India: Health and Human Rights

The India: Health and Human Rights program studies the relationship between human rights and health in a field-study context. Students analyze specific case studies that illuminate the problems, prospects, and potential methods of promoting health. Advocacy efforts for right to health on the national and international levels are also examined, along with relevant international bills of rights.

The program includes five credit-bearing courses:

  • Two thematic seminars which incorporate educational excursions and a one-week workshop
  • Hindi intensive language course: beginning and intermediate levels
  • Field Methods and Ethics
  • Independent Study Project

The program facilitates experiential learning and the values of active global citizenship for all students.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

Capacity Building, NGOs, and Healthcare Delivery – syllabus (PDF)
(ASIA 3010 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
During this course, students explore Indians’ access to and reliance on public healthcare services from the hands-on perspective of involvement in an NGO or other health-related organization. Through active participation in a workshop, students are able to examine systems of healthcare and investigate the realities of the delivery of public health services in India. 

Politics and Economies of Public Health – syllabus (PDF)
(ASIA 3020 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course explores the theoretical link between access to and reliance on Indian healthcare services and the conceptions of human rights of individuals and communities in an Indian social context. Questions raised include:

  • What does the term “right to health” mean to Indians?
  • Who are the key actors in determining who is granted the right to health? 
  • To what degree does the right to health in India coincide with international standards? 
  • In what ways do these human rights directly impact Indians’ access to healthcare?

Intensive Language Study: Beginning Hindi - syllabus (PDF)
(HIND 1000–1500  / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Intermediate Hindi - syllabus (PDF)
(HIND 2000–2500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students acquire a solid foundation in standard Khari Boli Hindi to enable interaction with speakers of Hindi in North India and all over the world. It is expected that students will take the opportunity to make rapid progress in both speaking and listening comprehension by using Hindi outside of class as much as possible, particularly with homestay family members. Although we expect that dedicated students will acquire a strong, functional ability to communicate in Hindi, students wishing to interact substantively with Hindi speakers should nevertheless expect extensive collaboration with a translator for their Independent Study Project (ISP). Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, students are placed in beginning or intermediate classes.

Field Methods and Ethics in Social Science and Health – syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
A course in the concepts of learning across cultures and from field experiences. Introduction to the Independent Study Project. Material includes cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; appropriate methodologies; field study ethics and the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; gathering, organizing, and communicating data; and maintaining a work journal.

The Field Methods and Ethics course examines public health indicators and helps students understand why some indicators are selected or important. The course includes helping students understand how and why studies are conducted in health and human rights; considerations for conducting such studies, including human subject issues; and how students can use public health or human rights data to acquire a better understanding of what is happening in the target society or community.

The concepts and skills introduced in Field Methods and Ethics unite and reinforce all other program components and are put to the test through the execution and successful completion of an Independent Study Project (ISP). Students are expected to develop competence in the following areas: self-orientation in a new environment, ethical comportment appropriate for researchers working with human subjects, and methodological approaches to anthropology fieldwork.

To be conducted with a partner organization, the workshop is linked with the Capacity Building, NGOs, and Healthcare Delivery seminar; however, it also provides important and additional field experience to complement the Field Methods and Ethics course.

Independent Study Project - syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in North India or in another appropriate location. Sample topic areas include: international, national, and regional responses to epidemics and pandemics; health equity and disability; major public health challenges of diseases such as TB, malaria, and polio; access to reproductive and children’s health; health financing; impact of globalization on public health; health planning and management; privatization of medical education.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: New Delhi

Language Study: Hindi

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

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

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