New Orleans, USA

Public Health, Policy, Practice & Advocacy – IHP Health & Community

Explore how communities in New Orleans, Louisiana, are addressing ever-increasing health disparities as they strive for health equity, wellbeing, and social justice.

At a Glance






Dec 28 ‎– Jan 16

Program Countries

United States

Program Base

New Orleans, USA

Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

Global Health & Well-being Icon


Health practices differ widely across the US, but one constant is that health inequities—between urban and rural and along lines of structural inequity—are increasing exponentially. In this J-Term course based in New Orleans, Louisiana, you will explore local health strategies and community well-being in different social contexts. New Orleans also offers insight into longer-term public health efforts through nearly 15 years of rebuilding after multiple disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. You will see first-hand the complex relationship between policy and practice both from a historical perspective and as it continues to play out in the present. This course will provide a timely examination of the massive socio-economic upheaval due to COVID-19 and varied state and federal public health responses, as well as wide-spread racial justice movements.

You will 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.

Participating in this course during a unique public health moment will demonstrate that one cannot separate the individual and the social, the personal and the professional, nor the theoretical and the applied practice to understand critical health challenges and organize an effective, collaborative response.


  • Explore how public and private sectors and civil society intersect at the frontlines of healthcare in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Compare realities of public health work on the ground in urban and rural settings
  • Investigate the history and legacies of structural racial health inequities in New Orleans and the US South
  • Examine critical local and national public health initiatives and the relationships between providers and folks who need care



Course Sites

New Orleans, LA

You will explore health in one of the most culturally distinct cities in the US: New Orleans, Louisiana. The city is globally known for its cultural celebrations of food, music, and the famed French Quarter, yet New Orleans is also still recovering from massive environmental and social disasters, including hurricanes and oil spills, a lack of middle-class economy and jobs, the legacy of post-disaster displacement, the opioid crisis, and deep structural racial health inequities. New Orleans offers a chance to explore the role of civil society in a place where locals often see governmental solutions as failures and the city still struggles to make its economy, social services, and environmental safeguards sustainable. You will learn first-hand about New Orleans’ diverse neighborhoods and varied health outcomes and will meet with activists, government officials, and experts at leading universities and nongovernmental organizations.

Your program will include an excursion to Cajun communities north of the city to compare urban and rural health care, health priorities, and the variations of local needs. In this way, you will learn comparatively and from an array of urban and rural perspectives by engaging with the people whose everyday lives are impacted by the decisions of local and national policymakers.

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

  • Study public health in a face-to-face, immersive environment
  • Engage with activists, government officials, and experts at leading universities and nongovernmental organizations
  • Visit urban and rural communities to compare healthcare needs and priorities
  • Learn basic fieldwork methods to gather data for public health research

Public Health: Policy, Practice and Advocacy - IHP Health & Community


Students will be housed in hostels, guest houses, and small hotels or dorms.

Career Paths

  • Public Health Practitioners—federal to local

  • Public Health Policy—services to finance

  • 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

New Orleans, USA: Public Health, Policy, Practice & Advocacy – IHP Health & Community

SherriLynn Colby-Bottel, PhD
Zufan Hagos, MA

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    The total cost for this program is $4,250, including tuition and room & board. Financial aid may apply. Contact your study abroad office or SIT Admissions for more information.