Online Program

Developing short-term medical experiences for long term impact: Global health education for community based primary health care in Nicaragua

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:30 a.m. - 9:50 a.m.

Laura Parajon, MD, MPH, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
Desiree Sanabria, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
Andre Scarlatto, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
Ana Williams, DDS, MHA, MPH, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
Ann Marie Castleman, MPH, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
David Parajon, MD, MPH, MBA, AMOS Health and Hope, Managua, Nicaragua
Alexis Siegel, MPH, Peace Corps Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua
Roberto Martinez, MD, MPH, SUNY, Syracuse, NY
While over 65% of incoming medical students express interest in international health experiences as part of their education, short term experiences in global health (STEGs) vary depending on the ability of both the sending and receiving agencies to offer learning opportunities. In this presentation, we describe the development of a framework for effective and impactful global health education in low and middle income countries (LMIC). AMOS is a non-profit organization based in Nicaragua which implements the strategy of community based primary health care (CBPHC) to decrease maternal and child mortality and morbidity in rural communities. Over the past ten years, we have received an increasing number of medical volunteers, students and teams. As a small non-profit, we face the dilemma of balancing passionate and committed volunteers (who need orientation and support to be effective) with the everyday programmatic implementation of CBPHC activities. With input from university partners, volunteers, AMOS program staff and community health workers (CHWs), we developed a global health education curriculum emphasizing: 1) Cultural humility, co-learning and critical self-reflection 2) Community based participatory research principles and practice 3) Principles and practice of CBPHC and CHW models for improving health, and 4) Processes to foster community empowerment and engagement. We hired and trained STEG staff who worked to integrate students and volunteers with existing CBPHC programming. Since implementing this framework, over 100 students have contributed to projects such as operations research on CHW performance, development of training materials and job aids for CHWs, and prevalence studies for childhood malnutrition and anemia -- all contributing to the long term community impact of our CBPHC program.  In our experience, STEGs can have long term impacts on students, volunteers, receiving agencies and community beneficiaries, but need to be supported by an adequate global health curriculum, staffing, community partners, budgets, and logistics.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe a framework for global health education which integrates the contribution of short term volunteers for long term community based primary health care (CBPHC) work in Nicaragua. List the factors required for the development of an impactful and effective short term global health experience in Nicaragua Identify the human resources, budget, and logistics required for implementation of a global health education program in Nicaragua

Keyword(s): Public Health Curricula & Competencies, International Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the coordinator of the team that developed the framework for integrating global community health education with community based primary health care work, which is the topic that I am presenting. I am also a physician and public health professional and have mentored and worked with students in global health education as well as worked on the development of community based primary health care interventions.
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.