GPSA for Health

Global Public Service Academy for Health


GPSA was founded with an understanding that young adults can make a difference in the world. Through collaboration with local health authorities in Guatemala, Belize and West Virginia, USA, our volunteers and fellows make a lasting difference in the lives of underserved communities.

We offer two types of programs for those interested in health occupations: 1) short-term (1-4 weeks) volunteering programs for high school students and 2) long-term (9-18 months) fellowship programs for university graduates. All of our programs are designed in collaboration with Duke University and Johns Hopkins University.

Our goals are to collaborate with local health authorities to determine the health resources and needs of each area; and to provide young adults with a hands-on experience that addresses those needs.

All GPSA volunteers and fellows receive healthcare training, work alongside local health workers and support the health system of underserved areas in a cross-cultural engagement.


13200 Strickland Rd
Suite 114-115
Raleigh, NC 27613
United States


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Last summer, I traveled to Xela, Guatemala with Global Public Service Academies. I lived with a host family, two other GPSA participants, and two Duke students. We attended Spanish and culture classes in the morning and worked in a clinic (mostly taking glucose and blood pressure measurements) or volunteered at local schools (giving health lessons in Spanish) in the afternoon. We provided hands-on health care to 603 patients. I became close with everyone, improved my Spanish, and experienced a short but meaningful immersion in another culture. I would highly recommend this program!

How can this program be improved?
I think the video tests before the program were complicated to use.
Yes, I recommend

I did the GPSA Medical Fellow program this past year (May 2017-June 2018). I lived in a rural, indigenous town called Zunil, about 30 minutes outside of Xela, Guatemala. I decided to take a gap year before applying to medical school in order to gain more clinical experience, step away from the books, explore my passion for global health, and grow/mature. I was immediately intrigued by GPSA because it would allow me to live (with a host family) in a town and work in the health center as well as give me the opportunity to learn more Spanish. The program also was a year long which I believe is an adequate amount of time to really learn (especially the language) and make an impact.

Working in the health clinic and health posts gave me the opportunity to provide services that truly met a need in the community. Much of the work I did was related to glucose testing which wasn't normally available. I learned the challenges and skills for developing and implementing successful interventions. I also gained great experience in patient contact. It was an amazing feeling to integrate into a community and gain the trust of patients. Being a member of the health team exposed me to community health/outreach and the efforts put forth to increase healthcare access.

Living in Zunil was nothing short of amazing. I loved having the opportunity to live in an indigenous town with an amazing family. My host family became my real family and I will be connected to them for the rest of my life. Living in the area where I worked allowed me to understand the lifestyle as well as allowed everyone to become familiar with me. There is such value in building rapport and transitioning from outsider to community member.

GPSA service-learning programs gave me the opportunity to build mentorship skills and work with/influence the next generation. Also the program locations allowed me to experience community health in West Virginia and Belize. Being able to have a cross-cultural, multi-country experience was truly unique. The programs were one of the more demanding/challenging parts of the medical fellow position, but nevertheless rewarding.

Guatemala is such a beautiful country and an amazing place to be. The medical fellow position truly has a lot to offer as long as you are willing to go out of your comfort zone, be independent, be flexible, and learn! I grew so much from being a medical fellow and gained experiences that will greatly benefit me as a doctor and in life.

How can this program be improved?
Provide more support to the medical fellows throughout their time in Guatemala.
Yes, I recommend
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The GPSA program was an amazing experience. My two-week village stay in San Antonio, Belize last summer was something I will never forget. I was able to expand my knowledge of global disease and prevention by learning in tech sessions taught by Duke students studying similar areas. The people I met not only in my homestay, but living in the village were extremely personable and I keep in touch with them till date. By traveling to other villages to give medical aid, hosting free blood drives, immersing in the village, and much more, my GPSA experience was truly unforgettable.

Yes, I recommend
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I went to GPSA During the summer of my junior year in high school. Before going I knew that I was in some medicine but did not know how I would interact in a clinical setting. While in Ecu during the summer of my junior year in high school. Before going I knew that I was interested medicine but did not know how I would interact in a clinical setting. While in Guatemala, I met the most amazing people and had a wonderful experience. The Spanish lessons offered at the school in Xela helped improve my Spanish speaking ability is far beyond what I could learn in school. Overall I think this program is very well organized and well run and I think that anybody interested medicine should take this opportunity.

Yes, I recommend
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Hi there! I was a Medical Fellow with GPSA from May 2017 - June 2018. I joined the organization after graduating from Duke University because I wanted to explore my interests in global and public health before applying to medical school. I was placed in a rural town in Guatemala, where I worked with the local government health clinic on public health projects. I also served as a team leader for groups of high school students who came on GPSA programs.

My favorite part about this program was living with my host family. I truly view them as my family now and I always will. Living with a host family helped integrate me into the community, accelerated my learning of Spanish, and gave me a a place to call home for the year.

Working with the clinic was a challenging and rewarding experience. I learned so much about how to develop projects and how to work in a team with a diverse group of people. It was also fascinating to be part of a system that puts so much effort on community projects and education in order to improve public health. This aspect of the job requires a strong ability to work independently!

I also loved loved loved working as a team leader on programs in Guatemala and Belize. These programs are FUN. Many of the high school students I led were inspiring and amazing young people, and it was a privilege to be their mentor and to help guide them during such an important stage of their lives.

Overall I would definitely recommend this program! I grew so much as a person, gained many valuable skills, had some wonderful experiences, and made some really good friends along the way :)

Yes, I recommend


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