Argentina

Public Health in Urban Environments

Examine urban epidemiology and the challenges and inequities in public health policy in Buenos Aires.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

3 semesters Spanish, Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study

Spanish

Courses taught in

Spanish

Dates

Feb 25 ‎– Jun 8

Program Countries

Argentina

Program Base

Buenos Aires

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Overview

Why study public health in Argentina?

More than 30 percent of Argentina’s population lives in greater Buenos Aires. Living here, you’ll see marked contrasts of wealth and poverty and related disparities in health. You’ll benefit from SIT’s close partnership with ISALUD, the nation’s top health university and think tank. You’ll also have access to senior public officials and other health professionals and advocates.

Excursions will provide opportunities to compare health services and systems in different areas. In Buenos Aires, you’ll visit Garrahan Hospital,  the country’s largest and most complex pediatric hospital. In Mendoza, you will learn about using primary healthcare to improve access to health services. In Tucumán, one of the country’s most impoverished provinces, you will learn about the role of civil society in promoting health. By volunteering with a Red Cross community project, you will experience how NGOs work together with governmental institutions to improve community health and living conditions

You will also develop Spanish language skills related to public health issues and practice through daily interactions with lecturers, healthcare practitioners, and host families.

Highlights

  • Study in Buenos Aires, home to renowned health institutions.
  • Examine significant social and economic disparities in health.
  • Benefit from SIT’s partnership with ISALUD, the nation’s top health university.
  • Learn Spanish with a focus on public health.

Prerequisites

Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in health sciences, political science, anthropology, sociology, or development studies, as assessed by SIT. Three recent semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent and the ability to follow coursework and assignments in Spanish, as assessed by SIT.

Excursions

Mendoza

Mendoza’s health system has long used primary healthcare to make health services more accessible. The six-day excursion will focus on how this strategy is implemented through meetings with public health professionals, health promoters, social security health services, private health providers, and other stakeholders. At the Universidad del Aconcagua, you will discuss Mendoza’s epidemiological profile and health and social policies with experts and be mentored by students from the university’s school of medicine.

Tigre

Located in the province of Buenos Aires, Tigre is a riverside getaway and the point of entry Paraná Delta, one of the largest deltas inthe world. With its labyrinthine network of islands and canals, it is a unique biodiverse environment offering  a completely different landscape from the city. This incredible natural reserve is at risk by river pollution and the advancement of luxury real estate developments.

During a two-day excursion, you will discover this unique natural environment and learn about the challenges that water contamination and changes in river flows pose to healthy leaving conditions for lower-income populations.

Visiting a community health center in one of Tigre´s most impacted neighborhoods, you will hear from social actors involved in addressing health problems that cross poverty and damaged environments, and you will have the chance to discuss the role of the environment in sustainable development.

Tucumán

Although it is considered one of most impoverished  provinces in Argentina,  Tucumán has a well-established health system and strong civil society organizations. Since the 2001 economic crisis, there have been significant efforts to improve social and health services and living conditions, and NGOs have played a key role in giving voice to less advantaged populations. During this six-day excursion, you will learn how the provincial healthcare system is organized and how governmental and nongovernmental institutions complement their efforts to make social and health services available to vulnerable populations. You will also join Red Cross volunteers on a community project.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Coursework

This program will provide students with an interdisciplinary understanding of Argentina’s epidemiological profile and its healthcare systems and policies within the country’s broader social, political, and economic history. Seminars are conducted in Spanish, allowing students to develop their language skills related to public health, community welfare, and epidemiology. This program also prepares students to conduct ethical, health-related research in the field. During the final month of the semester, students complete an Independent Study Project or an internship.

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.

Key Topics

  • Health system organization
  • The political process of defining a public health agenda
  • Social determinants of health
  • Intercultural barriers to quality care
  • Chronic diseases in urban environments
  • Health needs specific to urban environments

Epidemiology and Social Determinants of Health

Epidemiology and Social Determinants of Health – syllabus
(IPBH3000 / 3 credits)

This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on Argentina’s epidemiological profile. Students explore the relationship between urban environments and the health of city residents. While recent public health sector achievements have improved the living conditions of many urban dwellers, great inequalities and inequities in health still exist. Through readings, lectures, and educational site visits, students critically analyze contemporary health challenges as they relate to epidemiology and social determinants of health. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Health Systems, Policies and Programs

Health Systems, Policies and Programs – syllabus
(IPBH3005 / 3 credits)

In this seminar, students explore the emergence of healthcare systems and policies within Argentina’s broader social, political, and economic history. Students examine healthcare at different scales of analysis, comparing and contrasting national, provincial, and local health systems as well as private, public, and socialized healthcare throughout the country. Students investigate firsthand the disparities of health and equity as they research alternative policies designed to reduce inequality. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Public Health Research Methods and Ethics

Public Health Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(IPBH3500 / 3 credits)

This research methods course is designed to prepare students for an Independent Study Project or internship. Through lectures, readings, and field activities, students study and practice a range of methods appropriate for health-related research. They examine the ethical issues surrounding field research related to health issues and medicine and are guided through the World Learning / SIT Human Subjects Review process, which forms a core component of the course. By the end of the course, students will have chosen a research topic or internship placement, selected appropriate methods, and written a solid proposal for an Independent Study Project or internship related to the program themes. All coursework is conducted in Spanish.

