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