Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights


Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

None, although a background in Portuguese, Spanish, or another Romance language is highly recommended.

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The interdisciplinary coursework in the Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights program explores the various aspects influencing public health planning and practice in Brazil, including historical, social, economic, religious, and ideological factors. Students might attend lectures by government health workers, political activists, researchers, doctors, and/or nurses on topics ranging from domestic violence and family health, to Afro-Brazilian dance and culture. Students use the knowledge they gain through coursework and field study to complete an Independent Study Project on a topic of their choosing.

The Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights program includes the following courses. Course descriptions can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer.

Public Health and Race in Brazil - syllabus (PDF)
(IPBH 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course focuses on public healthcare issues as well as community welfare policies and realities. Students examine the Brazilian national healthcare system along with alternative healthcare practices, focusing more specifically on the northeast region of Brazil. Students observe firsthand the functioning of the healthcare system at the local level. They critically engage the Brazilian model for public health, the Sistema Único de Saúde, and analyze key Brazilian national health programs focused on Afro-Brazilian health issues. Students also study health concepts and practices used by Afro-Brazilian groups, considering the connection between healing and spiritual beliefs and examining how this plays out in alternative treatments for a range of illnesses including psychiatric/mental health issues. Finally, students explore issues of economics and access as they relate to both state-sponsored and alternative methods of health treatment. This course is conducted in English and Portuguese (with interpretation).

Human Rights and Healthcare in Brazil - syllabus (PDF)
(IPBH 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The United Nations decrees that quality healthcare is a human right. In this seminar, students examine how access to this right is gained or not gained among diverse Brazilian populations, focusing in particular on the African descendant population and indigenous people as two of the nation’s most clearly marginalized groups. After studying racial, religious, and regional diversity in Brazil, students explore how social determinants affect the health of Brazil’s diverse populace. They examine Brazil’s health profile and learn how to analyze the economic, structural, and ideological determinants of public health planning and practices in Brazil. The course is conducted in English and Portuguese (with interpretation).

Intensive Language Study: Portuguese for the Health Sciences I - syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Portuguese for the Health Sciences II - syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 1500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Portuguese for the Health Sciences III - syllabus (PDF)
(PORT 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this course, students build their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They learn the terms and expressions needed to conduct field research, to discuss health-related topics, and to interact in settings connected to the program’s themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency. Guided self-instruction is available to students who test out of the available courses.

Public Health Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(IPBH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
In this research methods course designed to prepare students for the Independent Study Project, students learn how to organize and conduct a research project. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice a range of methods appropriate for health-related research. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to health issues and medicine and are guided through the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course students will have chosen a research topic, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project related to the program themes. The course is conducted in English and Portuguese (with interpretation).

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in Salvador, elsewhere in the state of Bahia, or in another approved location in the Brazilian northeast appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Sample topic areas: the health of adolescent mothers and their offspring; Afro-Brazilian health issues; factors affecting well-being in a quilombo community; healing in the Candomblé tradition; drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in Salvador and rural areas; Brazilian AIDS policy; empowerment of women.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Salvador

Language Study: Portuguese

Prerequisites: None


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Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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