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Education Research International
Volume 2012, Article ID 185904, 5 pages
Review Article

Medical Education in the 21st Century: Students Driving the Global Agenda

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Received 15 December 2011; Revised 5 March 2012; Accepted 6 March 2012

Academic Editor: Susan Hallam

Copyright © 2012 S. Singh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This descriptive article examines the potential for student-led initiatives in international health to be better integrated with formal medical education systems. Students have embraced the challenges and opportunities provided by globalisation to take a leadership role on international issues. Medical students are involved with a diverse portfolio of international activities, including work to internationalise the medical curriculum, the establishment of “hands-on” development projects, efforts to promote student exchanges, and engagement with high-level international policy fora. Such experiences not only add to the personal and professional development of the individual student, but also have the potential to contribute to the academic environment of the host institution as well as more broadly influencing the determinants of international health outcomes. There are challenges and risks associated with independent student initiatives, however these risks can be mitigated if institutions work in partnership with their students and peers internationally.