Overview

The UCLA International Physician Observership Program is an informal observational experience that enables participants to learn procedures, as well as to observe patient rounds and teaching conferences. Federal regulations prevent observers from having patient care responsibilities or involvement in any form of volunteer research. All health professionals participating in the UCLA International Physician Observership Program are required to comply with the policies outlined at the bottom of the page.

Process

Please find below the list of requirements to determine if you are eligible for the program. If you are eligible and still interested in applying, please contact a UCLA faculty member from the specialty in which you would like to observe with your request, a CV, and a statement of interest. Departments and faculty members can be found at UCLAHealth.org under the Medical Services dropdown menu. Once your observership request has been approved by the department, they will provide you with a letter of invitation and will contact the Center for World Health to begin processing.

Timeline

Observerships are organized year-round on a case-by-case basis dependent on the availability of resources within the requested department. Observerships may last between four weeks and three months, dependent on the sponsoring department’s approval. We cannot predict how long the processing will take for each request, though we recommend that you begin the process at least one month prior to your desired start date. Once your application has been submitted to the Center for World Health, it may take up to a week for review. Once all of the requirements have been fulfilled, you will be given approval to begin your observership. You will be required to visit the center for World Health in person before beginning the observership. You may schedule an appointment time with a representative of the International Education Program (IntlEdu@mednet.ucla.edu), when you submit your application packet. On your first day at UCLA, you will meet with the International Education Program Coordinator to submit any remaining paperwork, pay the processing fee ($750), show proof of your B-1 visa, and obtain your hospital ID badge. If you will be observing in the operating room, you will also be required to attend an OR orientation. The department in which you will be observing will provide a weekly schedule outlining your proposed observership activities. Please note, the Center for World Health is not responsible for coordinating any activities related to clinical observerships. In the last week of your observership, you will be required to make an appointment with the Center for World Health for an exit interview, at which time you will be provided with a certificate of completion.

Requirements

  1. Application Packet
    All requests for observerships require a current CV, a copy of your medical license, and the completion of an application packet. Please note that applying for an observership does not guarantee placement. Observership training depends on institutional relationships, current availability of faculty to host observers, and our efforts to keep opportunities equitable across all countries. Observers are responsible for obtaining a signature from their UCLA host physician for the Policy Agreement (page 6 of the Application Packet).
  2. Visa
    All observers must have a letter of invitation from their faculty host to obtain a B-1 (Temporary Business Visitor) visa. If you are a citizen of a country participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (please see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website to determine your eligibility), you will not be required to get a B-1 visa, but you will be required to submit proof of your visa waiver on your first day at UCLA. Please note that B-2 (Tourist) visas will NOT be accepted. UCLA will not be responsible for helping observers obtain visas.
  3. Fees
    Processing fees for international observers have been set at $750, as of March 1, 2016. Fees will be collected on your first day at UCLA and are payable in cash (U.S. currency) only. Please note that each department may elect to charge a separate training fee. If there is a departmental training fee, the applicant will be notified during the application process.
  4. Health Insurance
    All observers are required to show proof of travel health insurance coverage for the duration of their observership. Health insurance must be purchased from HCC Medical Insurance Services at http://www.hccmis.com/travel/. When choosing an insurance policy, be sure to choose a plan for U.S. Visitor Travel. The website will take you through several steps to determine the amount of coverage you will need. In the second step, you will be asked to choose a deductible and a coverage amount. Please note, we do not have a minimum requirement for the deductible or coverage. The deductible is the amount you would first be required to pay before the plan begins to cover medical expenses. For example, if you choose a deductible of $0, then your insurance plan will cover all medical expenses, no matter the amount; however, if you choose a deductible of $2,500, then you will be required to cover $2,500 of your medical expenses, and your plan will cover any additional expenses. The lower the deductible, the more your plan will cost. The coverage amount is the maximum amount your plan will cover for all medical expenses. For example, if you choose a coverage amount of $50,000, then the plan would only cover your medical expenses up to that amount; however, if you choose a coverage amount of $1,000,000, then your plan would cover up to $1,000,000 in medical expenses. The higher your coverage, the more your plan will cost. Please keep in mind when choosing your plan that medical expenses are extremely costly in the U.S. If you have any questions while choosing your insurance plan, you can contact HCC directly at 1-800-605-2282 or sales@hccmis.com.
  5. Training
    Observers must complete the following trainings prior to beginning the observership.
  6. Health Records
    Observers must submit the following health records prior to beginning the observership.
    1. Proof of TWO Varicella vaccinations, or titer test showing positive immunity
    2. Proof of TWO MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccinations, or titer test showing positive immunity
    3. Proof of TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) vaccination within the last 10 years
    4. Proof of THREE Hepatitis B vaccinations
    5. Proof of influenza vaccination, or wear an N95 mask (only required during the U.S. flu season, November – March)
    6. Tuberculosis screening
      • If you have always tested negative for TB, please provide: Medical documentation of TWO separate TB skin tests. The first TB test must be completed within the 12 months prior to your observership start date. The second TB test must be completed within the three months prior to your start date. OR Medical documentation of a QuantiFERON Gold (also known as t-spot) blood test completed within the three months prior to your start date.
      • If you have previously tested positive for TB, please provide: Documented proof of a positive TB skin test or positive QuantiFERON Gold (also known as t-spot) blood test. Documentation of positive TB test from any date will be sufficient. AND Medical documentation of a chest radiograph (x-ray) report within the three months prior to your start date.
  7. Additional Requirements
    • Observers must be proficient in English.
    • If you will be spending any of your observational period in the operating room, you are required to complete the OR application and participate in an orientation on your first day at UCLA.

