Washington D.C.

Public Health Policy, Practice & Advocacy–IHP Health & Community (3 wks)

Explore how urban and rural communities in and around Washington, DC, are addressing ever-increasing health disparities as they strive for health equity, wellbeing, and social justice.

At a Glance






Oct 29 ‎– Nov 18

Program Countries

United States

Program Base

Washington D.C., USA

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon


Washington, DC, is the seat of government for one of the richest nations in the world and a hub of international policymaking. A city steeped in history and power, Washington, DC, also bears the burden of some of the greatest wealth and health disparities in the United States. Rapid, disruptive gentrification is displacing networks of care; HIV and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the nation; there are stubborn environmental health crises along the Potomac River; and the legacies of structural racial health inequities run deep. Here, public, private, and civil society intersect at the frontlines of healthcare. Explore local health strategies and community well-being in different social contexts and examine the relationship between policy and practice.


  • Explore how the public and private sectors and civil society intersect at the frontlines of healthcare in the US capital
  • Compare realities of public health work on the ground in urban and rural settings
  • Investigate the history and legacies of structural racial health inequities in the District and US Mid-Atlantic region
  • Examine critical local and national public health initiatives and the relationships between providers and folks who need care



Course Sites

Washington, DC

In this course, you will learn first-hand about the District’s diverse neighborhoods and varied health outcomes and meet with activists, government officials, and experts at leading universities and nongovernmental organizations. This course will take you on an excursion to communities along the Potomac River to compare urban and rural health care, health priorities, and varying local needs from an array of perspectives, including those whose daily lives are impacted by the decisions of policymakers. You will study the complex interplay of social determinants of health in local contexts and learn basic fieldwork methods for gathering data relevant to the practice of public health. Through case studies and site visits, you’ll explore health realities at individual and population levels. These experiences will deepen your ability to explore, understand, and interpret the socio-cultural, ecological, economic, political, and biological factors that affect human health.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Program Components

  • Study public health in a face-to-face, immersive environment
  • Engage with activists, government officials, and experts at leading universities and nongovernmental organizations
  • Visit urban and rural communities to compare healthcare needs and priorities
  • Learn basic fieldwork methods to gather data for public health research

Public Health: Policy, Practice & Advocacy in Washington D.C.


Students will be housed in hostels, guest houses, and small hotels or dorms.

Career Paths

  • Public Health Practitioners—federal to local

  • Public Health Policy—services to finance

  • Medical Practitioners of all forms: Doctors, Nurses, Physician’s Assistants, Midwives, etc.

  • Nonprofit Management

  • Government

  • Health IT Systems

  • Health Advocacy and Education

  • Health Systems and Hospital Management

  • Researcher or policy developer in the social determinants of infectious disease, aging, psycho-social wellbeing, maternal childcare, environmental health, etc.

Faculty & Staff

Washington D.C.: Public Health Policy, Practice & Advocacy–IHP Health & Community (3 wks)

SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Zufan Hagos, MA

Discover the Possibilities


    The total cost for this program is $4,450, including tuition and room & board. Financial aid may apply. Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.