Switzerland

Global Health and Development Policy

Learn about global health and comparative public health systems within the framework of international and sustainable development, humanitarian action, human rights, and social justice, and compare the distinct public health systems of Switzerland and Morocco.

At a Glance

Credits

16

Prerequisites

Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study

French

Courses taught in

English

Dates

Jan 20 ‎– May 3

Program Countries

Switzerland

Program Excursion Countries

Morocco

Program Base

Nyon/Geneva

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon

Overview

Geneva is the world capital of public health and sustainable development organizations, making it the ideal place to study global health and development policy. Meet with experts for briefings and lectures at the World Health Organization (WHO), International Committee of the Red Cross, and UNAIDS, among others. An eight-day excursion to Morocco, including the modern capital Rabat and a rural area, allows you to compare and contrast public health systems in two countries and contextualize the impact of development on health.

Highlights

  • Have onsite briefings with experts at WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and other IGOs and NGOs.
  • Explore Switzerland with a travel pass offering free public transportation.
  • Rapidly improve your French language skills through intensive instruction.
  • Enjoy eight days in Morocco examining health systems and development up close.

Prerequisites

Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in development studies; public health; or the social, economic, and political sciences, as assessed by SIT. No previous background in French is required. Students with a background in French will have multiple opportunities to practice their French language skills.

Excursions

Morocco

You’ll spend eight days in the modern Muslim country of Morocco. After a short stay in the capital city of Rabat, where you will have lectures on the Moroccan national health system, you will experience an excursion to the country’s rural area, where you will have an opportunity to participate in a communal health campaign.

During your study program, you’ll compare and contrast public health systems in Morocco and Switzerland in the context of their very different political, cultural, and economic realities. You will also examine the impact of development policies on public health in rural areas.

In addition, you’ll experience Morocco’s world-famous cuisine and hospitality, and cultural diversity including the country’s francophone environment.

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

Academics

Coursework

Access virtual library guide.

The program’s thematic seminars explore alternative models of public health systems in the context of developed, developing, and transitional societies. Looking at the role of public health within international development requires examination of diverse organizational strategies, programs, and funding of public health policy for major diseases, epidemics, and pandemics. A comparative approach to public health delivery allows a critique of national and international public health agendas and public health support systems. The program also emphasizes the crucial nexus between health, human rights, the environment, and development.

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

  • Health security and international health regulations
  • Links between health, human rights, the environment, and development
  • Understanding vulnerable groups, such as migrants and refugees
  • Healthcare interventions in complex emergencies

Perspectives on Global Health

Perspectives on Global Health – syllabus
(IPBH3000 / 3 credits)

This course explores the main components and current issues of public health in an international context, drawing on knowledge and point of views from multiple disciplines including social and medical sciences. The course examines current issues impacting global public health in populations affected by humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters or conflicts. The course also studies critical aspects of development, such as access to clean water, sanitation, and healthy nutrition, through a human rights approach to health.

Development Policy and Health

Development Policy and Health – syllabus
(IPBH3005 / 3 credits)

This course explores how public health and development are interrelated and reviews contemporary public health issues, focusing on selected current priorities in global health. It explores how development impacts international and local health policy as well as the effects of such policies on local realities as they relate to the health sector in the developing world. The course reviews the major determinants of health issues in developing countries, the corresponding response and the roles international development as well as non-governmental agencies play in public health.  It also analyzes the rationale for improving global health and the relevant modes of intervention by exploring a number of current and emergent topics including health in migrant populations, reproductive health, and mental health. The course is interrelated with the program’s other courses to ensure a dynamic and holistic approach to global health and development.

French

Beginning French I – syllabus
(FREN1003 / 3 credits)

Beginning French II – syllabus
(FREN1503 / 3 credits)

Intermediate French I – syllabus
(FREN2003 / 3 credits)

Intermediate French II – syllabus
(FREN2503 / 3 credits)

Advanced French I – syllabus
(FREN3003 / 3 credits)

Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.

Research Methods and Ethics

Research Methods and Ethics – syllabus
(ANTH3500 / 3 credits)

The Research Methods and Ethics seminar provides the theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in Switzerland and Morocco. The course also includes several field studies, which gives students the chance to apply concepts learned in class. The course helps students to learn about and adapt to different cultures and environments. Emphasis is placed on grappling with cultural differences, as well as on identifying cultural similarities. The course focuses on strengthening interactive research skills and methods, such as exploring cultural and professional environments; conducting background research; developing contacts and finding resources; developing skills in observation and interviewing; applying field study ethics; gathering and organizing data; and maintaining a fieldwork journal. The ethical implications and consequences of observations, interviews, and fieldwork journal assignments are examined and discussed throughout. The concepts and skills developed in the seminar underlie and reinforce all other program requirements and link directly to the Independent Study Project.

Independent Study Project

Independent Study Project – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 4 credits)

Conducted in Geneva, Nyon or another approved location appropriate to the project. Sample topic areas: development and health in complex emergencies; the health sector in humanitarian relief; international human rights to health; mental health in developing countries; migration and health; international, national, and regional response to epidemics and pandemics; water and health; the paradox of malnutrition; public health and food security in least developed countries.

Sample topic areas:

  • Development and health in complex emergencies
  • The healthcare sector in humanitarian relief
  • International human rights to health
  • Mental health in developing countries
  • Migration and health
  • International, national, and regional response to epidemics and pandemics
  • Water and health
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • The paradox of malnutrition
  • Public health and food security in least developed countries

Homestays

Nyon      

You’ll spend 14 weeks living with a Swiss or international family outside Nyon. During the homestay, you may enjoy outings with your host families like skiing, tennis, swimming and/or hiking. Cultural events include music festivals, art exhibitions, museums, and theaters.

Homestay families are usually middle class and reflect the cultural diversity of Switzerland; many speak more than one language (often German, English, and/or Italian) in addition to French. Living with your homestay family will help you improve your French language skills and gain insight into the traditional values of Switzerland, such as tolerance, federalism, neutrality, and direct democracy.

Nyon is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, about 15 miles from downtown Geneva, and most homestay families live within the surrounding area. You will commute to classes and program activities in Nyon and Geneva just like the locals, using the region’s excellent public transportation system.

You will continue to live with your homestay family during the ISP period.

Morocco

During the Morocco excursion, you’ll stay for four days with a host family (two students per family) in the historic city center of Rabat, and for three days in a rural area of northern Morocco.

Career Paths

A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience with SIT. Recent positions held by alumni of this program include:

  • Innovations analyst at Duke University’s Innovation and Technology Policy Lab, Durham, NC

  • Associate consultant with Bain and Company, Boston, MA

  • Research intern at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

  • Intern at the World Health Organization, Venice, Italy

  • Intern at MD Anderson Cancer Institute, Houston, TX

Faculty & Staff

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy

Alexandre Lambert, PhD
Academic Director
Christina Cornes, MA
Homestay Coordinator
Françoise Flourens, MA
Academic Coordinator
Elisabeth Meur, PhD
Assistant Academic Advisor and Lecturer
Anne Golaz, MD, DrMed
Academic Advisor

Discover the Possibilities

  • COST & SCHOLARSHIPS

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  • Student presents undergrad research on strategies for poverty and disabilities

    One of the hallmarks of many SIT Study Abroad programs is a real undergrad independent research project done in a foreign country. After students complete a course in research methods and ethics, they develop a research project, including determining where they will be staying, and what resources they will have available to them, present their plan, then embark on it.

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