Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment

Faculty and Staff

Rossana Testa

Rossana Testa, PhD, Academic Director
Dr. Testa is a native of Chile. She holds several master’s degrees and certificates in the fields of obstetrics, epidemiology, biology, and organizational management. Dr. Testa’s core academic interests include women’s health, youth, indigenous medicine, preventative and promotional health, and intercultural exchange. She has published several articles in professional journals, including the Chilean Journal of Public Health. She also has participated in observational study tours to Indonesia and Japan focusing on themes such as community participation in family planning programs and the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. She has taught for fifteen years at the University of Tarapacá in the fields of obstetrics and nursing. Dr. Testa has extensive experience working in primary care centers, hospitals, and rural and private clinics throughout Chile. She served as the first director of a specialized center of primary care for adolescents. She was previously based in northern Chile with Arica Health Service, where she oversaw a special health program for the region’s indigenous community and also led the Health Service of Arica’s adolescent division. As academic director with SIT Study Abroad, Dr. Testa oversees all aspects of the Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment 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.

Leonardo González

Leonardo González, Program Assistant
Leonardo holds an undergraduate degree in public administration from the University of Tarapacá in Arica and has worked for many years at undergraduate institutions in the administration and accounting divisions.  In his capacity as program assistant with SIT Study Abroad, Leonardo facilitates cross-cultural communication among SIT students, lecturers, and other program partners.

Norma Contreras, Homestay Coordinator
Norma holds a professional degree in public administration and has provided administrative support for various institutions in Chile. She currently works as the homestay coordinator for the SIT Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment program. In this role, Norma interviews and selects appropriate homestay families, orients families prior to the students’ arrival, and is in constant communication with the students, families, and SIT Chile staff.

Spanish language study staff:

Graciela Heredia Artigas, MA, Spanish Coordinator
Graciela holds a master’s degree in social sciences and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Arts and Social Sciences (ARCIS) in Santiago. She is currently a workshop instructor in the area of social education. She facilitated workshops on acting, intercultural communications, folklore, and participatory literature at the Aymara Society in Arica. She has also worked as an instructor at the University Arturo Prat, the University of Los Lagos, and the University of Tarapaca teaching classes in personal development, the sociology of organizations, interpersonal relations, and communications.

Emily Joan Walker, Spanish Instructor
Emily has a degree in French and Hispanic Studies from the University of Sheffield, England and has been appointed “Expert in Translation and Unique Interpretation” by the honorable court of appeals in Arica. Emily specializes in written and spoken translation in English to Spanish and Spanish to English. She teaches English as a foreign language including grammar and skills theory and also does translation work in French. She has taught Spanish, English, and French at various institutions and universities including the Academy of Arts and Tongues, the University of Tarapaca, and Universidad del Mar.

Pedro Arrigada, MA, Spanish Instructor
Pedro received his undergraduate degree in teaching English as a foreign language from the Universidad de Tarapacá (UTA) in 2008 and is currently working toward a master’s degree in the same subject at UTA. While studying at UTA, he worked as a teaching assistant and a tour guide for foreign, English-speaking tourists. Recently, Pedro has been teaching English at Centro Tecnológico Minero, which is in charge of training and preparing future workers in the field of mining. Pedro has worked for SIT Chile since the fall of 2001.

Joaquín Aníbal Álvarez Pizarro, Spanish Instructor
Joaquin received his degree in teaching English as a foreign language from the University of Tarapacá (UTA). While studying at UTA, he worked as a teaching assistant and a tour guide. He lived and worked in South Carolina for one year after graduating. In 2009, Joaquin began work as an English teacher at the British Institute in Arica, teaching different levels and preparing students for Cambridge examinations (PET, FCE). Joaquin has worked for SIT Chile since the spring of 2012.

Faculty and lecturers typically include:

Dr. Caba received her doctorate in public health with a specialization in epidemiology from Mexico's National Institute of Public Health. She also holds a master's degree in public health from the University of Chile; degrees in biological sciences and health management from Galille College in Israel; and several degrees in epidemiology and qualitative methods. She has more than 20 years experience teaching undergraduate and graduate students at institutions such as the University of Chile, the University of Tarapacá, and the University of Santiago. Dr. Caba has published articles in several magazines, including ISI and SCIELO, as well as chapters in books on the subjects of reproductive health, intercultural health, biology, obstetrics, gender, adolescence, and sex education.

