Texts (on hold in HSL):

Mary Wilson. “A World Guide to Infections.” R. Guerrant. “Tropical Infectious Diseases: Principles, Pathogens, & Practice” In library WC 680 T8567 1999 v. 1 & 2.


The grading for the course is pass/fail.  Students will be graded on a short paper (1,000 to 1,500 words) that will be due one week after the final class, before 5 PM on 5/29/13.  The paper will describe a place where the student would like to practice international medicine, the epidemiology of the major diseases in that area, a general approach to improving the health of individuals, the general public health of that area, and the challenges of health care delivery and improving public health in that area.  Drs. Buckner and Pottinger will grade the papers.

Student Responsibilities

Attendance is mandatory and will be taken at each class. One absence is acceptable (no explanation necessary). If a student is absent for more than one session, a half-page (single-spaced, 12pt font) essay relating to each missed lecture is requested. Please read the posted slides and related “readings” and provide an essay addressing the following: what are 3 “take-home” points from the lecture or reading material that you have gathered? The responses will be due by the next class session, to be turned in via email to one of the course chairs. If a student is absent for more than 3 classes, no credit will be given for the class.

Papers submitted after the final due date (May 29) will not be accepted and course credit will not be given.


Online Course Recordings

Although attendance is mandatory as described above, the course is recorded each week, for those who miss a lecture.  Click here to access the recordings.