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Global Health/Electives, Community
Service & Advocacy

Global Health and Electives

As a department we strive to have a culture that continues to allow each individual resident to pursue electives that match his/her interests. We feel this time is critical for self-growth, exploration, and professional development. The department of OB/GYN encourages and fully supports residents who wish to pursue international electives through the Kaiser Permanente Global health Program. One of our assistant program directors, with experience in global health and low resource settings, will meet with interested residents entering their 2nd year to assist in selecting the most appropriate existing international elective or offer guidance in designing a new international elective as appropriate. We are fortunate as an organization to also provide financial assistance through the Global Health Program. Our goal is to allow every resident physician the opportunity to have an intensely rewarding international experience through our affiliated sites or other identified sites that will provide a safe, rich environment. Residents in the past have taken advantage of this opportunity to passionately explore global health from a range of experiences including global health policy and reform, rural medicine, and medicine and culture.

There are two months of electives in the curriculum in the PGY-2 and PGY-3 years. These months allow residents to pursue their academic/medical interests to meet their self-identified learning needs within women’s health care. It is common for residents to create international electives or pursue additional interests in sub-specialty areas. The electives, therefore, are arranged by the residents themselves. Additionally PGY-2’s and 3’s may take advantage of the Kaiser Permanente Global Health Program. The mission of this program is to enable our clinical staff and residents to participate in medical care at various locations around the globe. The first affiliated program is in western Kenya – The Matibabu Foundation. The Matibabu Foundation provides medical care, training, and equipment to residents of Ugenya, Kenya, an extremely poor and disadvantaged area near Lake Victoria. The site was founded in 2004 by Kaiser Permanente oncologist Gail Wagner and colleagues, and provides primary care services, pediatrics, women’s health, tropical medicine, and HIV/AIDS care to thousands of rural Kenyans.

There is funding for the second and third year elective that could include air fare/lodging. If you are interested in going somewhere other than Matibabu, regional GME can offer funding as well. The main requirement is that the site you select serves an underserved area. The program director must approve the rotation, Kaiser’s Global Health program must deem the site appropriate (eg for safety/resources) and, together with one of your program directors, you will need to verify attending supervision. Underserved sites in the United States are also eligible and are subject to the same requirements. Funding in these cases is also available. We fully encourage every resident to take advantage of this opportunity to truly engage in the world of medicine that exists in so many fascinating forms outside of what we do here in our program.

Graduates from our training program over the past 8 years (2011-2018) have fully taken advantage of these opportunities:

  • International electives: Nicaragua (3); Nepal; Zambia; Costa Rica; Guatemala; El Salvador; Kenya (6); Honduras (3); Mexico (2); Mali (2); Ecuador (4); Philippines; Vietnam; Botswana; India; Uganda; Colombia; Ghana; Ireland
  • Local Service electives: Visalia, CA; Modesto, CA; Lyon-Martin Transgender Clinic; Asian Health Services
  • US based Electives: Boulder Colorado Abortion Clinic; Ped/Adol Cincinnati; HIS- Chinle, AZ; Halifax FL surgical rotation; ACOG Gellhaus Advocacy Fellowship in Washington, DC; Gyn-Onc Sloan Kettering; Gyn-Onc MD Anderson; Modesto, CA; UCSD emergency medicine
  • OB Anesthesia (3); UCSF Infectious Disease; Kaiser San Rafeal; UCSF Prenatal Diagnostic; UCSF Urology; Kaiser San Ramon; Kaiser Vallejo; UCSF HIV: Chronic pain intensive; MICU; Patient Safety; Plastic/transgender medicine

David Lawrence Community Service Award

Each year, Kaiser Permanente recognizes and celebrates employees and physicians who champion outstanding volunteer activities and initiatives to improve the health of our communities, as winners of the national David Lawrence Community Service Award.

Kaiser Permanente makes a $10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner, to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice.

Winners were selected because their service has demonstrated a significant contribution to the overall health of a community or population. Their commitments are to health and social issues, including increasing access to health care for the underserved, eliminating disparities in health outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities, addressing the social determinants of health, and being strong stewards of natural resources.

