238389 Using study abroad as effective pedagogy for promoting competency in global public health

Monday, October 31, 2011

Donna Howard, DrPH, MPH, BS , Dept of Behavioral & Community Health, School of Public Health, UMCP, College Park, MD
Purpose: Study Abroad programs provide opportunities for immersion in unfamiliar geographic and sociocultural contexts. For public health students, this experience helps to both make apparent and highlight the myriad, often overlooked, ways in which public health affects us on a daily basis. Equally important, study abroad programs foster a greater appreciation for the wisdom, ingenuity and efficiency of low literacy, appropriately tailored community-based programs and technologies. Students also develop self-awareness of assumptions about normalcy, development, and health that are implicit in western/biomedical paradigms. Methods: The cast study methodology will be used to describe how a winter study abroad program, “East Meets West: Contrasting Public Health Priorities, Pragmatics and Polemics in the U.S. & India” was implemented as an innovative pedagogical practice to promote foundational competency in global public health. Classroom experiences, field activities and excerpts from student reflection essays will be used to illustrate the methodology's application and utility. Results: Students were taught alongside peers in an Indian academic institution. This was combined with hands-on field activities designed to enrich and inform the learning process. Community diagnosis fieldwork, analysis of public health in the local news media and reflection essays helped to broaden the analytic lens by which student viewed and interpreted challenges and opportunities at the crossroads of public health practice. Conclusions: Study Abroad programs promote a more textured and critical analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of different public health systems along with sensitivity to the structural, philosophical and environmental determinants that shape and/or impede health promotion efforts.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the utility of study abroad programs in sensitizing students to structural, philosophical and environmental determinants that shape and/or impede health promotion efforts. Discuss how public health priorities and programs are developed and implemented within a U.S. and Indian socio-political and cultural context.

Keywords: Global Education, India

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor with a Doctorate in Public Health and a Masters in International Health. I am Director of the College Park Scholars Global Public Health Program and faculty lead for the Study Abroad Program to India. I was a Fulbright-Pai visiting scholar in India during 2008-9.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.