The International Collaboration and Exchange Program - Preparing Global Leaders for Healthcare (“Columbia ICE Program”), was initiated in 2014 within the Anatomy/Pathology Department at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City, NY, USA (Department Chairman: Kevin Roth, MD, PhD; Program Director: Anette Wu, MD, MPH, PhD). It partners 21 major leading medical universities on 4 continents.

The program is an international student networking and exchange program specifically designed for junior medical and dental students - originating from within the anatomy course and created by faculty and students to promote the improvement of global healthcare. 

The overall objective of this program is to prepare students in the health professions for international leadership roles in their countries and global collaborative problem solving in healthcare.

The program is open to all medical and dental students from our partner universities. In addition, the program accepts select students from related partner health professions programs (i.e., health sciences graduate schools, schools of public health, anatomy and pharmacy students), and select partner premedical undergraduates, based on academic achievement and interests. We particularly welcome international students at our partner schools to join and enrich students' experiences with cultural diversity and to share their knowledge about healthcare and health related topics in their home countries.


Via multidirectional exchanges with students from major international universities, the program provides students with leadership skills, cultural competency skills, international experience, and networking opportunities – resulting in raised awareness about differences in healthcare delivery systems and global public health challenges, improvement of cultural competency, acquisition of basic sciences research experience, development of leadership and multi-lateral international collaboration skills, and global healthcare problem solving. 

All of these competencies are important for global leaders in healthcare. Early peer-to-peer interactions are expected to form collegiality, long-term bonding, and friendships, and help to improve global healthcare in the future. 

The program provides students with a stepwise opportunity to share and exchange cultural and healthcare related knowledge. 

  • International small peer group work initiates discussions about shared topics (e.g., comparison of healthcare systems, health ethics and law challenges, advancements in biotechnology, reflections on the topic of anatomy body donation, and thoughts on experiences during the global pandemic).

  • Large group discussions and conference presentations train students for international public speaking. 

  • The program culminates in optional multi-directional international short-term basic sciences internships, to enhance basic sciences skills via immersion into an academic life abroad. 

  • An optional condensed virtual summer program enhances leadership skills and scientific knowledge, as a replacement for, or in addition to summer exchange travel.

Students acquire skills that will enhance their careers and prepare them for leadership roles.

We take great pride in emphasizing the networking component of the program. 

Further continuation into the clinical years is in the planning phase. 

See program overview for further information and registration.

Check out our program video here:

  • YouTube
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