IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care (Spring 1)

USA 2012 Letter Home

Dear Family and Friends,

We cannot believe our time in New Orleans has come to an end! These past two and a half weeks have been busy with class orientation, getting to know our fellow IHPers, and exploring NOLA!  Our rockstar coordinator SherriLynn Colby-Bottel welcomed and oriented us to the fabulous city by briefing us on transport, sharing gem spots around town, and inviting us in to her lovely abode for home-cooked New Orleanian gumbo.

New Orleans is a unique, dynamic place – full of life, color, culture, and spirit. Its streets are packed with Cajun food restaurants, praline shops, and music halls; most importantly, the city is marked by the events it survived during Hurricane Katrina.

AAE Bourbon House, the hostel we called home for two weeks, was conveniently located a few blocks from Kinsley House, our classroom for our stay. Kinsley House offers an array of community services including childcare, a clinic for the elderly, and even a set for the hit TV drama series Treme. At Kinsley House, we spent time doing icebreakers to get to know one another, set group norms, and learned about important health-related themes in the community of New Orleans. We also started our four classes covering research methods, globalization, medical anthropology, and public health.

During the second week, we visited the 9th Ward, the area of the city that was most affected by Hurricane Katrina. We were able to meet with two nonprofit organizations, Habitat for Humanity Musician’s Village and Common Ground, to learn about their efforts to help communities whose homes were destroyed. We even got a special performance from the legendary musician Al “Carnival Time” Johnson, who later surprised us with a magical night of music at our farewell party!

Being in the 9th Ward and walking through streets dotted with both new homes and the remains of destroyed homes that after seven years had not been fixed, sparked a broad spectrum of emotions. At its essence, our visceral experience revealed how inappropriately and inaccurately the media covered the Hurricane Katrina story.

Other visits around town included a local farmer’s market, The Jazz Heritage Foundation, Neighborhood Story Project, and the Backstreet Cultural Museum. Each visit featured inspiring speakers who discussed how that place connected to the health of New Orleans.

In our free time you could find us biking through City Park, listening to live music on Frenchmen Street, doing yoga on Magazine Street, watching the documentary film “When the Levees Broke”, eating Beignets at Café Du Monde, and walking by the Mississippi River.

New Orleans has set the groundwork for our studies as we venture around the globe to study health and community. We are excited for our next series of adventures in India!

All the best from your Health and Community Spring 2012 Track One students!

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Credits: 16

Duration: Spring, 16 weeks

Program Sites:
United States, India, South Africa, Brazil

Prerequisites: None. Coursework in public health, anthropology, biology, or related field recommended.

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