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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paul S. Pottinger
G H 561
Seattle Campus

Tropical Medicine

Intended for professional health science students interested in learning the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and clinical presentation of disease conditions that are more commonly seen in less-developed countries, resource-limited settings, or tropical climates, and how to diagnose, treat, and follow the resolution of these diseases with commonly limited resources. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: jointly with MED 561; Sp.

Class description

The course consists of lectures covering the major diseases and syndromes occurring in the developing world. The talks will be given by a number of expert speakers who are medical doctors. Each lecture will be organized and structured in a disease-oriented or syndromic format. The lectures will emphasize diagnosis and treatment of diseases in resource-limited settings, where modern equipment and advanced laboratory diagnostics are often not available. Optional reading materials are recommended for each session. The students are expected to attend lectures and submit a 1000-1500 word paper (see Essay section below for details).

Student learning goals

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to recognize a multitude of disease syndromes that are common in developing countries, such as “fever,” “diarrhea,” or “malnutrition.”

Students will be able to generate a differential diagnosis for etiologic causes of various syndromes. For example, students will be able to list and describe the most important causes of “fevers” occurring in tropical regions.

Students will be able to recognize the features of HIV infection and describe various opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS.

Students will be able to explain the principles and many details of treatments for common tropical diseases.

Students will be able to describe preventative measures to reduce the risk or impacts of tropical infectious diseases.

Students will be able to describe challenges to delivering health care in resource limited settings and approaches to overcoming these challenges.

General method of instruction

Case-based lectures, with interactivity via Q&A with each speaker.

Recommended preparation

This course targets professional graduate students interested in delivering health care services to people living in tropical climates, less-developed countries, or resource-limited settings. Students would benefit from some general background knowledge of microbiology, disease pathophysiology, and clinical health care, although this is not required. First-year medical students preparing for electives abroad are the primary audience; however, nursing students, public health students, and second-year (and beyond) medical students, residents, and fellows would benefit from this course as well.

Class assignments and grading

Please see description below of the essay assignment for this class, and for information on attendance.

The grading for the course is pass/fail. Students will be graded on a short paper (1,000 to 1,500 words) that will be due one week after the final class, before 5 PM on 5/29/13. The paper will describe a place where the student would like to practice international medicine, the epidemiology of the major diseases in that area, a general approach to improving the health of individuals, the general public health of that area, and the challenges of health care delivery and improving public health in that area. Drs. Buckner and Pottinger will grade the papers.

Attendance is mandatory and will be taken at each class. One absence is acceptable (no explanation necessary). If a student is absent for more than one session, a half-page (single-spaced, 12pt font) essay relating to each missed lecture is requested. Please read the posted slides and related “readings” and provide an essay addressing the following: what are 3 “take-home” points from the lecture or reading material that you have gathered? The responses will be due by the next class session, to be turned in via email to one of the course chairs. If a student is absent for more than 3 classes, no credit will be given for the class.

Papers submitted after the final due date (May 29) will not be accepted and course credit will not be given.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information & syllabus:
Last Update by Paul S. Pottinger
Date: 03/23/2013