IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care (Fall)
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|Program Director & Program Manager|
|Stephanie Polsky||Rose Blake|
|Sara Ardila||Karen Straight|
|Country Coordinators & Facilitators|
|Angela Mias||Jeremy Ogusky|
|Alison Swartz||Vu Cong Nguyen|
Stephanie Polsky, PhD
Health & Community
Over the past decade, Dr. Polsky has designed programming for some of the most prominent liberal arts–based institutions in Britain, including Goldsmiths College, University of London; Winchester School of Art; Camberwell College of the Arts; London College of Communication; the University of Greenwich; and Regent’s College London. She has established a reputation for innovation and consistent quality in conceptualizing new strategies for learning and new approaches to illustrating ideas that enhance existing programming. During her career she has sought out opportunities to express academic and administrative leadership and has served in a variety of roles, including programme coordinator at Winchester School of Art, programme leader at the University of Greenwich, learning circle coordinator at The Scholar Ship, director of recruitment at Drexel University, academic director for the Foundation for International Education in London, and visiting lecturer/programme advisor at Regent’s College London. She is passionate about the benefits of study abroad and sees her position as program director for IHP Health and Community as an opportunity to provide a variety of individuals with a rich and dynamic international context through which to shape their knowledge and experience in an area of crucial importance to humanity in the twenty-first century. Dr. Polsky holds an MA in critical theory from the University of Sussex and a PhD in historical and cultural studies, with a special emphasis on visual cultures, from Goldsmiths College, University of London. Throughout her career she has lectured and published widely in the area of media and cultural studies.
Rose Blake is in the middle of writing a PhD dissertation in social anthropology. The research for her PhD was conducted in the township of Zwelethemba and focuses on the tensions leading to intergenerational conflict between close female kin (grandmothers, mothers, and granddaughters) around care and domesticity. It focuses in particular on the impacts of HIV/AIDS, the social grant system, and widespread unemployment on these relationships.
Rose holds a master’s degree in medical anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and in the past has conducted research into the experiences of children receiving in-patient chemotherapy at a large provincial children’s hospital in South Africa. She has been involved in coordinating the Cape Town portion of spring and fall Health and Community programs since 2010 and recently also took up the position of program manager for IHP Health and Community.
Sara is a psychologist and close to finishing a PhD on community mental health from the University of Lanús, Argentina. Her doctoral studies have been supported by two scholarships from national scientific agencies in Argentina (FONCyT and CONICET). She has conducted research on the effects of natural disasters and war on mental health; the effects of health-system reforms on psychiatric care; and the relationship between primary healthcare and mental health. She is currently conducting an evaluation of mental health services from the perspectives of mental health patients. Sara teaches courses on public health at the School of Psychology at the University of Buenos Aires. She considers herself part of the Latin American collective health movement.
Sara was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and she has lived in several Latin American countries; she currently resides in Buenos Aires. She holds a BA from Javeriana University in Bogotá and an MA in social psychology from the University of Buenos Aires. During her undergraduate studies, she specialized in systemic family therapy. Sara was the academic coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Health and Community program in the spring of 2012 in Argentina.
Karen Straight, PhD
Karen is a sociologist living in Kalispell, Montana. She has an MA and a PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her doctoral research focused on gender and assimilation amongst South Indian immigrants in Portland, Oregon. Karen has 17 years of university level teaching experience. She regularly teaches courses in sociology/anthropology of health, global perspectives on women, comparative cultures, and social movements. Karen’s research interests have focused on Asian immigrants, gender, and the comparative study of religion and politics cross-culturally. Karen has experience working as an applied sociologist with a nonprofit organization servicing Asian immigrants and refugees. In that role, she worked as a grassroots organizer to improve the health, education, and political opportunities of the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Her love for travel began many years ago with two study abroad programs in college. Since then, Karen has traveled extensively in Asia and Latin America; she has completed volunteer work in Ecuador. In addition to teaching, Karen directed a sanctuary for former research animals in rural Wyoming. Running service learning programs for college students at the sanctuary was among her favorite activities. She enjoyed teaching IHP/Comparative Health and Community students in India and China in 2012 and is looking forward to working with a new group of students in 2013.
