Gabriela Ventura, MBA, Academic Director
Gabriela Ventura is a Brazilian and American citizen with an MBA in project management from the Escola Superior de Administração, Marketing e Comunicação, in Brazil, and she is an MA candidate in socio-cultural anthropology at Columbia University. Her MBA project proposed a bilingual course for technical schools in Campinas, São Paulo, aiming to train and equip business administration technicians for the global market. She earned her BA in cultural anthropology and French from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Gabriela has worked as a program coordinator for SIT Latin America and Africa programs, led Experiment in International Living high school programs in Morocco and France, and is an alumna of SIT programs in both Madagascar and France. She has worked professionally as a high school history teacher in international schools in São Paulo and has also acted as a Portuguese translator.
Damiana de Miranda, MD, PhD, Academic Director
Damiana de Miranda received her doctorate in anthropology from the University of Arizona; she is also a psychiatrist with a degree from the Faculdade de Medicina e Saúde Pública at the Universidade Católica de Salvador in Salvador, Brazil. Dr. de Miranda has taught graduate courses on cross-cultural psychiatry and public health and has been a consultant for several national and international organizations that examine health disparities. She has conducted research projects in the state of Bahia and served as a psychiatric resident in the Republic of Cape Verde, Africa, where she helped to create and develop the country's national mental health program. Dr. de Miranda has worked in mental health, psychoanalysis, and health facilities management and has authored several articles on public health and social justice.
Dr. de Miranda is passionate about the socioeconomic and health issues concerning Brazilians of African descent. She believes healthcare is a human right and strives to expand healthcare access and improve healthcare quality for all Brazilians without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic condition. She also believes that the right to healthcare is not confined to medical care alone and recognizes the efficacy of Afro-Brazilian traditional medicine. She brings these perspectives to the SIT Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights program. Dr. de Miranda has served as the program's academic director since 2004.
As academic director, Dr. de Miranda oversees all aspects of the program. In addition to giving lectures and advising students, she plans the program's educational excursions and works to ensure that students' academic needs are met. A descendant of a quilombo community on Maré Island, Dr. de Miranda draws on her networks throughout the country and her involvement in political and sociocultural activities within the Afro-Brazilian community.
Paula Santos, International Program Specialist
Paula Santos is an expert in international educational support and brings with her a vast range of contacts in the state of Bahia, which range from governmental organizations to universities, from cultural agencies to civil society organizations. She has worked with SIT Study Abroad programs in Brazil for more than 20 years, organizing and coordinating race and gender seminars, identifying partner NGOs for visits and service learning opportunities, organizing and advising students on their Independent Study Projects, and providing translation for SIT classes. Paula is also a lecturer on women's issues in Bahia.
Dr. Andreia Beatriz Silva dos Santos, Academic Coordinator, Health and Medicine
Dr. Andreia Beatriz Silva dos Santos joins SIT with a strong background in the medical and healthcare field, with a special focus on family and public health. She holds a medical degree from Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz-Ilhéus/Bahia (UESC) as well as a master’s degree in public health from the Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (UESC) and is completing her doctorate in public health from the Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA). She has coordinated and supervised various initiatives, particularly in Bahia, including programs for basic health services for underserved communities. Her most recent publications discuss the right to equal healthcare as well as institutional racism as it relates to public health. She will support the program with fieldwork training classes, and she will review Independent Study Project (ISP) proposals and support in advising and grading the ISPs as well.
Bira Silva, Language Coordinator
Bira Silva is a teacher of English and Portuguese and has traveled extensively to the US. For more than 36 years, Silva worked at the Brazilian-American Cultural Association (ACBEU) in Salvador, Bahia, where he taught several courses, including TOEFL exam preparation and a class on American culture. He has taught Portuguese to students in the Brown-in-Bahia Program, a cooperative agreement between Brown University and ACBEU, and to American physicians from The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell studying at Hospital das Clínicas in Salvador, Bahia. He has also taught English and English medical terminology to Brazilian doctors planning to study at Cornell. Additionally, Bira has been an instructor of English at Elder Creek Elementary School in Sacramento, California; Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, California; and City College of San Francisco.
Lecturers for this program typically include:
Professor Climene Laura de Camargo, PhD
Professor Climene Laura de Camargo obtained a BA in nursing from the Faculdade Adventista de Enfermagem in 1975, a master’s degree in nursing from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in 1990, and a doctorate in public health from the Universidade de São Paulo in 1996. Additionally, she obtained a postdoctoral degree from the Université René Descartes-Sorbonne, Paris, France, in 2009.
Presently, she is an associate professor at the Universidade Federal da Bahia’s Nursing School in Bahia, Brazil. She is a specialist in pediatric nursing and also works as a consultant and educator on issues related to health education, violence, and Afro-Brazilian healthcare. Professor Climene is the academic director of the Nascer Project, a research project she created at the Universidade Federal da Bahia where she has participated in several research studies. In addition, she is a member of the Afro-Brazilian Health Program, created by the Brazilian Ministry of Health to improve Afro-Brazilians’ access to the National Health System. She has taught classes for SIT students on the Brazilian health program since 2006.