Policies

  1. Observers will not be allowed to perform or be involved in any patient care or research.
  2. Clinical observerships will consist of clinical observation, as well as attending lectures and meetings.
  3. Observers will not be given access to patient records, library, or email privileges.
  4. Observers must be accompanied by an attending physician, faculty provider, or supervisor at all times when patient observation occurs.
  5. Attending physicians, faculty providers, or supervisors are responsible for the observership and in ensuring that the observer complies with program and department rules.
  6. Observers must complete the application process as outlined above and be approved by both the department in which you plan to observe and the Center for World Health before they are allowed to begin their observership.
  7. Observership training typically lasts one to three months. A request for periods longer than three months should be explained in the application and will need to be approved by the host department and the Center for World Health. If your planned observership period is less than one week, then you will be processed through the department in which you will be observing, not through the Center for World Health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Center for World Health provide housing?
No, the Center for World Health cannot help observers find housing, but you are welcome to visit our Suggested Housing Accommodations Near UCLA page.
Am I allowed to participate in research activities with UCLA faculty?
No research is allowed for observers participating in the International Physician Observership Program.
Can the processing fee be waived for physician observers from low-income countries?
The Center for World Health cannot waive processing fees for any financial circumstances.
Does the Center for World Health provide a letter of recommendation following the observership?
Observerships do not allow for adequate assessment of clinical and surgical skill sets. As such, observers should not expect a letter of recommendation. Recommendation letters may be provided by the host department at their discretion and upon special circumstances only. The Center for World Health presents all observers with a certificate of participation in the program.
My documents are not in English. Do you require English translations?
Please do provide English translations for the documents provided in your application packet. While we do require English translations, they do not need to be official or notarized.
What if some of the required vaccines or titers are not available in my country? Can I get them at UCLA?
While it is possible to get vaccinations and titers at UCLA, they are at the observer’s expense and may delay the start of the observership.
Who may I contact if I have any questions about the International Observership Program?
You may contact a representative of the International Education Program (IntlEdu@mednet.ucla.edu) if you have any questions about the program, requirements, or application process.