IHP Health and Community

Globalization, Culture, and Care (Spring 1)

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

United States, South Africa, India, Brazil

Program Base

United States, South Africa, India, Brazil

Program Tracks

Spring 1 (2020)

Jan 26 ‎– May 16

Brazil, India, South Africa, United States

Spring 2 (2020)

Jan 19 ‎– May 9

Argentina, South Africa, United States, Vietnam

Spring 1 (2021)

Feb 7 ‎– May 29

Brazil, India, South Africa, United States

Spring 2 (2021)

Jan 31 ‎– May 22

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 strategies, community well-being, and multiple factors affecting human health in sweepingly different contexts, on both local and global scales. Through site visits and research practice with an array of health practitioners, government officials, and activists, explore health realities at individual and population levels. As part of the program, witness how considering health as a human right impacts peoples’ access to care. Journey from megacities to rural villages to take a holistic, interdisciplinary look at how communities around the world define what it is to achieve and maintain health. Finally, explore the challenges all citizens face amid mounting obstacles to healthcare access, while strengthening your ability to understand, interpret, and compare the socio-cultural, ecological, economic, political, and biological factors that shape and predict human health.

Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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 and/or other preparation in public health, anthropology, biology, or other related fields is strongly recommended.

Program Sites

Washington, DC, U.S.

(2 weeks)

The seat of government for 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.

Delhi, India

(4 weeks)

India is a world power with a burgeoning economy and a population that will soon surpass China. In Delhi, India’s capital, examine the mental and physical health challenges of farmers, sexual minorities, and the urban poor fighting infectious diseases like HIV and malaria, while faced with a lack of access to clean water and food. Study rural-urban health disparities and gain insights into potential solutions from distinguished academics, NGOs, local health experts, and leaders from surrounding forest communities.

Cape Town, South Africa

(5 weeks) 

With a history of colonialism and apartheid, South Africa brings into sharp focus the role of race in determining health. Homestays in the close-knit community of Bo Kaap in Cape Town and in the rural township of Zwelethemba offer a closer look at how changes in political structure affect health and community life, in both positive and troubling ways—from grassroots activism to persistent health disparities. Farmland, fishing rights, pesticides, and water access will be a core environmental focus of the program.

São Paulo, Brazil

(5 weeks) 

After a military dictatorship, Brazil’s new constitution, sanctioned in 1988, established health as a fundamental social right and called for access to social and medical services for all its citizens without discrimination on the basis of skin color, income, social status, or gender. In São Paulo, the largest city in the Americas, study the reality of healthcare in Brazil today. In addition to living with a homestay family in this megalopolis, spend a week in the beautiful, rural municipality of Barro Do Turvo.

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

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.

Key Topics

  • The impact of culture, background and history on our view of health
  • Is health a fundamental human right and, if so, who guarantees it?
  • Possible solutions to a range of health inequities around the world
  • How the forces of globalization impact health and access to services
  • Grassroots activism and top-down approaches to healthcare access
  • Roles of community in health and well-being across cultural contexts

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. The course is taught by four different in-country faculty throughout the semester.

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. This course is taught by local faculty in each country.

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

Homestays / Housing

Live with a host family for between three and four weeks at each program site, with the exception of the launch location in the US. Homestays are your primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels.

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, and Care (Spring 1)

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
Zufan Hagos, MA
Assistant Program Director
Abid Siraj, MSW
Country Coordinator, India
Ebony Yarbrough, MA
Launch Coordinator, Washington DC
Glenda de la Fuente, MA
Country Coordinator, Brazil
Nicole Van Heerden
Country Coordinator, South Africa
Peter Seilheimer, MA
Program Manager
Dionisios Kavadias, PhD
Traveling Faculty
Domenique Ciavattone
Trustees Fellow

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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  • A DAY IN THE LIFE OF IHP

    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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