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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 or nursing practitioners. 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 Essays page 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.”

Student 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

Didactic, lecture format. Interactive, informal lunch gatherings following class.

Recommended preparation

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

The only assignment in this course will be a 1,000-1,500 word essay describing a location where the student would like to work. This is described in detail on our course website.

Pass / Fail grade assigned based on course attendance and timely submission of an acceptable final paper.


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
Last Update by Paul S. Pottinger
Date: 03/29/2010