Public Health Study Abroad India Programs

IISAC promotes opportunities for US and Canadian undergraduate and graduate students for Short term Study in Public Health in India.

India is the best destination for Tropical Health Studies and IISAC programs are oriented in training students on the prevention of diseases and health delivery that are drastically different from the West.

Students taking a short term study in India will get a new perspective on community level health interventions, access to health care and controlling of tropical diseases such as; Nutritional Disorders, Water and Vector borne diseases, Emerging diseases and Life Style diseases. Community health promotion is also a part of the program to change the health behavior of the people through education and community organization.

Through field work and hospital attachment students will gain a good idea on diseases prevalent in India that originate from contaminated water and food, poor sanitation ,mosquitoes, inadequate waste disposal, alcoholic and drug abuse, nutritional inadequacy in pregnant women and children, modern life styles

Community visit, field practicum and clinical practicum opportunities are included for the study abroad courses. Opportunities are available for projects related to public health, community medicine and health promotions.

Areas of Study

Public Health issues in India/Community Health promotion in India/ Medical practices in India( Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Sidha & Unani) , Health Delivery in India/Nutritional Disorders/Vaccination & Preventive Medicine/ Water Quality & Public Health Concerns/Pollution & Diseases/Health issues of women and children/Old age & Rehabilitation/ Sex Education in India/ Life Style diseases/Cancer Epidemiology/Genetic disorders/ Tribals and their diseases /Alcoholic & Drug abuse/ Green Technologies/Organic farming

IISAC’s affiliated hospital;

  • Believer’s Church Medical School (BCMC) in Central Kerala provides all courses related to Public Health. This is a 500 bed tertiary institution with most modern facilities.

Summer & Semester India Public Health Courses at BCMC

SIP PHC 300: Public health in the topics
SIP PHC 301: Epidemiology
SIP PHC 302: Alternative Medical practice in India ( Ayurveda, Sidha, Yunani, Naturopathy and Homeopathy)
SIP PHC 303: Environmental Health
SIP PHC 304: Body, Mind and Medicine
SIP PHC 305: Introduction to Demography
SIP PHC 306: Social and Behavioral Science
SIP PHC 307: Sex and Sexual Health
SIP PHC 308: Population and Development
SIP PHC 309: Human Ecology
SIP PHC 310: Vector borne diseases
SIP PHC 311: Cultural anthropology of India
SIP PHC 312: Tribals, Diseases and Ethnomedicine
SIP PHC 313: Rural Management in India
SIP PHC 314: Spices, food and culture
SIP PHC 315: Ayurveda Biology
SIP PHC 316: Social issues in India

Course Director: Prof. Marina Rajan Joseph

Dr.Marina Joseph who is, Head of the Community Medicine and Public Health at BCMC co-ordiantes the Study Abroad Program of IISAC. She is a well known Epidemiologist and an authority on Community Medicine in Kerala. She has published extensively in this field and her book on “Epidemiology’’ is a highly recommended text book for Medical students in India. Her dept is a forward looking one with US trained faculty members with grant proposals to National & International organizations.

Short Term Public Health Projects in India

Visiting students are also encouraged to enroll for Short Term projects as a part of their Summer or Semester Study in India. Also students are invited to come to BCMC for projects alone. The completed projects can be used for Capstone undergraduate research or for a graduate thesis.

Some of the projects currently available under the mentorships of Prof. Marina are:

  • Assess the knowledge attitude and practice of immunization compliance among under 5 children in rural /urban Kerala
  • Changing Dietary habits and Life style diseases
  • Health problems related to salt consumption in Kerala
  • Assess the prevalence of varieties of Mosquitoes and their breeding sites in Rural Kerala
  • Prevalence and pattern of geriatric disabilities / morbidities in rural Kerala
  • Explore the pattern of home based care of elderly/palliative care
  • Life expectancy and factors affecting the same
  • Prevalence and pattern of self /Over the counter medication among rural population in Kerala
  • Estimate burden and pattern of alcohol use and related morbidities in rural Kerala
  • Knowledge of traffic rules and their compliance among motor bike riders / School students in Kerala
  • Assess medication compliance pattern among the diabetic patients
  • Pattern of and factors influencing health care seeking among rural Keralites
  • Prevalence and pattern of health insurance coverage among Keralites
  • Exploration of the Public health system
  • Varying patterns of morbidities among rural and urban communities
  • Compare and contrast ayurvedic and modern medical management of selected chronic diseases (eg arthritis)
  • Changing patterns of clothing styles and associated morbidities
  • Thrust areas for public health Interventions in Kerala
  • Knowledge attitude and practice of care of HIV affected
  • Knowledge attitude and practice about cancer prevention
  • Explore the Kerala model of Home based palliative care
  • Explore the knowledge attitude and practice of birth control measures among Kerala men/women
  • Explore implementation of family welfare measures and its impact in Kerala
  • Psychosocial factors influencing immunization / family planning
  • Cultural Practices of Antenatal care and birthing in Kerala
  • Knowledge attitude and practices of Infant feeding among Keralites
  • Literacy rate and awareness of current affairs local / national/ international among Keralites
  • Changing Health expenditure patterns over years
  • Comparing Socio economic scoring of rural and urban communities
  • Explore health expenditure pattern of people.
  • Environment health issues and possible solutions

Clerkships in Medicine

IISAC accepts Medical students from USA and Canada for clerkships and electives in various fields of Medicine. Intensive training is offered to visiting foreign medical students in many medical specialities.


  • You must be a 3rd or final year medical student in good standing who has completed core clinical clerkships in your home medical school with a strong recommendation from your dean


  • BCMC (Believer’s Church Medical College, Thiruvilla, Kerala)
  • KIIT University Medical College, Odisha


  • 6-8 weeks clinical experience: Both hands on and observational
  • One week full time patient care is equivalent to one credit hour. And a minimum of 4 weeks of internship is requirement for completing a clerkship in a medical specialty.

What to expect?

  • 2 weeks of orientation on primary care rotation to experience out-patient medicine in a variety of clinical settings (Medicine, Family medicine, Pediatrics, Emergency depts, Operation rooms etc..)
  • Interacting with patients for medical history
  • Perform problem oriented physical examinations
  • Order appropriate diagnostic tests
  • Supervised clinical diagnosis under the guidance of a specialist doctor
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Coordinating with nurses and the medical team for treatment **Primary care rotation will help students learn the difference in Medical practices between India and USA.

After 2 weeks of Primary Care Rotation the students will move to sub internships or electives related to clerkship training for 4 weeks as approved by their host institution.

Clerkships are available in the following areas.

  • Medicine clerkship
  • Surgery clerkship
  • Pediatrics clerkship
  • Neurology clerkship
  • Emergency medicine clerkship
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology clerkship
  • Preventive medicine clerkship
  • Psychiatry clerkship
  • Radiology clerkship
  • Dermatology clerkship
  • Nephrology clerkship
  • Pulmonary medicine clerkship
  • Cardiology clerkship
  • Ear, Nose Throat clerkship
  • Urology clerkship
  • Ophthalmology clerkship
  • Geriatrics clerkship
  • Hematology and Oncology clerkship
  • Allergy and Clinical Immunology clerkship
  • Tropical and Infectious diseases clerkship
  • Gastroenterology clerkship

Not all clerkships are available to entry level medical students while some advanced clerkships are reserved for students who completed fourth year of their medical school.


Dr.Sunny Luke, Program Director, IISAC USA.