Currently, she is a professor in the Medical Sciences Department of the University of Tarapacá and also serves as director of the University's Postgraduate Public Health Department.

Roxana Gálvez, Lic.
Roxana completed her studies at the University of Tarapacá, Arica, graduating in 1998 with a BA in midwifery, obstetrics, and neonatology. In 2000, she entered the Health Service of Arica directing HIV/AIDS prevention projects. In 2001, she joined the Dr. Juan Noé Hospital as the head midwife in charge of the Center of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (presently UNACESS), a position that she holds today.

Roxana holds a degree in logistical management within health and has a postgraduate degree in HIV/AIDS education. She coordinated the regional working group of HIV/AIDS advisors from 2000 to 2006, and is still an integral member of that committee. She is also a member of the committee for the prevention of drug and alcohol consumption at the Health Service of Arica. Roxana teaches a course on sexually transmitted infections at the University of Tarapacá. She is currently a graduate student of care management and serves as president of the Regional School of Midwives in Arica.

Patricia Huber, MD, MPH
Dr. Huber studied medicine at the University of Concepción and completed postgraduate work in public health at the University of Chile. She also obtained a master's degree in epidemiology and occupational health from the University of Chile. Additionally, Dr. Huber has a certificate in social management and public policy from the Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Chile.

Between 2005 and 2008, Dr. Huber was head of the Health Service of Arica's Epidemiology Unit and later head of the Department of Information in Health and Production Services for Health, Arica (Departamento de Información en Salud y Producción del Servicio de Salud Arica). From 1997 to 2005, she worked as a research officer in the Department of Decision Support Fraser Health in British Columbia, Canada where she directed efforts involving health diagnostics for the region, score card indicators, and the assistance network.

Dr. Huber was the assistant director of welfare management for the Health Service of Arica, in charge of the Department of Coordination Network and Information in Health and Production. In that role, Dr. Huber's work includes: contributing to the fulfillment of the Health Service's sanitation objectives; modernization of welfare networks; implementing the Health Service's strategic plan; and a patient attention model included in current health reform. She was also responsible for managing and coordinating the Health Service's welfare network and is responsible for the health needs of the target population.

Dr. Huber is now medical director at the TELETON Foundation.

Jerka Krstulovic, MD
Dr. Krstulovic specializes in pediatrics. She has worked in both the public and private sectors in Santiago and Arica as a treating physician, in management of healthcare facilities, and in academic research activities. From 1998 to the present, she has worked as a doctor in both the endocrinology and nutrition urgent care units of Dr. Juan Noé Hospital. She has convened commissions focused on nursing mothers, undernourishment, and health and education. Dr. Krstulovic has worked as a collaborator in the Undernourishment in Indigenous Towns program; a clinical manager in pediatrics; and has been a member of the regional vaccine table PAI. She has directed the Children's Health Program in Santiago, as well as the Health Service of Arica, and has also led various research efforts in the area.

Currently, Dr. Krstulovic is head of the Children's Health Program for AUGE plan for Mellitus Diabetes type I, the Nutritional Cycle, and PKU-HC program of the Health Service of Arica. She is an active member of the Chilean Society of Pediatrics and a collaborative partner of the Chilean Society of Nutrition.

Ester López, Ps, SW, MHR
Ester obtained a degree in social work from the University of Valparaíso and a degree in psychology from the University of Tarapacá. She also holds a certification in rationalist mental psychotherapy from the Institute of Mental Therapy of Santiago. She graduated with a certificate in family mediation from the Technological University of Chile. She holds a master's degree in human resources management from the University Arturo Prat and the University of Valparaíso.

Ester is a member of a number of work groups addressing topics such as: intra-family violence, alcohol and drug treatment and prevention, and quality of life. Additionally, she was involved in developing the Health Service of Arica's strategic plan.

