Drexel ICA program

Intensive Course Abroad

    To learn more about the Drexel ICA program, click here to access additional details and information.

  • Program Outline

    The Health and Research Summer Internship Program (HRSIP) is designed for students interested in healthcare, nursing, dentistry, mental health, nephrology, optometry, medicine and public health. It offers students the opportunity to work at local hospitals and underserved communities under the direction of licensed local health professionals. The program is based in Tarkwa in the Western region of Ghana, a dynamic metropolitan area of over two hundred thousand people, and the heartland of the largest mining enclave in the entire West Africa. Students will be exposed to a unique healthcare system that challenges them to rethink novice ways of addressing healthcare challenges in a third world country. Medical and Nursing students will learn about how primary care physicians and nurses’ function under limited resources while being exposed to rare infectious diseases and treatment modalities using local resources. Students will shadow licensed healthcare professionals at the Apinto Government Hospital, Tarkwa Municipal Hospital and Accra Medical Center through clinical rotations to help them understand the vital role of sociocultural competence in healthcare delivery. Dental students are assigned to a mobile unit to visit elementary, junior and senior high schools to educate students and screen them for possible cavities or diseases. Public health students assist medical professionals in undertaking screening services in underserved communities. Students have once in a lifetime opportunity to join weekly public health radio discussions on Dynamite FM (88.9) to share their experiences as well as educate the populace on selected weekly topics. There are multiple ongoing research projects for students to apply their quantitative and analytical skills. Each student must commit to actively engage in research projects that could lead to journal publications. We are currently trying to understand the prevalence of HIV, Sexual Abuse, Anemia among pregnant women and malaria cases in each of the health facilities we work in. Students are encouraged to explore other avenues for potential research and discuss with their preceptors.

  • Ghana is known as the gateway to Africa. Homes are small and stuffy, so people are always out and about. Ghana is an exciting and popular place to spend some time on a volunteer project or internship. Ghana is an intensely colorful land on the West coast of Africa. Once the British colony known as the 'Gold Coast', it is renowned for the friendliness and warmth of its people. Ghana has great beaches, wild savannahs, and dense rainforests. This English-speaking country provides volunteers with a wonderful introduction to Africa; it is politically-stable, safe, affordable, and rewarding to visit. You can explore historic slave forts, shop in bustling colorful markets, wander through rainforests, or laze on the hundreds of miles of beaches. When you explore this magnificent African country, you’ll discover lakes and wetlands, fascinating historical sites and a profound heritage. Gorgeous beaches offer a paradise on earth, and you will find yourself expanding and relaxing into the warmth of the African sun, the sweeping blue skies over the mountains and green forest. Most importantly you will love the people you serve and gain an experience the classroom can never offer. Ghana has made lot of strides in the healthcare sector but also faced with unique challenges. The internship provides unique opportunity to learn and experience the Ghanaian culture, arts, and healthcare system. Students are encouraged to bring resources that can assist and improve their experience.

  • Students in the following disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply to our internship program; Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health, Mental Health, Optometry, Nephrology and Medicine. Students must be very conversant with data analysis software; R, Stata and SPSS. Students graduating at the end of spring semester but are interested in gaining experience in healthcare delivery are welcome to apply.

    The program will:

    1. Expand your clinical knowledge and skill set.
    2. Develop your confidence and resourcefulness.
    3. Build your personal and professional network.
    4. You gain different perspectives to disease treatment.
    5. Become more attractive to employers.
    6. Sharpen your analytical and research skills.
    7. Equip you with time management skills and teamwork.

    The best part is that your placement runs Monday to Friday. So, your evenings and weekends are free to explore a beautiful country you might never again get the chance to visit

  • All applicants must fill and upload all the relevant documents listed below:

    1. Scanned copies of your academic transcripts.
    2. 2 letters of recommendation from people who can attest to your work ethics, your health and ability to adapt to new environment.
    3. Letter of Intent not more than 500 words.

    Application Deadlines

    1. Fall Term – July 15th
    2. Winter Term – October 1st
    3. Spring Term – February 1st

    Internship Dates

    1. Mid-September - Late December
    2. Early January - Mid April
    3. Early May - Late July

  • The first couple of days at the program site will be devoted to orienting you to the city, rotation sites, transportation, selected communities and other logistical matters. Rotations will take place during the day from 8 am to 4 pm. It will start after the first week of orientation. Throughout the program period, students will be split amongst the four (4) health facilities mentioned above. Public health students will work with records staff at each site to collect data on chosen selected diseases. Rotation sites includes:

    1. Tarkwa Municipal Hospital

    - The largest hospital in the Municipality. It is a 90-bed capacity hospital which is government owned operated by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service. Services include pediatrics, neonatal ICU, general surgery, emergency and trauma units, mental health unit and an ARV clinic.

    2. Apinto Government Hospital

    - The oldest and the second largest health facility in the Municipality. It is a 45-bed capacity hospital and government owned operated by the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service. Services include pediatrics, neonatal ICU, general surgery, emergency and trauma units, mental health unit and an ARV clinic.

