Study Abroad in Peru

This trip has been cancelled for 2020 due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. For more information visit:

Pre-clerkship Rotation for 2nd Year COM Students & Clerkship Rotation for 4th year COM Students

OST 687:  Global Health: Peru Medical Service description

Dates: August 08th- August 22nd, 2020

Peru Medical Service Elective (Belen, Iquitos, Peru) is a 2 credit hour elective with an overall purpose as follows: to enhance students’ understanding host country’s healthcare system and understanding and developing cultural competency; in addition students will provide healthcare services under the supervision of licensed US physicians, develop an understanding of the regional disease etiology and control of endemic diseases, in particular, infectious/tropical diseases and those associated with the lack of potable water and sanitation.

For more information, please contact  Study Abroad Office of IGH.

Instructional Objectives

This Elective is designed to help the student grow personally and professionally by immersing them in another culture, experience the healthcare system and delivery of medical services in a Developing Country to deepen their understanding of self and the global community. Students will gain knowledge of diseases common in South America; enhance their clinical skills and the use of medical Spanish; develop problem solving skills; broaden knowledge of public health issues and to experience the practice of medicine beyond the core curriculum.

The Peru Elective offers COM students the ability to witness medicine from a different perspective.  They are able to immerse themselves in a different culture and open their minds on the path to becoming more understanding and compassionate physicians.

The Peru trip offers the opportunity to be involved in research.  Research projects focus on population health and One Health related approaches such as water purity and sanitation.

1) Bone Density screening project

Patient’s bone health is important to their quality of life. As our patients age, their bones can weaken and make the patient more prone to fractures, which are harder to heal from at an older age. The earlier we diagnose osteoporosis, the earlier we can treat it.   This project focuses on better identifying, evaluating and treating patients who suffer from osteoporosis or low bone density-related fragility.

2) Diabetes education and access to care

Survey based study which is seeking to better understand barriers and access difficulties with diabetic patients.  It is suspected that remote populations lack education and understanding of disease/long term effects, resulting in poorer outcomes.

3) Pediatric obesity and PACER

A study examining pediatric cardiovascular fitness with Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) testing as a predictor of cardiovascular fitness.  Sample populations will be studied to further understand Double Burden risks and cardiovascular health in pediatric populations. Study will include doing a PACER exercise in Peru.

4) Nutrition studies

Survey based study evaluating eating behaviors and food access to determine health consequences related to food choices.   Further studies will include food scarcity and dietary limitations.

5) Antibiotic stewardship

Study evaluating patients prescribed antibiotics in clinic and examining appropriate use.  Study seeks to determine coordinated strategies to improve the use of antimicrobial medications with the goal of enhancing patient health outcomes, reducing resistance to antibiotics, and decreasing unnecessary costs.

6) Health disparity

Survey based study  comparing US and Peru health care to determine shortcomings and healthcare seeking behavior.   Project involves populations in Detroit, Spain, and Peru.

7) Evaluation of Suspected Dementia

Patients with suspected risk factors will be screened with dementia screening evaluations (verbal fluency test, Mini-Cog, or Sweet 16).  Further studies may include follow-up cognitive testing to rule out secondary causes of dementia.

8) Prevalence of kidney stones

Ultrasound based project evaluating the prevalence of kidney stones in patient populations.  Study may include survey based project evaluating risk factors and outcomes.

9) C-section chronic pain study

Project focus on evaluating long-term complications associated with c-sections, such as pain.  Project aims to understand the role of OMM as a beneficial treatment modality.

10) Gallbladder and diarrhea study

OMM based research project which seeks treatment options for cholecystectomy related diarrhea.

11) Asthma maintenance and management study

Study seeks to better understand maintenance medication accessibility and outpatient management.  Studies may include peak flow testing and role of OMM.

12) Exposure impact and risks related to patient health

Survey based study which seeks to better understand patient environmental exposures such as home/work related, pesticide, burning, etc.

13) Stigma and depression

Study seeks to better understand mental health, depression risks, and associated stigma of mental health in Peru.

14) Maternal vaccination coverage

Study hopes to determine access and adherence to current vaccination recommendations.  Further studies may include survey based evaluation looking into maternal health risk factors.

15) Nanotechnology study

Study seeks to determine food borne bacteria in markets and risk factors.  Using a handheld device samples will be taken from various food vendors and looking at bacteria presence.

16) Burden of medical missions 

Study seeks to better understand the social and environmental impacts of medical mission trips.

17) Impact of self medication

Patients often self medicate or buy medications at stores for self treatment.  Study seeks to better understand the behavior and shortcomings.

18) Identifying HIV risk factors in Teen populations

Peru has a growing HIV population.  Study seeks to understand shortcomings while increasing knowledge of HIV strategies.  Study also hopes to better understand current follow up resources

19) Coliform water testing

Study hopes to determine the prevalence of fecal contaminants in current drinking water.

20) HTN monitoring and screening data collection

Hypertension (HTN) and related diseases is a common clinical finding.  Study hopes to determine barriers and long term impact of the under treated disease.  Also research will focus on the non communicable disease impact in Peru.

21) Needs assessment

Project focus is on creating a needs assessment tool for local populations.

22) Examine pain reduction strategies

Project seeks to identify locally and long-term pain reduction strategies which may include local medications, OMM, etc.

23) Medication cost reporting

Study seeks to determine cost of local medications vs. our cost.

24)  Chronic disease management 

Study seeks to identify self management strategies in chronic disease.

25) Risk Factors for HIV transmission among teenagers and women

Study seeks to identify risk factors among two neglected populations.

26) Accessibility to PreP medication to reduce HIV transmission among High risk HIV population

According to the new DHHS recommendations, the use of prophylactic medication to prevent HIV infection should be encouraged and implemented, this study aims to know what is the state of this recommendation in a specif population

27) HPV Project

Diagnosis of HPV high risk oncologic genotypes in Peruvian women using LAMP technology detection.

Dr. Willyerd has organized MSU trips to Peru since 2009.  He is passionate about offering students the opportunity to see health care in different parts of the world.  CLICK HERE to read an  article on the Peru experience for students of MSUCOM.

Dr. Sergent serves as Clinical Faculty and Profesor Honorario at Universidad César Vallejo in Trujillo, Peru. He also serves as Clinical Faculty at MSUCOM, working closely with Institute of Global Health and International Osteopathic Medicine Organization. He is the research guide during Peru elective.


Iquitos is the capital city of Peru‘s Maynas Province and Loreto Region, known as the “capital of the Peruvian Amazon”, located in the Amazon Basin.  Iquitos is the largest city in the world that cannot be reached by road – it is accessible only by river and air.  Iquitos has four districts: Iquitos, Punchana, Belén, and San Juan Bautista and a population of 471,993 inhabitants.  MSUCOM’s Clinic is located in Belén, also known as theVenice” of Peru, where homes are built with balsa wood and tied together so they do not float away or onstilts. The water levels routinely rise 30 feet in the spring.  There is a lot of poverty in Belén and most homes do not have plumbing so, sanitation is poor with people drinking, bathing, swimming and using the same water as their restroom.

  • Second or Fourth year medical curriculum (COM) student at Michigan State University.
  • In good standing at the University
  • Medical Spanish FCM590 elective (preferred)
  • Must have respect for different cultures.
  • Must demonstrate an ability to work collaboratively.
  • Spanish speaking preferred but not required
  • Fill out IGH application
  • Submit copy of first page of Passport to IGH
  • Submit copy of Immunization Record to IGH

The Office of Study Abroad offers scholarships to students who participate in MSU’s study abroad programs. Details here