Explore how urban and rural communities in and around Washington, DC are addressing ever-increasing health disparities 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 & Washington, D.C.

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon


Washington, DC, is the seat of government for one of the richest nations in the world and a hub of international policymaking. A city steeped in history and power, Washington, DC, also bears the burden of some of the greatest wealth and health disparities in the United States. Rapidly disruptive gentrification is displacing networks of care; HIV and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the nation; there are stubborn environmental health crises along the Potomac River; and the legacies of structural racial health inequities run deep. Here, public, private, and civil society intersect at the frontlines of healthcare. Explore local health strategies and community well-being in different social contexts and explore the relationship between policy and practice.


  • Explore how public, private sectors, and civil society intersect at the frontlines of healthcare in the US capital.
  • Compare public health work on the ground in urban and rural settings.
  • Investigate the history and legacies of structural racial health inequities in the District and US mid-Atlantic region.
  • Examine critical local and national 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 in Washington, DC. The first two weeks of online instruction will include: an orientation to the IHP program; introductory activities to get to know your faculty and program team; five to six faculty-led sessions and guest lectures that will provide the theoretical frameworks for the course and historical background to the sites and partner organizations we are visiting; readings and preliminary assignments, and two to three online discussions to debrief sessions and prepare students to join faculty, local team, and peers in Washington, DC.

Domestic Site Details

Learn first-hand about the District’s diverse neighborhoods and varied health outcomes, and meet with activists, government officials, and experts at leading universities and non-governmental organizations. Taken an excursion to communities along the Potomac River to compare urban and rural health care, health priorities, and varying local needs from those whose daily lives are impacted by the decisions of policymakers. Study the complex interplay of social determinants of health in local contexts and learn basic fieldwork methods for gathering data relevant to the practice of public health. 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
  • Social determinants of health in a urban and rural contexts
  • Basic fieldwork methods of gathering data
  • Case studies and site visits

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 Washington, DC, program.

Career Paths

  • Public Health Practitioners

  • Public Health Policy

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

  • Nonprofit Management

  • Government

  • Health IT Systems

  • Health Advocacy and Education

  • Health Systems and Hospital Management

  • Researcher or policy developer in the social determinants of infectious disease, aging, psycho-social wellbeing, maternal childcare, environmental health, etc.

Faculty & Staff

IHP Health & Community: Public Health in Washington D.C. (Online | USA)

SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Zufan Hagos, MA

Discover the Possibilities


    The total cost for this program is $4,450, including tuition, room & board. Program cost does not include travel or health insurance. Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.