    3. Accra Medical Center

    - Gold Fields Ghana Limited Operated under the auspices of Gold Fields Ghana Limited, this is the third largest facility in the Municipality which operates on a private basis. The facility offers respite care for those in the final stages of chronic disease. It has a 20 bed in-care center. Students will learn alongside nurses providing home-based care and gain insight to understanding how to provide effective patient care for those facing life limiting or life-threatening illnesses.

  • Public health and dental students will be assigned to 4 villages within the Tarkwa municipality. Health promotion and education will be conducted at these selected communities by students Analyzing patient records to understand disease trends within the Municipality is an integral part of the internship. Students will be assigned to research teams at the various health facilities. Students are expected to be actively involved in data gathering and analysis.

  • Interns are accommodated in student hostels where they will live with other interns and local staff. While volunteering in Ghana, most volunteers will stay in our Home-based. This concept is a permanent residence set up especially for international volunteers. There are several bedrooms at our Home-based and volunteers will normally share a room with a same gender volunteer. There are common rooms fully equipped with a television and Wi-Fi. We manage interns’ meal plans and accommodations for the duration of your time in Ghana. Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and will consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for Ghana. Our meal program can accommodate vegetarian needs; however, we are not able to provide for other dietary restrictions. Food and drinks outside of mealtimes are the interns’ responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the homes in which our volunteers stay. The environment is very relaxed and social and a great place to unwind after a busy day. The kitchen and bathrooms are shared, and there is running water and “western-style” toilets. The neighborhood is very safe and clean. There are many amenities nearby like internet cafés, grocery stores, restaurants and mass transit stop. We put safety and comfort first as we deliver enriching and consistent experiences for our students. Our support is multi-faceted while in-country and our staff is in contact with our interns on a regular basis either with face-to-face visits or via phone/email. Key support comes from our country coordinator and in-country field staff. These individuals are part of the Firm Health Ghana Foundation setup and its partners. They are committed to ensuring your experience the best it can be. Interns also have access to our country coordinator’s mobile number for emergencies. With longer assignments, our field staff visits regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to ensure the experience is meeting your expectations. Sometimes an assignment may be too far to visit physically, so staff members will touch-base via phone/email. You are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time. You are never alone. Living is basic but the large majority of the volunteer houses have electricity and running water. If you have special eating needs, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as an intern, there is a need to be flexible. Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized intern placement documentation prior to arrival.

  • Once you are accepted onto our program, we will send you the letter of acceptance and details of your projects which will help you in securing your visa. The cost of visa varies depending on which country you are coming from. Volunteers are responsible for their visa however the foundation will assist in every way possible. Apply for visa, purchase tickets and make necessary travel arrangements. Please scan a copy of your passport and itinerary to our office (s.akpah92@gmail.com/jos.darko@gmail.com). Participants must make full payment of the program fee at least 2 months prior to departure.

  • 1. Ghana Guidebook – get to know the country you’re going to! To be provided
    2. Backpack – to put everything in!
    3. Mosquito net (to be provided in Ghana)
    4. Water bottle
    5. Sunglasses (if you wear them)
    6. Books to read in your downtime
    7.Sleeping bag liner (you will not need a full sleeping back; it is too hot!)
    8. Photocopies of passport, vaccination details, and insurance documents
    9. 6 passport photos (to renew visa) where necessary
    10. Money belt
    11. Cash (see ‘money’ section in your briefing pack)
    12. Games to play in the evening – such as chess, scrabble and cards, etc
    13. Clothes suitable for climate (cotton and synthetics can be uncomfortable in the heat, also white clothes soon get very dirty due to dust
    14. A pair of Thongs/Flip flops or another rugged sandal. Some volunteers suggest Crocs, which have straps, so they don’t slip off your feet)
    15. Trainers or lightweight walking shoes (or both)
    16. Sunhat
    17. All your normal toiletries (toothbrush etc.)
    18. Sunscreen (enough for a while, but it is available in Ghana too)
    19. Mosquito Repellant
    20. Anti-malaria prophylaxis and 6 months’ supply of prescribed drugs
    21. Hand sanitizer
    22. Contact lens solution (if needed)
    23. 2 towels
    24. Nail brush
    25. Sanitary items for females (tampons are hard to buy)
    26. Radio batteries or wind-up radio
    27. Camera and spare memory cards for the camera
    28. Torch – either wind up one or a small LED one with a long-lasting battery and can fit in your pocket
    29. Cheap waterproof watch
    30. Travel adapter (a lot of sockets are like the UK, but there are exceptions)
    31. Cheap, durable mobile phone (SIM cards available in card)

  • Staff of Firm Health Ghana Foundation does extensive work on students’ behalf prior to the official start of the program. This necessitates a commitment to the Firm Health Ghana Foundation’s refund and cancellation policies.

    Please Note

    1. The initial application fee or deposit is not refundable.
    2. All requests for cancellation/refunds must be submitted in writing to info@firmhealthghana.org.

