IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care (Spring 2)
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Faculty and Staff
The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
|Program Director & Program Manager|
|Stephanie Polsky||Rose Blake|
|Shanti Avirgan||Alison Swartz|
|Country Coordinators & Facilitators|
|Glenda de la Fuente||Jeremy Ogusky|
|Vu Cong Nguyen||Angela Mias|
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.
Shanti Avirgan, MPhil, MA
Shanti Avirgan has worked as a traveling faculty for the IHP/Comparative Health and Community program over the past three years. She has taught the "Health, Culture, and Community" course and the "Globalization and Health" course during the spring semester. She has also taught courses in medical anthropology; the anthropology of gender and sexuality; and interdisciplinary survey courses on Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa at Brooklyn College (CUNY) and New York University. In addition to teaching, Shanti has worked for over a decade as a filmmaker, researcher, and activist in alliance with national and international HIV/AIDS activist organizations including Health GAP, Visual AIDS, and the Student Global AIDS Campaign. Shanti received a BA in Latin American studies from the University of Texas at Austin; was a Fulbright Scholar in anthropology and public health at the Federal University of Bahia in Salvador, Brazil; and has an MPhil in socio-cultural anthropology and documentary filmmaking from NYU's Program in Culture and Media. Her documentaries include Pills Profits Protest: Chronicle of the Global AIDS Movement and Sex in an Epidemic, both of which premiered on the Showtime cable network and have screened in film festivals, public health conferences, activist workshops, and college campuses around the world. Shanti is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and has lived in Tanzania, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the United States; for the past twelve years, her home base has been Brooklyn, NY.
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.
Sarah White, MRes, MA
Sarah White is a San Francisco native with a Master of Research in social anthropology from the University of St. Andrews and a BA in global studies: performing arts and social justice from Global College. Growing up, she was in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, a diverse group that addressed pressing social issues through dance, theater, and spoken word. For the past 8 years, her research has focused on the intersections of race, power, and aesthetics in Roma (Gypsy) communities in India, Turkey, Egypt, and Romania. Sarah is a recipient of the Young Explorers Grant from the National Geographic Society, producing a documentary on the Kalbeliyas (Rajasthani Gypsies). Most recently, she was an international educator for Thinking Beyond Borders, leading an academic gap year focused on development in eight countries through the lenses of the environment and natural resources, education, sustainable agriculture, and public health. Sarah is currently completing her second master’s degree at SIT Graduate Institute in intercultural service, leadership, and management.
Glenda de la Fuente, MA
Country Coordinator: São Paulo, Brazil
Glenda de la Fuente holds a bachelor’s degree in translation and a postgraduate degree from King’s College, University of London, in applied linguistics and English language teaching. She was a professor for and coordinator of the extracurricular English program at the University of Buenos Aires, where she was in charge of teacher training courses. Since 1987, she has been a member of the Humanist Movement, an international volunteer organization engaged in the promotion of equity and human rights worldwide; through this work, she has served as a lecturer and promoter of grassroots groups committed to the principles of nonviolence and nondiscrimination in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, and Brazil. Born in Argentina, for the last nine years she has lived in São Paulo, where she currently works as a freelance conference interpreter and translator. She also promotes humanist education programs with community-based groups. She has been the country coordinator of the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Cities program since 2008, and since 2010 she has also coordinated the SIT Study Abroad/IHP Health and Community program in São Paulo.
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.
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).
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.
Duration: Spring, 16 weeks
United States, Brazil, Vietnam, South Africa
Prerequisites: None. Coursework in public health, anthropology, biology, or related field recommended. Learn More...
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