IHP: Health and Community will run one track in fall 2022.
Please see this program page for details.

IHP Health and Community

Globalization, Culture & Care (Fall 2)

Learn how communities around the world understand and strive for health and well-being.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

Relevant previous coursework recommended

Courses taught in

English

Program Countries

Argentina, South Africa, United States, Vietnam

Program Base

USA, VietNam, South Africa, Argentina

Program Tracks

Spring 1 (2022)

Jan 23 – May 8

India, Jordan, South Africa

Fall 1 (2022)

Aug 29 – Dec 11

Argentina, India, South Africa, United States

Fall 2 (2022)

Aug 24 – Dec 6

Argentina, South Africa, United States, Vietnam

Spring 1 (2023)

Jan 29 – May 13

India, Jordan, South Africa, United States

Spring 2 (2023)

Jan 24 – May 8

Argentina, South Africa, United States, Vietnam

Launch City

Washington DC

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Overview

Why Study Global Health and Community?

Health practices differ widely around the globe, but health inequities—between economic divides, urban and rural—are increasing exponentially everywhere. Across four continents, compare health systems and strategies, community well-being, and multiple factors affecting human health in different contexts, on both local and global scales. Journey from mega-cities to rural villages to take a holistic, interdisciplinary look at how communities around the world define what it is to achieve and maintain health. With this scope of experiences, you will learn to critically analyze some of the most pressing health issues of this global moment such as social inequities, the pandemic, climate change, and the economic drivers of healthcare. You will explore individual and population health through site visits and research practice with an array of health practitioners, government officials, and activists; and you will witness how positioning health as a human right impacts policy and health outcomes at all levels. Finally, explore the challenges all citizens face amid mounting obstacles to healthcare access, while strengthening your ability to understand, interpret, and compare the sociocultural, ecological, economic, political, and biological factors that shape and predict human health.

Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

Photos on this page may depict program sites from previous semesters. Please view the Program Sites section of this page to see where this program will travel in fall 2022.

Highlights

  • Explore unique localities and gain insights into healthcare across continents.
  • Conduct in-depth, research practice in radically varied contexts.
  • Experience rare opportunities to interact with healthcare leaders and local experts.
  • Witness healthcare access from the sprawling megalopolis to the rural village.

Prerequisites

None, but previous college-level coursework or background in public health, anthropology, biology, or other related fields is strongly recommended.

Program Sites

Washington, DC, United States

(10 days)

The seat of government of one of the richest nations in the world and hub of international policymaking, Washington, DC, is also home to some of the greatest wealth disparities of any city in the United States. Over the course of two weeks, explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods; meet with activists, government officials, and global health experts at non-governmental organizations; study the many social determinants of health; and develop your own perspectives before exploring similar issues internationally.

Hanoi, Vietnam

(4+ weeks) 

One of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant and rapidly developing nations, Vietnam has dramatically reduced poverty but major, health-related concerns remain. An HIV/AIDS epidemic threatens to become widespread against a backdrop of rising rural-to-urban migration, widening social inequalities, and worsening environmental conditions. You will with Vietnam’s finest public health professionals; visit project and field sites; and witness highly creative efforts to resolve some of the country’s greatest health challenges. You will have a week-long rural stay in Lac Village where you will visit ethnic Thai and Hmong villages in the surrounding hillsides.

Cape Town, South Africa

(4+ weeks) 

The colonial and apartheid history of South Africa reverberates to this day, with the disparity of wealth and unequal distribution of resources providing a distinct backdrop to analyze how the country’s past affects South Africans’ access to healthcare, education and, in some cases, basic services. Homestays in the Salt River neighborhood near the city’s center and the rural fishing village of Arniston offer access to communities committed to political, social, and economic transformation and health justice.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

(4+ weeks)

With a population of 14 million, Buenos Aires is the most important and influential city in Argentina, politically and economically. Study the complexities of living in this cosmopolitan, globalized city, where a free public health system covering every person in the country coexists with two others: a private sector and semi-private labor union sector, both powerful and competitive. Witness the effects of rapid growth shaped by immigration, as well as extreme inequalities in vast sectors of the population.

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.

