Frequently Asked Questions - International Observership Program

Q: What is the application process?

A: Click here to apply to our International Observership Program

Q: What is the format for the letters of recommendation in support of my observership application?

A: Letter must be on institution letterhead and addressed to CHLA Center for Global Health. An official letter attesting to your current employment and professional standing as a resident, fellow, or attending issued by your institution within the past 12 months.

Q: What type of visa do I need?

A: You will need a B visa (visitor visa). Once you have been accepted for observership at CHLA you will receive an Invitation letter which states you have been accepted and the dates of your visit. You will be able to use this letter for you visa application.

Q: How early should I apply to the observership program?

A: Please review the current academic calendar for observership deadlines. Click here and view the calendar under "How to Apply".

Q: How long can I observe for?

A: Maximum allowance for International Observers at CHLA is 3 months, however, each Division has their own allowance and could range between a few of weeks to 3 months.

Q: Do you accept students/medical students?

A: We currently do not accept students at this time.

Q: I am an international medical graduate and would like to apply to the International Physician Observer Program. I am not enrolled in medical school or currently practicing in a medical institution. Can I still apply?

A: No. Unfortunately, the International Observership Program is designed for professionals, residents, and fellows that would like to visit CHLA for an immersive shadowing experience in a particular specialty. Applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation from their current institution when submitting application.

Q: What is the dress code?

A: Business casual (shirt or blouse, dress slacks, etc.), as you will be shadowing clinics and hospitals. Close toe shoes are required. *Surgery observers will be provided with CHLA scrubs when observing in the OR.

Q: Will I be able to take care of patients?

A: CHLA observers are only allowed to shadow. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to examine or treat patients.

Q: Am I allowed to observe in multiple Divisions at the same time?

A: We suggest only one Division per observership; however, exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Am I allowed to visit other Divisions?

A: While at CHLA you are only authorized to be in the approved precepting Division.

Q: Will I receive any type of academic credit?

A: No, this observership does not fall under a clinical rotation, fellowship, etc.

Q: Will CHLA complete forms from my institution?

A: No, we will not complete any forms from a home institution regarding your observership. Once you have been accepted to do an observership at CHLA, you will receive an Invitation letter which states you have been accepted and the dates of your visit, this letter could be used for proof of acceptance.

Q: Will I receive a certificate, letter of recommendation, or evaluation upon completion of my observership?

A: No. The limitations of being an observer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles do not allow for adequate assessment of clinical and surgical skill sets. As such, observers will shadow under the supervision of a CHLA physician without the expectation of receiving a letter of recommendation or completing an evaluation/certification form. However, you will receive a letter of completion as an observer at CHLA.

Q: Will housing be provided?

A: CHLA does not provide housing. Observers are responsible for their own lodging, but many short- and long-term accommodations are available in the Los Angeles area and offer a discounted rate for CHLA visitors. For additional information please visit our Resources page.

Q: Does CHLA offer financial aid or scholarships to observers?

A: Observers are responsible for all expenses. Unfortunately, CHLA does not provide financial aid or scholarships at this time.

Q: Can I participate in CHLA’s CME conferences during my observership?

A: Yes, all CME conferences offered at CHLA are open to our international observers. More information will be provided at new observer orientation.

Q: I am interested in starting a Short Course program between CHLA and my institution. What is my first step?

A: We would be delighted to learn about the program you have in mind. Please email Araceli Jimenez at with more information regarding your request and your institution.