IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care (Spring 1)
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Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program locations can vary from year to year.
Spring Option 1 Program Sites
Washington, DC, USA
The seat of government for one of the richest nations in the world and hub of international policymaking, Washington, DC, is also home to among the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. Hear from global health experts from the World Bank, influential think tanks, and international NGOs, while observing firsthand how health inequities affect those living within earshot of the halls of world political power. Investigate the many social determinants of health, such as gender, housing, racism, and income. How have imbalances in these factors led to some of our country’s worst health outcomes. Over the course of the two weeks in DC, students will gain deeper insight into the many challenges of and solutions to health and disease at the national and local levels, while setting the stage for their exploration of similar issues internationally. Students will explore the diverse neighborhoods and local NGOs of DC; meet with community leaders, activists, and government officials; and begin to develop their own toolbox for effecting change by participating in policy advocacy in the halls of our nation’s capital. Students will also delve into the four interdisciplinary courses that make up the Health and Community program, while connecting with new friends and exploring the political heart of the nation.
Coordinated by Abid Siraj
India is a world power with a burgeoning economy and a population that will soon surpass that of China. Delhi, India’s capital city, provides the base for exploration of health in India. Examine the mental and physical health challenges faced by farmers, sexual minorities and the urban poor. How do lack of access to clean water and food and infectious diseases like HIV and malaria compound these challenges? Examine how such a large and diverse nation addresses the double burden of its infectious disease epidemics and burgeoning chronic disease prevalence, as its population both grows and ages. What roles do public and private entities play in developing solutions?
Cape Town, South Africa
Coordinated by Rose Blake
South Africa, with its history of apartheid, brings into sharp focus the role of race in determining health. Reflect on how social and health inequities are manifest in India and in your own country(ies) as compared to South Africa. Homestays in a small community in Cape Town and in a rural black township allow students to see and experience, firsthand, how recent change in political structure affects health and community life—in profoundly positive ways as grassroots health activism is burgeoning, and in equally disturbing ways, as deep disparities in health persist. The urgency of the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics is nowhere more visible. Hear from and interact with community activists, physicians, public health practitioners and officials as they seek to understand how and why the HIV/AIDS epidemic has ravaged communities in South Africa. Farmland, pesticides and health will be the environmental focus of the program, and students will be challenged to understand domestic and political violence in the context of the country’s social relations. Amidst the multiple public health “crises” that face South Africa, probe the promise of community activism as a transforming influence in the lives of all people.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Coordinated by Glenda de la Fuente
The world has its eyes on Brazil. A throbbing center of rich and varied cultural life in Latin America for decades, Brazil has emerged as a major economy and model of participatory democracy. After a period of military dictatorship, Brazil’s new constitution, sanctioned in 1988, established health as a fundamental social right and called for access to social and medical care services for all citizens without discrimination on the basis of skin color, income, social status, or gender. What is the reality today? Sao Paulo, the largest city in the Americas and a cultural melting pot, is an ideal place to study the progress and problems of Brazil. Witness model HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs in action and consider how they differ from programs in South Africa, India, and the United States. Although successful in some ways, why does Brazil continue to see wide variations in child and maternal mortality and rates of infectious disease? What can pockets of success show us about the way forward in other regions of the country, in the United States, and throughout the world? Other themes will include migrant health on the sugar plantations that fuel Brazil's growing biodiesel industry; “social medicine” as it relates to violence reduction; and family planning, sexuality, and reproductive health.
Duration: Spring, 16 weeks
United States, India, South Africa, Brazil
Prerequisites: None. Coursework in public health, anthropology, biology, or related field recommended.
View Student Evaluations for this program:
About the Evaluations (PDF)
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Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA