Explore how communities in Montana navigate three systems of care as they strive for health equity, wellbeing, and social justice.

At a Glance





Courses taught in



Jul 20 ‎– Aug 14

Online Component

Jul 20 ‎– Jul 31

On Site Component

Aug 1 ‎– Aug 14

Program Countries

United States

Program Base

Hybrid: Online & Helena, Montana

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon


Montana features breathtaking landscapes and natural resources, but also bears the burden of a lack of access to hospitals and specialized healthcare, radical inequities within the population, long distances to even basic services, structural legacies of westward expansion, and housing and mental health crises. Explore all of this and more while based in Helena, a small city of less than 30,000 people where more than 30 percent of local jobs are in the public sector. Helena is within a few hours of two of the geographically largest Native American land holdings in the United States. It is also the main city near Fort Harrison Veterans Medical Hospital, making Helena a place where students can compare three distinct health systems: standard private systems, the Indian Health Service (IHS) system, and the US Military (MHS) system.


  • Investigate public health challenges including access, specialty care, mental health, and housing. 
  • Compare three health systems on the frontlines of care of the northern border of the US.
  • Explore the cultural diversity and traditions of Montana and the northern US. 
  • Examine public health initiatives and the relationships between providers and those who need care.  



Course Sites

Online Term Details

This course will be taught 30 percent online and 70 percent face-to-face on site. Online instruction will include program orientation; introductory activities to get to know your faculty and program team; five to six faculty-led sessions and guest lectures to provide the theoretical frameworks for the course and historical background to the sites and partner organizations; readings and preliminary assignments, and two to three online discussions to debrief sessions and prepare students to join faculty, local team, and peers in Montana.

Domestic Site Details

Learn first-hand about structural disparities among these health systems; meet activists, government officials, and experts at universities and non-governmental organizations. Take an excursion to Native American reservations to compare healthcare, health priorities, and local needs. Study the complex interplay of social determinants of health in local contexts and learn basic fieldwork methods for gathering data. Through case studies and site visits, you’ll explore health realities at individual and population levels. These experiences will deepen your ability to explore, understand, and interpret the socio-cultural, ecological, economic, political, and biological factors that affect human health.

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.



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.

Program Components

  • Structural disparities in health care delivery
  • Comparative analysis of three major healthcare systems 
  • Social determinants of health in a rural context 

Course Information Coming Soon

Syllabus coming soon



Students will be housed in hostels, guesthouses, and small hotels/dorms during the field-based portion of the Montana program.

Career Paths

  • Public Health Practitioners 

  • Public Health Policy 

  • Medical Practitioners: Doctors, Nurses, Physician’s Assistants, Midwives, etc. 

  • Nonprofit Management 

  • Government 

  • Health IT Systems

  • Health Advocacy and Education

  • Health Systems and Hospital Management 

  • Research or Policy (infectious disease, aging, psycho-social wellbeing, maternal childcare, environmental health, etc.) 

Faculty & Staff

IHP Health & Community: Public Health in Montana (Online | USA)

SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Zufan Hagos, MA

Discover the Possibilities


    The total cost for this program is $4,250, including tuition, room & board. Program cost does not include travel or health insurance. Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.