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NCI is a Stanford-based student organization that offers undergraduate, graduate and medical students the opportunity to undertake clinical internships in Nepal. Through the internship experience, NCI enables students to evaluate their interest in medicine, develop skills to treat patients, and gain a broader understanding of healthcare around the world. In exchange, NCI assists Kanti Children’s Hospital and Manipal Hospital, the Nepalese hospitals that sponsor our program, by 1) sending interns abroad to help with the lack of manpower and 2) collecting student tuition to fund purchases of medicine. NCI also hopes to establish a cross-cultural exchange between the U.S. and Nepal and spark long-term passion and commitment to improving healthcare in developing countries.


Nepal is a third world country with a population of approximately 20 million citizens. Because it is one of the least developed developing countries (LDDC) with a per capita income averaging between $210 and $1,100, most of Nepal’s inhabitants are destitute and living in extremely poor conditions. Consequently, Nepal’s citizens are in dire need of medical assistance: life expectancy in Nepal is 57 years, 20 years less than life expectancy in the U.S.; the infant mortality rate is at 79.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 6.8 in the U.S.; only half of all births take place in the presence of a skilled attendant; only 59% of the population has access to safe drinking water; and less than 50% of the population consumes the daily recommended calorie intake.

To alleviate the healthcare problems in Nepal, NCI’s internship program was created three years ago under the guidance of Dr. Michael McCullough of Stanford Medical Center and Dr. Bishop Joshi of Kanti Children’s Hospital. Ranging from three weeks to two months, the program allows students to volunteer at Kanti Children’s Hospital as well as gain medical knowledge by attending seminars at Manipal’s medical school.

Program Structure

NCI allows participants to gain greater insight into the healthcare industry while cultivating awareness and understanding of the people and cultures they serve. Beyond the internship experience, NCI strives to initiate within students a more lasting commitment to Nepal and other developing countries to create deeper long-term impact. In order to foster such continued interest, the NCI program consists of four main components:

  • 10-week course student-initiated course that provides an overview of Nepalese culture, basic medical knowledge relevant to the internship experience, and international health care issues pertaining to Nepal
  • Placement in a clinical internship in the United States to fulfill a prerequisite number of training hours prior to placement in Nepal
  • A three week to two month stay in Nepal where students intern and attend classes at Kanti Children’s Hospital and Manipal Medical School. Undergraduate students follow a structured program schedule, while medical students set the duration of the internship program individually.
  • Opportunities to stay involved with NCI after the Nepal internship experience as a member of the executive oversight committee


Both undergraduate and medical students at Stanford University can earn course credit for participating in NCI’s internship program. Many undergraduate students majoring in human biology fulfill a requirement for clinical work hours, while medical students can satisfy an elective requirement. In the past, NCI has also accommodated enthusiastic participants from other universities, such as Trinity University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Mt. Holyoke College. In exchange for the course units and practical experience, students pay tuition equivalent to USD$50 per week during their stay in Nepal, and the funds funnel solely to purchase medicine for Nepalese patients who cannot afford to do so themselves.

Trip Description

During winter and summer break, students have the opportunity to participate in the clinical internship in Nepal. The program allows students to volunteer at Kanti Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Nepal. Through the program, students gain exposure to a variety of practices within medicine, such as the physical therapy, intensive care, radiology, surgery, emergency room, and burn units. Upon arrival, students coordinate with Dr. Bishop Joshi, Kanti’s hospital administrator, to map out an intern rotation and daily work schedule. At this time, each hospital can accommodate up to nine students per session, with each session lasting three weeks. In addition, NCI encourages participants to sign-up for recreational activities, travel, and exploration of Nepal’s numerous sights and attractions when they are not volunteering in the hospitals. NCI operates one session during the winter quarter and three sessions during the summer, sending a maximum of 40 students per year. For a more detailed glimpse inside our internship program, please see a sample trip itinerary, and a list of activities that past participants have enjoyed during their free time in Nepal.

Kanti Children's Hospital

Parents bring their children from all over the country to Kanti Children’s Hospital for treatment. Because most patients come from extremely low to middle class families, volunteer organizations, such as the Social Service National Coordination Council, the Nepal Germany Help Association, and the Social Action Volunteers KCH, provide housing, transportation, and free immunizations to families while their children are being treated. The hospital holds 400 staff workers, with 53 full time doctors and 300 beds, and specializes in treating children from newborns to 14 year olds. The hospital serves nearly 100,000 patients per year, including 21,500 in the emergency room, 5, 700 as inpatients, and over 60,000 as outpatients. Standing adjacent to the Tribhuval University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) and serving as Nepal’s only pediatric hospital, Kanti Children’s Hospital is an ideal location for aspiring pediatric doctors to gain clinical experience. Working 9am to 1pm every weekday, program participants interact with children in the physical therapy, ICU, radiology, surgery, and burn units. A typical NCI intern will be able to do the following:

  • Observe the operating room and become familiar with procedures in the surgery ward
  • Work with kids to move and exercise their limbs in the physical therapy department
  • Assist workers in examining burn wounds and changing patients’ dressings in the burn unit * Participate in rounds in the emergency room, following the main ER physician
  • Learn about family planning and immunization as hospital staff have interactive discussions with women and children

What We've Accomplished

  • Operated seven sessions over the last three years, sending a total of 76 students to Nepal
  • Served the student population of numerous universities, including Stanford University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Mt. Holyoke College
  • Saved over 50 lives and improved the quality of life for hundreds of patients through the provision of medicine and manpower hours to Kanti Children’s Hospital and Manipal Medical Program
  • Raised approximately $4,500 in tuition to purchase medicine for Nepalese patients
  • Provided over 3,000 hours in volunteer service and interacted with 1,200 patients
  • Catalyzed numerous other healthcare and Nepal-related programs, including a children’s book, toys and clothing drive for children in Nepal, and distribution of healthcare books related to home remedies and family planning

contact NCI

General Contact:


Elizabeth Kwo, M.D.
Michael McCullough, M.D.