Diane Sklar, MD was recently selected as winner of a David Lawrence Community Service Award for her decades of international service providing ob-gyn surgeries for women in need, teaching residents, as well as championing local community service.

Community Service, Volunteerism and Advocacy

Our faculty, in both their professional and personal lives, strongly support the principles of community service, volunteerism and women’s health advocacy. Our faculty regularly participate in local community service and international medical work. Our organization with the support of Community Benefits Programs has extensive outreach to local health care activities as well as coordinated efforts to support national and international Disaster response. These important values are woven into our residency training program.

Our residency training program emphasizes an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger health care context in which we live. This includes advocacy for women and women’s health. It is important to recognize disparities in health and health care in a variety of populations. We believe it is the role of women’s health care providers to advocate for patient populations and the individual patient, particularly poor and vulnerable women. We also believe it is important to recognize the role of physicians in legislative activities as they relate to women’s health policy.

Since 2009 our faculty have taken residents to the ACOG District IX Resident Lobby Day in Sacramento. Residents have the opportunity to learn firsthand from policy makers how to advocate for women’s health issues, and then spend the day lobbying elected State Senators and Assembly members on relevant bills. As these bills move forward through the legislative process we receive direct feedback on their progress.

As described above, most residents utilize at least one of their elective months working in underserved areas across the globe. Additionally, many faculty members pursue similar activities on their own time. These activities are presented and celebrated at our annual Global Health Evening.

Faculty Role Modeling and Mentorship

Dr. Diane Sklar is faculty lead for our entire medical center in San Francisco for Community Service. Our partners in San Francisco include Project Homeless Connect, Larkin Street, Enterprise Program for high schools, Homeless Prenatal Project, Jewish Vocational Services, and Curry Senior Center. Residents are encouraged to participate in Project Homeless Connect days. Many of our residents support Medshare, a non-profit that sorts medical equipment to underserved areas in the US and abroad. We have broad active support from faculty, including Drs. Hedley, Cosca, Littell, Tan, Hedley, Morrill, Chan, Torrente, Regenstein, Hall, Kendrick, and Ogawa. are also involved in supporting these local and national service projects, as well as others: Green World Health Net, Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center Free Clinic; local food banks; community classes on bladder health; FunbiChoco; and local Park and Rec projects.

Below is a brief summary of some of the international projects our faculty have participated in on their own time in the past few years. Whenever possible faculty reach out to residents to join them on international trips, not only during elective rotations but also as part of Educational Leave.


Surgical missions: Dr. Diane Sklar had two separate trips to Nicaragua and Bolivia. Dr. Erica Weiss worked in Philippines; Dr. Arlene Cosca worked in Guatemala; Dr. Laurie Miller worked in Nicaragua; Dr Powell worked in Rwanda.


Surgical missions: Dr. Arlene Cosca worked in Philippines; Dr. Steven Masters worked in Bolivia; Dr. Diane Sklar had two separate trips to Nicaragua and Bolivia; Dr. Sandra Torrente worked in Colombia; Dr. Bethan Powell worked in Rwanda; Dr. Erica Weiss worked in Philippines


Surgical missions: Dr. Diane Sklar had two separate trips to Uganda and Guatemala; Dr Arlene Cosca worked in Guatemala; Dr. Bethan Powell worked in Rwanda.


Surgical missions: Dr. Diane Sklar had two separate trips to Nicaragua and Guatemala; Dr Arlene Cosca worked in Philippines; Dr. Sandra Torrente worked in remote indigenous village of Colombia.


Surgical missions: Dr. Jaime O’Campo- Philippines (Philos Helath); Dr. William Zuber- Honduras; Ethiopia (Project Mercy); Dr. Erica Weiss- Philippines; Dr. Bethan Powell- Rwanda (International Organization for Women, Fistula Team); Dr. Raya Mirsky- Philippines; Dr. Diane Sklar- Nicaragua; Guatemala; Dr. Arlene Cosca- Guatemala (Hospital de la familia); Philippines (Camarines Norte); Dr. Laura Norrell- Haiti (Midwives for Haiti)

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