By John Roberts, MD
“What does your residency do internationally?”

This is one of the most common questions we are asked during interview season here at LA County. With this in mind, we welcome you to LAC+USC International Emergency Medicine (LAC+USC IEM), and our International Track. This residency has a long history of involvement in International Emergency Medicine, and this track is a way for us to honor that tradition. Our track was created by residents to be a resource for those interested in global medicine, public health, and international emergency medicine specialty development. Our goal is to continue to be a place for residents and faculty to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and provide education and mentorship to residents no matter what their particular interest is.

We say farewell: Since its inception, the faculty sponsor of the track has been Dr. William Mallon, a clinician with over 30 years of experience in international emergency medicine and a mentor to countless residents and fellows throughout his long career at LAC+USC. With Dr. Mallon’s transition to Stony Brook University Hospital, Dr. Sanjay Bhatt will soon be taking the reins of the track and will be bringing his own extensive experience with the help of Drs. Rolando Valenzuela, Edward Newton, and Kathryn Challoner.

We are just over a year old, but we already have a lot going on:

Tijuana, Mexico

Given our residency program’s proximity to Mexico, and shared patient population, it is a natural area of interest. Currently we are participating in 2 endeavors in the Tijuana area of northern Mexico.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.41.47 PMHHAB – Since 2014 we have cultivated a relationship with Healing Hearts Across Borders, a mobile clinic that travels to Tijuana every 3 months to provide ongoing primary care and social services to over 1,000 individuals each visit. The clinic is dependent on volunteer clinicians and medical students to provide both medical and dental care, and our residents and faculty physicians have become integral to its workforce.   So far, Drs. Schneberk, Salway, Cheffers, Ness, O’Carroll, Masri, Bowman and Roberts have provided care at the three clinics that are held in some of the poorest areas of Tijuana. Dr. Cheffers, Schneberk, and Ness are piloting a needs assessment to inform future projects and resource allocation at the 3 clinic sites.


Future: We are participating on the board of HHAB as a steering committee, and hope to expand our collaboration; continuing to work with local affiliates to improve the health and lives of those in TJ. The next trip will be November 12-14 and ALL ARE WELCOME. Please contact Todd or any of the above residents if you have further questions.


Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.38.33 PMResidency Exchange program
– Led by Drs. Schneberk, Cheffers and Ness, we are currently in dialogue with an emergency medicine residency program in one of the public hospitals in Tijuana (IMSS HGR #20), and are excited to explore options for possible collaboration with this program. Future hopes are to begin a residency exchange program where we can engage in educational and clinical endeavors to better both of our patient populations, while equipping residents at both sites with novel skills and experiences.

Future: We hope to begin collaboration on joint research projects to explore possible public health interventions that would benefit the population of Tijuana.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.46.11 PM

Developing EM Conference

Drs Salway, Schneberk, Cheffers, Mallon, Swadron, and Valenzuela just returned from the Developing EM Conference in Havana, Cuba. This is a conference specializing in medical education geared towards providing emergency medicine and critical care education in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Dr. Salway was the program chair for Trauma, which featured talks by several USC faculty.

Next year’s conference will be in Sri Lanka and is a great opportunity for residents looking to get involved in international EM education.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.50.04 PMMSGM program

Our track is in the midst of collaboration with the Keck School of Medicine’s Masters of Science in Global Medicine (MSGM) program, providing both classroom education to their students, as well as clinical support on their study abroad programs. Drs. Cheffers, Akopian, Bugg, Mallon, Challoner, and Bhatt have all taught classes in their Zoonotic diseases course, and Drs. Brandon, Jain, and Berona have provided clinical bedside education to the students in rural Panama.

Future: In the spring, the track will direct the program’s sexually transmitted infections class, all of which will be taught by residents under the mentorship of the attending leadership. There is hope that in the future the program will provide funding to allow DEM residents to act as clinical educators abroad. Contact us if you would like to be involved with course instruction.


As of this summer, thanks to the Dhablania and Kim fellowship grant, two $5000 stipends were awarded to the track to conduct research in Bocas del Toro, Panama: one in ultrasound education, and one in critical care transport.

int4Other Future plans

Tropical Medicine Elective – One focus of the track in the future is the re-institution of the tropical medicine elective into the resident elective curriculum. This elective will focus on real world and practical tropical medicine training, focusing on the diseases relevant to our patient population.

There are a number of additional projects not highlighted in this post, so feel free to ask any of us as we would love to get more people involved!

Contact us:

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