India: Health and Human Rights

Students with Medical Superintendent of District Women's Hospital

Field excursions are an integral part of the India: Public Health, Policy Advocacy, and  Community program. Students visit rural and tribal communities, NGO headquarters, academic and research institutes, and hospitals in urban and rural sites across northern India; lectures are held onsite.

Most excursions are to underprivileged areas and aim to provide a better understanding of how caste- and gender-based oppression affects the lives of the poor in otherwise thriving India. Excursion destinations may include Dharamsala, Jamkhed, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Nainital, Varanasi (Benares), and Bahraich.

Excursions provide students with wonderful opportunities to interact with community leaders and victims of health inequalities. Students learn firsthand about the struggle to survive and challenges in acquiring adequate healthcare.

As part of the excursions, students participate in health awareness and healthcare work implemented by partner NGOs.

The visit to Bahraich orients students to the three levels of healthcare delivery in India. During the Bahraich excursion students visit and observe all levels of public healthcare delivery institutions: sub-centers, primary health centers, community health centers (primary level), and secondary-level district hospitals and women’s hospitals. Students also get opportunities to interact with doctors, paramedic staff, patients, village health workers, women, children, and community leaders in forest villages on the Nepal border.

The Bahraich excursion includes visits to the following healthcare facilities:

  • District government civil and women’s hospitals
  • A community health center
  • A primary health center 
  • A health sub-center in a small hamlet nearby

Students in Community Health Center in Jamkhed

The main objective of the visit to Udaipur is to introduce students to the catalytic role of NGOs in connecting people with health services. After the adoption of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in India, the role of NGOs has expanded dramatically. NGOs also work as research and policy advocacy organizations in the public health sector.

The excursion to Udaipur focuses on the health issues of marginalized groups in India. Students are exposed to remote tribal populations and their healthcare needs and concerns.

The excursion to Udaipur incorporates visits to the following NGOs:

  • Seva Mandir (Udaipur)
    The visit starts off with an introductory session at Seva Mandir’s campus in Udaipur. Seva Mandir staff brief students about the organization’s core values, challenges in addressing public health issues, and their areas of work, including their role in promoting pre- and postnatal care in remote locations. Students then visit remote locations in tribal areas of Udaipur district. The organization has trained traditional birth attendants in remote villages. Students get to meet and interact with traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and accredited social health activists (ASHA) at village level. Students also visit malnutrition treatment corner (MTC) in the Udaipur-based medical school to understand issues and challenges.


Students with Tharu women in Fakipuri, last Indian village on the Nepal border.


  • KIRAN Centre
    This organization was founded in September 1990 by a small group of individuals from various social, cultural, and religious backgrounds. It is a center for children and youth with conditions such as polio, cerebral palsy, rickets, and hearing impairments. The center provides education, skills, vocational training, and physical rehabilitation. Kiran literally means “ray of light.”

Jamkhed (Maharashtra)

  • The Comprehensive Rural Health Project (CRHP) Jamkhed, Ahmad Nagar, Maharashtra
    CRHP has been working among the rural poor and marginalized in Jamkhed, Ahmed Nagar District, Maharashtra, for more than 37 years. It is considered the best community health project in India. By partnering with village communities and expanding upon local knowledge and resources, the project aims to effectively meet the immediate and long-term needs of underprivileged groups, especially women. Guided by the values of compassion, justice, respect, and trust, CRHP works to empower people, families, and communities, regardless of caste, race, or religion, through integrated efforts in health and development.

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)

Connect With Us

Connect icons

888.272.7881 (toll-free in US)



Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

Contact us by email.