Spanish for the Health Sciences

Spanish for the Health Sciences I – syllabus
(SPAN2003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for the Health Sciences II – syllabus
(SPAN2503 / 3 credits)

Spanish for the Health Sciences III – syllabus
(SPAN3003 / 3 credits)

Spanish for the Health Sciences IV – syllabus
(SPAN3503 / 3 credits)

In this course, students hone their speaking, reading, and writing skills through classroom and field instruction. They practice reading professional health science literature as they learn the formal terms and local expressions needed to discuss health policy issues, to conduct field research, and to interact in settings (such as clinics, community associations, and government offices) related to the program themes. Students are placed in small classes based on an in-country evaluation that tests both written and oral proficiency.

Two Course Options

Choose one of the following two courses.

Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Conducted in Buenos Aires or in another approved location appropriate to the project, the Independent Study Project offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The project integrates learning from the various components of the program and culminates in a final presentation and formal research paper. Sample topic areas: health problems associated with urban lifestyles, grassroots advocacy and healthcare services; AIDS policy and care; public health consequences of environmental contamination; gender and reproductive rights; challenges to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals in Argentina; healthcare access among immigrant populations.

Sample ISP topic areas:

  • Grassroots advocacy and healthcare services
  • AIDS policy and care
  • Public health consequences of environmental contamination
  • Gender and reproductive rights
  • Challenges to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals in Argentina
  • Healthcare among immigrant populations

Browse this program’s Independent Study Projects / undergraduate research.

OR

Internship and Seminar
Internship and Seminar – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 4 credits)

This seminar consists of a four-week internship working with a local social organization, health services and research institutions in the City of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires province, Tucumán or Mendoza. The aim of the internship is to enable the student to gain valuable work experience and to enhance their skills in an international work environment. Students will complete an internship and submit a paper in which they process their learning experience on the job, analyze an issue important to the organization, and/or design a project or activity that address a need identified by the organization. An internship advisor/mentor appropriate to the organization/institution is also selected. Mentors are usually host country research professionals. During the internship, students will have the opportunity to participate in two workshops to share and reflect on their experience in the field and discuss their work progress. In conducting their internship students directly utilize the concepts and skills of field-based learning. The internship will be conducted in Spanish.

Sample internships

  • Working in different community projects with Red Cross in Tucumán province
  • Collaborating with health programs teams at primary healthcare centers in Buenos Aires; San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán; and Maipú, Mendoza
  • Assisting the work of different hospital services at public hospitals in Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Tucumán province
  • Working in health promotion and directing educational and recreational activities at daycare centers for elders in Buenos Aires
  • Supporting social organizations promoting access to social and health rights in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area
  • Supporting families with hospitalized children

Homestays

Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires homestay begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester. Living with a host family gives you an excellent opportunity to practice your Spanish and partake in daily life in a local neighborhood. Host families come from different social and cultural backgrounds and live in various neighborhoods around the city, such as Almagro, Caballito, Monserrat, Barrio Norte, and Palermo. All homestay sites have good access to ISALUD University.

Other Accommodations

Small hotels or hostels

Career Paths

Alumni of this program are:

  • working in health services for immigrant populations, public health, and health research.

  • in a PhD program implementing a program of "narrative medicine" in La Paz, Bolivia.

  • conducting research as a Fulbright scholar in Mexico.

  • working with the Peace Corps in Peru.

Faculty & Staff

Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments

Ana Rita Díaz-Muñoz, PhD Candidate
Academic Director
Lucia Quiroga
Homestay Coordinator
Dana Merwaiss
Program Assistant
Valeria Lliubaroff
Academic Assistant

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.

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  • ACCESSIBILITY

    Prepare for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Aborad! In-country conditions and resources vary by site. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact disabilityservices@sit.edu for more information.

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    SIT Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments

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  • SIT Study Abroad Student Wins Fulbright Research Grant

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  • Kelsey Sklar ’17 conducts research on the road

    Kelsey Sklar, Cornell University student and 2016 alum of this program talks about her experience.

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  • Study Abroad in Argentina with SIT

    Take a sneak speak into our ‘Argentina: Public Health in Urban Environments’ program with Academic Director Ana Rita Díaz-Muñoz as she discusses program themes, learning Spanish with a focus on public health, and working alongside Red Cross volunteers.

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