IHP Health and Community

Globalization, Culture & Care (Spring 1)

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

At a Glance




Relevant previous coursework recommended

Courses taught in


Program Countries

India, Jordan, South Africa, United States

Program Base

USA, India, South Africa, Jordan

Program Tracks

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

Fall (2023)

Aug 27 – Dec 9

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


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 incredible 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.


  • 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.


None, but previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in public health, anthropology, biology, sociology, pre-med 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.

Delhi, India

(4+ weeks)

India is a world power with a burgeoning economy and nearly 18 percent of the global population. In Delhi, India’s capital, consider the impact and response to the pandemic while examining how marginalized populations fight against infectious diseases like HIV and Dengue, while facing a lack of access to clean water and food. Study health disparities among various populations including sexual and religious minorities, as well as the physical health challenges of farmers and laborers moving in and out of urban spaces. Gain insights into potential solutions from distinguished academics, NGOs, local health experts, and government leaders. An excursion to Udaipur-Jaipur allows you to learn about Rajasthan State’s public healthcare system, from tertiary super specialized care to the village level. Udaipur city is known for its beautiful lakes and splendid green Aravalli mountains. As the home of Bhil tribes who maintain their indigenous system of medicine and traditional medical practices, this location offers a unique opportunity to learn about about tribal health. In Jaipur, you will meet with state healthcare policymakers and administrators to understand the strengths and challenges of a state healthcare delivery system.

Cape Town, South Africa

(4+ weeks) 

In one of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, the colonial and apartheid history of South Africa reverberates to this day. With its blatant disparity of wealth and unequal distribution of resources, Cape Town provides a distinct opportunity to analyze how the country’s recent history shapes South Africans’ access to healthcare, education and, in some cases, basic services. Compare pandemic response strategies and outcomes, and engage in community-level explorations in Cape Town’s close-knit community of Bo Kaap and the rural township of Zwelethemba. Examine how changes in political structure impact health and community life in both positive and troubling ways—from grassroots activism to persistent health disparities. This comparison highlights the work of marginalized communities committed to political, social, and economic transformation and health justice.

Amman, Jordan

(4+ weeks) 

While Jordan is home to world-renowned healthcare resources, it is also a nation surrounded by political turmoil and is now home to refugees from Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. In greater Amman, learn about healthcare services in urban and refugee settings through lenses of government-, private-, and NGO-driven healthcare. Examine the impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian healthcare system as you learn about the health and well-being of health care providers themselves. During an excursion to the south, you will explore more rural spaces such as the ancient city of Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage site; Wadi Rum, where you will learn about Bedouin experiences of health and well-being; and Aqaba, where you will experience modern and traditional practices. Across these contexts you will draw together the interconnected health factors of physical, mental, and social well-being in Jordan.

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.


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.


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 non-biomedical 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)

Across the globe, Nation States 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 utilizes a topical framework for comparing the organization and financing of health systems and health policy-making across the semester, while also examining the pressing issues of globalization and health in each location. The course 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 local-global analysis 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. 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 practice ethical engagement and methods via field case study activities and prepare cumulative, comparative expositions to demonstrate their field research and presentation skills.

Homestays / Housing


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:

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

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

  • 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

  • Certified Nurse Midwife, serving immigrant populations in Texas

  • Managing director of Food Loft, Boston, MA

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

Faculty & Staff

IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture & 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.

Ashraf Alqudah, PhD
Country Coordinator, Jordan
Nicole Van Heerden
Country Coordinator, South Africa
Abid Siraj, PhD Candidate
Dionisios Kavadias, PhD
Visiting Faculty
SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Program Director

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 nearly 1 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

    See Full Breakdown

    Explore a Day in the Life of an IHP student!

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