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Belize

Field Study in Global Public Health Practice

Graduate MPH students may complete field work practice within the social, cultural, and political context of public health.

Students will learn about the strengths and challenges faced by urban and rural public health initiatives in Belize. Students will first travel to the San Joaquin Village in the Corozal District of Belize to examine public health issues in a rural setting; then spend time in an urban setting in Belize City. Students will visit Belmopan, the country’s capital, for a lecture at the Ministry of Health. Students will experience hospital and pharmacy tours, learn from guest lectures, conduct student-driven site visits and complete field work. The rural component incorporates an 8-night homestay. The urban component incorporates a visit to Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital—the national referral hospital.

Students will engage with local researchers, practitioners and community members to critically examine public health initiatives. Each student will be assigned a public health project, and through lectures, academic service-learning, participant observation, faculty-guided group work, reflection writing, oral presentation, and a final paper, students will learn about the strengths and challenges of public health initiatives in Belize. Employing experiential education methodologies, students will explore the implementation and outcomes of health campaigns, understand the impact of the epidemiologic transition in a less-developed country, explore collaborative strategies and develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing public health institutions. This will be a mutually beneficial program. Each student will spend time working with several specific local health-related organizations to research health issues pre-identified by the local community. All students will receive 3 credits.

Students will also experience an adventure-filled excursion to one of Belize's many renowned environmentally conscious and sustainable eco-tourism sites.

Program Dates: August 15 - 29, 2017

Program Itinerary: Check out the on-site program!  And please review the course outline below for more details on the semester-long course.

Faculty Director: Mieka Smart, DrPH - email

Dr. Smart is an Assistant Professor of Global Health and Associate Director of Public Health Policy in St. John's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where she uses experiential methods to teach Epidemiology, Health Disparities, and guide Public Health Practice for Master of Public Health students locally and internationally. She is a drug and alcohol epidemiologist via training awarded by the United States National Institutes of Health. She earned her BA, MHS, and DrPH at Johns Hopkins University, where she ran faculty-directed experiential public health programs for undergraduates and graduate students in both Uganda and South Africa.

Graduate Course:

Program Status:  This program has been postponed to 2018.