Academics

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to: 

  • Apply key concepts, tools, and perspectives used in public health, medical anthropology, and globalization. 
  • Explain the influence of cultural beliefs and context on individual and collective experiences of health and community. 
  • Compare historical drivers of manifestations and epistemologies of ‘health’ across four countries.  
  • Evaluate public health programs and civil society interventions that aim to improve population and individual health.  
  • Analyze the power dynamics in qualitative research, including the histories of exploitation in health research and the ethics and responsibilities in field interactions. 
  • Apply field-based research methods to create culturally appropriate and ethical community interactions and demonstrate these skills in oral presentations and written coursework.  
  • Reflect on what solidarity might entail from multiple perspectives, including for privileged groups and individuals seeking to promote health equity in vulnerable, marginalized, and under-represented communities. 

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.



Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

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.

The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.

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


This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

Health, Culture, and Community

Health, Culture, and Community – syllabus
(ANTH3050 / 4 credits)

Medical anthropology serves as the theoretical foundation for this course. It seeks to strengthen students’ ability to understand, interpret, and compare how personal and community identity, health and well-being, illness, and healing are understood within diverse cultural contexts. The course examines the philosophy and practices characteristic of biomedicine and a wide range of traditional and other systems of health and healing, as well as the reality of medical pluralism in the lives of individuals. In so doing, the course covers themes of health and healing pertinent across the life span — from birth to death. Throughout, students are encouraged to support their comparative understanding with an exploration of their own assumptions and practices related to identity, health, and healing.

Globalization and Health

Globalization and Health – syllabus
(IPBH3500 / 4 credits)

Nations at all levels of development vary in their commitment and capacity to define healthcare as a human right and provide healthcare to their citizens equitably. Some have created systems to provide basic healthcare, yet struggle with other factors that influence health, while others position healthcare as an economic commodity subject to market forces. This course provides a framework for comparing the organization and financing of health systems and health policy-making across the countries visited. It examines the political economy of health, with special attention to the impact of international governance, economic, and trade policies. Students gain skills in critical thinking, policy analysis, and debate, supported by research, observation, and exposure to varied perspectives among in-country experts.

Public Health: From Biology to Policy

Public Health: From Biology to Policy – syllabus
(IPBH3505 / 4 credits)

This course begins with an overview of global and national health trends in the context of demographic shifts and development. In each country visited, a significant health condition is addressed: What are the biological mechanisms of disease? How is disease distributed in the country’s populations? What public health interventions are supported by empirical evidence? In light of social, cultural, economic, and political conditions, how can such evidence be applied in the local context? Specific considerations studied range from infectious to “lifestyle” and chronic illnesses, e.g., diarrheal diseases of early childhood, adult mental health, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis.

Community Health Research Methods

Community Health Research Methods – syllabus
(IPBH3510 / 4 credits)

This course seeks to strengthen students’ competence in inquiry-guided learning through field-based case studies. The course begins with an introduction to the philosophic traditions of ethnography, epidemiology, and health services research — complementary and sometimes conflicting. It then teaches and gives students the opportunity to apply the chief tools of each tradition (e.g., participant observation, in-depth interviewing, community surveys, mapping, interpreting data analyses, and oral presentation of findings). In each country, students choose from a range of available field case study topics/sites as the primary venue for demonstrating their field research and presentation skills.

Homestays / Housing

Accommodations

Student accommodations will include a mix of homestays, hostels, guesthouses, and small hotels/dorms. Students will experience homestays where possible, given COVID-19, and will be oriented as they move from place to place.

More About Homestay Experiences:

Family structures will vary. For example, a host family may include a single mother of two small children, or a large extended family with many people coming and going. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what you would expect. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.

In most cases, students will be placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. Information about homestay families will only be available upon arriving in each country.

Career Paths

Positions recently held by alumni of this program include:

  • Co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants, New York, NY, and multiple locations in Africa

  • Policy advisor in the Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Washington, DC

  • Managing director of Food Loft, Boston, MA

  • Intern at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Health Diplomacy, Washington, DC

  • Primary care intern at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

  • Founder of TurnOut, an LGBTQ volunteer-matching social enterprise, San Francisco, CA

Faculty & Staff

IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture & Care (Fall 2)

The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.

SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Program Director
Carolina Rovetta, MFA
Country Coordinator, Argentina
Vu Cong Nguyen MD, MPH
Country Coordinator, Vietnam
Nicholas Eppel
Country Co-Coordinator, South Africa
Diana Szántó, PhD
Visiting Faculty

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

    See Full Breakdown
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  • A DAY IN THE LIFE OF IHP

    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

    Learn More