ENLACE China Medical Service Learning Experience - June 20-30, 2013


hubei.jpgThe ENLACE China Medical  Service Learning Experience takes place at the Xiang Fang Children’s Social Welfare Institute, a large orphanage in Hubei Province. It is a unique opportunity to gain exposure to the healthcare needs of children in China’s orphanages. 

Children in orphanages represent some of the most vulnerable children in the world and often have special health care needs such as cleft lip and palate, heart defects and other development issues such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, etc. Caring for these most vulnerable children requires focused time and training that is not usually available to caregivers nor do most medical student receive sufficient training on how to care for these special children and support their caregivers. 

Students will benefit from additional in-depth training, hands-on exposure to children with special health care needs and the opportunity to provide the orphanage caretakers with training on how to care for the children in their care who have special needs. 

Students will develop a needs assessment for the Social Welfare Institute (SWI), improve SWI facilities as needed, assess developmental needs of the children, help train caregivers on specific developmental interventions and facilitate future medical care for the children through collaboration with the local hospital partner. Students play an active role in all aspect of the service learning experience. Students assume leadership roles to help organize the effort of the group. Leadership roles include:

  • Environment of Care Team: organize team in creating a medically stimulating environment. May involve cleaning and upkeep of facility, minor repairs, painting.
  • Needs Assessment Team: organize team in evaluating and prioritizing resource gaps to meet developmental and special health care needs of the children.
  • Caregiver Handout Team: organizing team to acquire, adapt and develop culturally and linguistically appropriate educational handouts for caregivers.
  • Communication Team: organize team communications via social media.

Important Dates

Click here to begin the application process.

  • Application Deadline -- March 1, 2013
  • Selection Notification -- March 22, 2013
  • Hands-On Pediatric Physical Exam & Developmental Screening Practice with Children and Family Volunteers -- June 8, 2013 Saturday 10am-3pm, IUPUI campus
  • Orientation Sessions (three) -- 2 via Adobe Connect, 1 in person, dates TBA
  • Medical Service Learning Experience in China -- June 20-30, 2013

Program Eligibility

For the 2013-2014 academic year, this non-credit service learning program is open to rising MSII students during the summer, as well as rising MSIII and MSIV students with vacation scheduled for this time-period.  Students must be in in good academic standing. The program is particularity suited for the following medical interests: primary care, children with special health care needs, global health. Mandarin Chinese language skills are not required.

  • Rising MSII students: Don’t make other plans for your 2013 summer! Come to China and make a difference.
  • Rising MSIII students:  If interested in this opportunity, you will need to plan accordingly when arranging your MSIII schedule. You will need to schedule VACATION as the first rotation for the clerkship block  6/14-7-1, 2013.
  • Rising MSIV students:  If interested in this opportunity, you will need to plan accordingly when arranging your MSIV schedule. You will need to schedule June 2013 as your vacation month. 

Academic Program

The ENLACE China Service Learning Program consists of three required components:

  1. Pre-Departure Orientation: Students complete on-line learning modules about childhood development and developmental delays; attend a hands-on pediatric physical exam and developmental screening practice with special needs children and their parents at Riley Children’s Hospital; and, attend Orientation sessions in-person or Adobe Connect Orientation sessions.  Orientation topics cover Chinese culture, cross-cultural communication, safety and security issues, overview of the Chinese medical system and the Chinese orphanage and international adoption system. Field Experience: Students work in IUSM faculty-led teams focused on:
            •    developmental assessment of children
            •    developmental play care-plans and caregiver demonstrations
            •    developmentally stimulating environments to facilitate childhood development
    Additionally, students participate in small group discussions facilitated by faculty. These discussions cover a variety of topics on global health, health literacy, special needs, and vulnerable populations.
  2. Post-Travel Report: Students complete a 2-page guided reflection paper about their experience and how it influenced their knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  3. Competency Credit:  The ENLACE China Medical Service Learning Experience is eligible for Level III credit in Competency VI, Social and Community Context of Health.  Rising MSII students may submit for Level III credit which will be awarded after Level II credit has been achieved.

Application and Selection Process

Application through i-Abroad system required. Interviews may be requested.  Non-refundable $150 Program Fee secures placement. Click here to begin the application process.

Room and Board Information

Western-style hotels in Beijing and Xiangyang. Same sex individuals share double and triple rooms. Hotels are clean and fully functional with electricity, hot water, restaurant services, internet availability and appropriate security measures. Breakfast provided by the hotel. Communal lunch and dinner meals at orphanage.


The cost for this 10-day experience is $4800.  This cost includes airfare, room/board, in-country transportation, group excursions, interpreters, health insurance, charity and program fees, immunizations. It does not include the cost of a passport, meals in airports or personal spending money.

For more information contact:

Jennifer Custer: or 317.274.6539

Dr. DeDe Willis:

1110 West Michigan Street, Long Hall Suite 200 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 278-0300 | Fax: (317) 274-4444