Italian medical student relishes opportunity to study at USC School of Medicine

Italian medical student Alessandra Bertone is enjoying her final year of medical school 5,000 miles from home. This University of Pavia (Italy) student is spending four weeks this fall in Columbia, South Carolina studying medicine at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

The School of Medicine welcomed Bertone as its first Global Health Learning Opportunities (GHLO™) exchange student.student from Italy

Established by the Association of American Medical Colleges, GHLO facilitates global learning for final-year medical students pursuing clinical, research, or public health electives outside their home country. More than 35 U.S. and international medical schools have joined the collaboration. Students from these schools can apply for electives using

GHLO’s web-based application and member schools work together to ensure a student’s credits will easily transfer.

USC’s School of Medicine was one of the first U.S. medical schools to join GHLO when it was a pilot program.

“GHLO provides medical students the opportunity to go places and see the world of medicine from a different perspective,” said Richard Hoppmann, M.D., director of the School of Medicine’s Ultrasound Institute and the Dorothea H. Krebs Endowed Chair of Ultrasound Education. “Our students will benefit from the study abroad experiences and the interaction with international students we welcome to our campus.”

The School of Medicine’s internationally recognized ultrasound program attracted Bertone to USC. The aspiring OB/GYN physician developed an interest in ultrasound during her hospital rotations in Italy. Her trip to South Carolina coincided with the Second World Congress on Ultrasound in Medical Education where she attended workshops and lectures about the global use of ultrasound. In addition, she worked alongside USC medical students in an ultrasound laboratory session at the School of Medicine’s Ultrasound Institute.

“When I start my residency next year, I expect to use ultrasound to care for my patients,” Bertone said. “My training at USC has prepared me to use ultrasound on patients of all ages.”

Bertone’s elective coursework extended beyond ultrasound. She participated in clinical rotations in pediatrics and women’s health at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, trained in the simulation lab at University Specialty Clinics and took an advanced cardiovascular life support class. In addition, she enjoyed a road trip to Charleston, visits to the Columbia Art Museum and the South Carolina State House, and ate her first corn dog at the South Carolina State Fair.

Bertone appreciates the opportunity to study at the School of Medicine. She says the breadth of knowledge she obtained and the experiences she enjoyed left an indelible impression.

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity to see how health care works in other countries and at other universities,” Bertone said. “My time at USC will make me a better doctor.”

October 23, 2013