Brazil: Public Health, Race, and Human Rights

Faculty and Staff


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.

Francisco Santos, Academic Coordinator
Francisco is originally from the city of Salvador, Bahia. He began his undergraduate studies at the Federal University of Bahia where he studied anthropology; he later transferred to Georgia State University where he graduated with a BS in anthropology. Francisco also holds a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta, Georgia. He lived in the United States for 23 years. Francisco has engaged in volunteer work with various organizations that run educational and cultural exchange programs (primarily to Brazil).

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.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Salvador

Language Study: Portuguese

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.