254793 An academic course for students on independent international health immersion trips

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:32 PM - 12:44 PM

Michael D. Rozier, MHS , Department of Epidemiology, Saint Louis University, Brighton, MA
With the ease of international travel, many public health students interested in global health take international immersion trips apart from those facilitated by faculty members. Independent or student-run trips typically have minimal preparation and rarely have follow-up, yet they are increasingly common and an important in personal and professional development. In response to student demand, our public health major offered a 1-credit course that integrated academic global health concepts and international student experience. The course met twice in the fall semester and twice in the spring semester and was designed for students going on independent health immersion trips over winter break to many locations including India, Ghana, Honduras, and Kenya. Pre-trip preparations typically inform students about travel arrangements, safety precautions, vaccinations, overview of work, and other necessary information. Our course included: researching the local health system; understanding the local burden of disease; culturally appropriate interactions and interventions; measuring effectiveness of short-term trips; and questions of global resource allocation. The course also included personal reflection pre-experience on why they were going, what they hoped to experience, and post-experience on how the trip either met or did not meet their expectations and what they would do differently in the future. Students praised the connection between global health coursework and their immersion experience. This presentation will provide attendees with course learning objectives, topics, assignments, activities, student evaluations, and recommendations for implementation. These resources could be used equally well for faculty-sponsored trips or independent and student-run initiatives.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
(1) Explain how a new course can enhance student experience of independently-organized international health immersion trips (2) List course topics and assignment that combine academic global health concepts and student experience

Keywords: Public Health Education, Field Experience

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the founding director of a undergraduate major in a School of Public Health and helped create the curriculum. I created and taught the course discussed in the abstract as well as courses in global health. I have facilitated many international health immersion trips for medical and public health students.
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.