Since 2000 Ester has taught social work, commercial engineering, and kindergarten education at the University of Arturo Prat. From 1990 to 2005, she worked in Mutual de Seguridad as a social worker supporting patients of industrial accidents and diseases and as a psychologist in qualification and selection. She also provided clinical attention to patients. Currently, Ester is head of the Mental Health Unit of the Health Service of Arica, in charge of mental health teams and community psychiatry (South and North ESSMA).

Luis Galdames Rosas, PhD
Dr. Rosas is a professor of history and geography. He holds a bachelor of science in development with a concentration in sociology from the Instituto Latinoamericano de Doctrina y Estudios Sociales (ILADES) of Lovaina University; a master's degree in history with a concentration in ethno-history; and a doctor of philosophy with a concentration in epistemology of social sciences. He completed postdoctoral studies at the Alcalá de Henares University in Spain. Additionally, he has studied anthropology and journalism at the University of Chile.

Dr. Rosas is currently a tenured professor in the Department of Historical and Geographical Sciences at the University of Tarapacá, giving lectures on American and Chilean history. He has co-authored four books and has also written chapters in books and articles in indexed journals and for nationally and internationally circulated magazines.

Rodrigo Valencia Severino, MPH, MBA
Rodrigo has a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Valparaíso and a master's degree in public health, with a concentration in public health promotion, from the University of Chile's School of Public Health. He received an MBA from the University of el Mar in the management of public health centers and institutions.  He also holds a master's degree in participatory management and healthy communities from the Complutense University of Madrid.

He has worked as a clinical nurse at Santo Tomás Hospital and at a primary care clinic in the city of Limache. He has also worked as a nurse in rural areas of the Chilean highlands and in the Azapa and Lluta valleys. Rodrigohas gained experience teaching in the programs of primary pedagogy in education and pre-school at the University of Tarapacá in Arica. Currently he works in the department of coordination of medical networks in the director's office of the Health Service of Arica.

Carla Vaury Tejerina, MBA
Carla holds a master's degree in public health policy from the University of Arturo Prat and the University of Valparaíso. Carla also has a diploma in social participation from the University of Los Lagos, and she studied social work at the University of Antofagasta.  Until recently, she worked at the Health Service of Arica in the area of social participation and user satisfaction. Currently she works as a part-time lecturer at the University of Arturo Prat's social work program and full time at  the Ministry of Public Construction.

Dr. Domingo Barrientos Vásquez, MPH
Dr. Vásquez obtained a medical degree and a master's degree in public health from the University of Chile. He also obtained a certificate in geriatrics and gerontology from the University of Concepción. He has extensive experience in the field of public health. He has held senior positions at Chile's Ministry of Health and at other public health institutions and establishments. He is a permanent member of the Ministry of Health in the Council of National Health of Chile. Previously, he worked as a consultant for the development of Nicaragua's health system.

Dr. Vásquez has taught courses at the University Santo Tomás School of Social Work, delivering lectures in public health. He holds several certificates in different medical and management skills. He has served as director of health systems in the regions of Atacama, Rancagua, and Arica. In recent years, he has specialized in complementary medicine from the perspective of synergetics. Currently he is a geriatrics and complementary medicine doctor at the Dr. Juan Noé Hospital in Arica.

Silvia Zamorano, Lic., MPA
Silvia completed studies in obstetrics and neonatology at the University of Chile, obtaining the title of midwife. Through a joint program at the University Arturo Prat and University of Valparaíso, she obtained a master's degree in public management. Silvia has worked in public service for 20 years in different clinical areas and in management. She has worked in the Province of Parinacota and Commune of Camarones; in management in the Direction of Primary Attention; and later in the Women's Program of Health Service of Arica. When working for the Women's Program, she developed activities to monitor the quality of contraceptives logistics. For eight years, she was in charge of the Unit of Registry and Control of Medical and Paramedical Professions in the Health Service of Arica. Currently, she is the Regional Secretary of the Ministry of Health.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Arica

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: Coursework in public health, development studies, community or social sciences, or other related fields; 4 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...


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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