The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health offered three study abroad programs across three continents during the Summer of 2017.
The study abroad program provides students with an opportunity to go outside the classroom and determine how public health theory is used in practice. Each program provides a completely different type of academic experiences and varied length and credits allowing students to choose to participate in a program that meets their needs.
The Human Sexuality and Public Health in Northern Europe study abroad program examines how issues related to sexuality are addressed in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Students spend one week in Tucson and 3.5 weeks in Europe visiting hospitals, public health agencies, and universities, interacting with local students, governments, researchers, medical professionals, and public health workers. This program also incorporates a high level of physical activity. Students discover why Northern Europeans are some of the healthiest people in the world.
Throughout the program, students participated in excursions to castles, cathedrals, and museums. In each country, students had the opportunity to learn about local customs and traditions including meals with local hosts.
Ms. Elisa Loya calls the program a personal growth experience for her.
“I thought I was already an outgoing and open-minded person and this trip showed me that there was still room for more! It has also taught me that a change in perspective can make a world of difference,” said Ms. Loya.
Ms. Jullisa Sanches believes the trip made her even more interested in public health as a major. “I understand that there are many different ways to address public health issues, based on the variety of methods I learned about that are occurring in different countries.”
The Accelerated Public Health in Cusco, Peru allows students to accelerate their Public Health degree by completing a full semester of coursework during this 9-week summer program in Cusco, Peru. This year, 16 students participated in learning about Peruvian healthcare while serving the local community on topics related to nutrition, respiratory health, clean water, and sustainability.
The classroom courses included Global Health, Infections and Epidemics, Health Disparities and Minority Health. The service learning course had students construct safe, clay-based, wood stoves to decrease indoor smoke exposure, prevent burns, and provide a lower cost alternative to propane stoves. Students also helped install point-of-use water filtration systems in homes and developed a protocol to do home inspections for decreasing the risks for injuries and infectious disease in Quechua villages.
“While building the stoves and tables for the water filters for families in rural communities, we got the chance to experience first-hand examples of real world health disparities that we had talked about in class,” said public health undergraduate student Ms. Rachel Staudacher.
Students also had the opportunity to enrich their studies by learning about the Peruvian culture through cooking classes, salsa lessons, and studies on the Inca Empire with visits to beautiful archeological ruins, including Machu Picchu.
Students have two options with the Summer Abroad Program in Henan, China, located in the central part of the country.
Integrating Chinese Medicine and Public Health is a one-month program. Students earn six UA credits and have the opportunity to visit Chinese hospitals, Provincial CDC (The Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and historical places such as the ruins of Shang Dynasty and the Shaolin Temple.
The curriculum includes 12-hours, in-class instruction per week (including clinic work) for the three-month program. The courses include Tai Chi, Chinese Medicine for Wellness, Chinese Medicine Principles, Acupuncture, Tuina (Chinese massage), and History of Chinese Medicine. The instructors are professors from the Henan University of Chinese Medicine.
The Integrated Chinese Primary Healthcare program has a three-month or six-month option at Henan University of Chinese Medicine and provides students with a firsthand look at primary healthcare in China. Students explore Chinese medicine, acupuncture, clinical techniques, and martial arts. The three-month program may be combined with the Integrating Chinese Medicine and Public Health program to earn up to 12 credit units. The six-month program allows students to earn up to 18 credits.
“This experience half-way around the world has completely changed my perspective on my life, the lives of other people, and most importantly connected me to people all over the world. It has completely increased my level of compassion and love for humanity,” said public health undergraduate student Mr. Jacob Matthews.
The study abroad programs at the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health are a coordinated effort between faculty, the Office of Student Services and Alumni Affairs, and the UA Office of Global Initiatives.Tags: Arizona, Behavioral and Social Science, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health, Health Promotion and Communication, LGBTQ, Minority Health and Health Disparities