Country Coordinator, South Africa
Angela Mias comes to SIT with over a decade of experience coordinating student travel and community-based learning projects in her home of South Africa. Ms. Mias previously worked as a resident coordinator for the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), with duties that included management of the service-learning program, coordinating homestay placements, and identifying and maintaining relationships with nongovernmental organizations. More recently, she has coordinated short programs in Cape Town for students from Boston College, Johns Hopkins University, and SIT’s IHP Health and Community program. Additionally, Ms. Mias works as a project administrator for the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET).
Jeremy Ogusky, MPH
Country Coordinator, USA (Washington, DC)
Jeremy has been interested in analyzing and changing policies and social constructs that determine health and illness for a number of years. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho in southern Africa, he worked within local government to coordinate and evaluate various HIV/AIDS community-level programs. Jeremy has taught university courses in Ecuador focused on public health topics such as health policy, social medicine, and community development. As a researcher with the Center for International Health and Development in South Africa, he led field research on the economic impacts of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. And most recently, he led public policy and advocacy with Metro TeenAIDS in Washington, DC. Jeremy is a professional potter and the CEO of a small ceramics business. He enjoys riding his bicycle at high speeds.
Alison Swartz lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She currently works at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the Primary Health Care Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital; she is part of a team of academics who coordinate and teach medical students a course in culture, psyche, and illness. Alison has also taught courses in qualitative research methods and medical anthropology in the School of Public Health and in the Social Anthropology Department at UCT. Alison has a master’s in public health from the same university. Her thesis drew on her ongoing research in Khayelitsha, a large township in Cape Town, on networks of care and community health workers. She has an honors degree in social anthropology that focused on child pesticide poisoning in peri-urban spaces. Alison has particular interest in the ways in which poverty, gender, and health intersect. She is also interested in teaching and learning in interdisciplinary spaces and more specifically in combining understandings of both medical anthropology and public health to further knowledge.
Alison has worked for IHP since late 2009 when she conducted research about the programs’ homestays, from the students’ and hosts’ perspectives. In 2010 she co-coordinated the Cape Town program, and she has been working as program manager since 2011.
Ben graduated from Tufts University in 2010 with a double major in community health and American studies. Following graduation, he co-coordinated Tufts Wilderness Orientation, working with student trip leaders to run 26 backpacking, canoeing, and climbing trips throughout New England. Following this experience, Ben took time to travel through India before beginning a job in public health research in Boston. Through this professional avenue, as well as in his personal life, Ben continues to explore the intersections of health and society, an interest which his spring 2009 IHP Health and Community experience helped develop. Ben stays active by hiking, climbing, biking, doing yoga, and otherwise exploring.
Vu Cong Nguyen MD, MPH
Country Coordinator, Vietnam
Dr. Nguyen is the director of the Family Health Research and Development Center (FHRD), an affiliate of the Institute of Population Health and Development (PHAD). He is also a founder and management board member of PHAD. Dr. Nguyen was previously a lecturer at Hanoi Medical School, a program officer with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), and a program officer with Family Health International. Currently, Dr. Nguyen is leading several HIV/AIDS research and intervention projects in Vietnam with funding from PEPFAR. Ongoing projects target most-at-risk populations (MARP), including female sex workers, injecting drug users, and young people. As part of the Health Policy Project, Dr. Nguyen and his colleagues are implementing a 100% condom use program for female sex workers in An Giang. Dr. Nguyen and his staff are also implementing an HIV prevention project targeting young Vietnamese soldiers who are completing mandatory military service.
Dr. Nguyen obtained his medical doctorate from Hanoi Medical School in 1993 and a master’s of public health at Brown University in 2005. His expertise includes health systems management, epidemiology, and biostatistics and their applications in public health research, with a special interest in HIV/AIDS. Dr. Nguyen is also a founder of the Vietnamese Society for HIV/AIDS Medicine, as well as a member of the Vietnamese Public Health Association and American Public Health Association.
View Student Evaluations for this program:
About the Evaluations (PDF)