    Firm Health Ghana Foundation internship program cancellation refunds can be assessed under the following conditions as described below. These policies apply to only in-person program participants.

    1. 100% of the program fee paid will be refunded as long as the student has not accepted an internship offer.
    2. Once an internship begins, there will be no program fee refunds. If a student chooses to drop the program, there will be no refund and the student will be documented as a drop post-program.
    3. If student cancels after they have made the deposit and before the first payment deadline, $350 Cancellation Penalty.
    4. Violation of the program term and conditions can lead to program contract cancellation by FHGF without any refund.

See Program Outline

  • Day One: Arrival

    Upon arriving in Accra, your entry point will be Terminal 3 of Kotoka International Airport. A dedicated coordinator from Firm Health Ghana Foundation will be present to welcome you, ensuring a seamless transition as they guide you to a waiting bus that will transport you to Tarkwa.

  • Upon arrival at Terminal 3 of Kotoka International Airport in Accra, a coordinator from Firm Health Ghana Foundation will greet you, facilitating a smooth transition as they guide you to a waiting bus destined for Tarkwa. Subsequently, a comprehensive two-hour orientation at Tarkwa Municipal Hospital awaits, encompassing a tour of the two mental health units in the municipality, including the historic Apinto Hospital. Further engagements include paying courtesy calls to the Municipal Chief Executive, Municipal Health Director, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, fostering interactions with university students, and concluding the day with a delightful family dinner.

  • Participate in a meaningful community engagement initiative within a selected community, encompassing various activities. Engage with local students to foster connections and gain insights into their experiences, contributing to a mutual exchange of knowledge. Additionally, partake in community service endeavors within the chosen community, working collaboratively to address specific needs and create a positive impact. This hands-on experience aims to strengthen community bonds, promote social responsibility, and provide participants with a well-rounded understanding of the local context.

  • Embark on a dynamic exploration of mental health awareness with radio discussions scheduled on two distinct radio stations, allocating one hour to each station. Delve into insightful conversations surrounding mental health to foster public understanding and dialogue. Following this, engage in a compassionate outreach by conducting three home visits, dedicating an hour and a half to each visit, to interact with mental health patients and their families firsthand. This personal connection aims to provide support and insight into the challenges faced by individuals and their loved ones. Concluding the agenda, undertake a site visitation to a gold-producing mine, offering a unique opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the mining operations and the community's economic landscape.

  • Embark on a transformative full-day excursion to a faith-based church dedicated to mental health patients, where the day unfolds with meaningful activities. Begin by making a heartfelt donation at the faith-based church, contributing to the well-being of those in need. Subsequently, engage in empathetic interactions with individuals grappling with addiction, fostering understanding and support. The journey extends beyond, with a cultural visit to the historically significant Cape Coast and Elmina castles, providing a profound opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of the region. This holistic experience aims to combine philanthropy, compassion, and cultural appreciation for a comprehensive and enriching day.

  • As part of a reflective session, students will engage in paired sharing, dedicating two hours to exchanging their experiences and insights gained thus far in the program. Following this, participants will actively contribute to community service, fostering a sense of social responsibility and connection with the local community. The program also includes a leisurely trip to Beyin, where participants will spend the night, creating an immersive experience in the cultural and scenic offerings of the region. To culminate the day, a picturesque dinner on the beach will provide a relaxed and memorable setting for participants to unwind and bond, adding a touch of serenity to the overall program.

  • Embark on a captivating cultural journey with a visit to Nzulezu, a unique village near Beyin characterized by stilt-supported structures overlooking the scenic Beyin River. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this distinctive settlement. The exploration continues with a cultural visit to Apollonia Fort, delving into the historical significance of this architectural marvel. As the program progresses towards its conclusion, students will travel to Accra, making noteworthy stops en route. A visit to Kakum National Park promises an immersive experience in the lush natural surroundings, complemented by encounters with wildlife at the monkey and crocodile sanctuary. This comprehensive itinerary aims to provide participants with a diverse and enriching cultural and natural exploration.

  • Embark on an adventurous day with mountain climbing and kayaking activities on the picturesque Volta Lake, offering participants an exhilarating and scenic experience. Engage in the physical challenge of scaling heights and navigating the tranquil waters, providing a unique blend of thrill and natural beauty. Following this active exploration, students are afforded the flexibility to unwind and explore the vibrant local scene at their own pace. Enjoy a leisurely shopping excursion and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the capital, rounding off the day with the freedom to savor the diverse offerings and cultural richness the city has to offer.

  • As the program draws to a close, students will embark on their journey back to the United States. The departure marks the culmination of a transformative experience filled with cultural immersion, community engagement, and personal growth. Reflecting on the diverse activities and impactful moments throughout the program, participants will bid farewell to the host country, carrying with them the memories and insights gained during their time abroad. The departure is also symbolic of the program's closure, marking the end of a chapter enriched with learning, connection, and cross-cultural exchange.