Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment
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Based in Chile's northern-most city of Arica, students in the SIT Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment program examine theoretical and existing approaches to health care delivery in diverse communities across Chile, including in urban and rural areas. Through interdisciplinary coursework, field study, and meaningful site visits to public health centers, students scrutinize both "modern" and traditional medicine practices and delivery methods.
Gaining global perspectives from Arica
From the program base in Arica, students enjoy excellent access to health centers and hospitals, learning from academics, practitioners, and community experts in both Arica and the greater region. Arica is home to a multitude of ethnic communities including Chinese, Afro-American, Italian, Spanish, and indigenous groups; despite their shared locality, however, students discover extraordinary differences in culture and health practices.
Because Arica lies on the border of Peru and Bolivia, students are able to examine health care from different international perspectives. Students learn about cross-border initiatives and transnational coordination of health policy on topics such as infectious disease management, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. The city's beautiful climate, valleys, and beaches provide students outstanding opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities.
Exposure to multiple sources of knowledge
Students in the Chile: Public Health, Traditional Medicine, and Community Empowerment program learn from and engage with:
- Faculty members at the Universidad de Tarapacá
- Medical health professionals
- National and local government health officials
- Intercultural medicine practitioners including herbalists
- Local university students in both urban and rural settings
- Health centers where traditional medicine is practiced
Close interaction with academic, professional, and community experts in the field of health care allows students to develop a comprehensive, up-close understanding of health and community welfare in the context of Chile.
Public Health Research Methods and Ethics
Through the program's Public Health Research Methods and Ethics course, students receive instruction in research methods in both the social and health sciences. Students learn how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and public health data to critically understand and evaluate program-related public health and intercultural issues. Field studies may include designing a research project; writing a research proposal; interviewing; surveys; and maintaining a field journal.
Specific public health field study methods could include concepts and objectives of scientific research; basic techniques used in public health research; data collection and analysis; epidemiology and considerations in the Chilean context; ethical issues related to public health projects and research; and the World Learning/ SIT Human Subjects Review Policy. Through this course, students frequently observe and participate in community health projects. The Public Health Research Methods and Ethics course serves as an introduction to the Independent Study Project.
Independent Study / Practicum Project
Students in the Chile public health program choose to conduct an Independent Study Project or participate in a guided, month-long practicum. Projects are conducted in Arica, Valparaiso, Temuco, Nueva Imperial, Valdivia, or other approved locations appropriate to the project in Chile. Sample topic areas include:
- Adolescent pregnancy
- Psychiatric illness and community outreach
- Intercultural health
- Chilean AIDS policy
- Pre- and post-natal care
- Children and women's health
- Indigenous healthcare practices
- Inequity and health
- Drug and alcohol treatment
- Community empowerment
- Communitarian organization
- Traditional medicine
Students on this program have the opportunity to complete a practicum, which can be conducted in a health clinic, intercultural hospital, traditional health center, or at an NGO, according to each student's particular interest. The practicum allows participants to acquire diverse perspectives on heath as a global concept. Students participate as members of a local health team or as individual volunteers.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Arica
Language Study: Spanish
Prerequisites: Coursework in public health, development studies, community or social sciences, or other related fields; 4 semesters college-level Spanish. Read more...
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