Examine Brazil's health care system and health policies in the state of Bahia.
This program allows students to observe through firsthand experience how health care policies in Brazil are put into practice. Students are deeply immersed in Nordeste, Brazil's northeast region and home to some of the poorest areas in the southern hemisphere. Through lectures, seminars, and site visits, students discover the complexities of Brazil's health care system as well as the country's extraordinarily diverse population.
Particular attention is spent studying traditional Afro Brazilian healing practices, especially those rooted in the Candomblé spiritual belief system, on which many rural and urban communities still rely.
Immersion in Bahia
The program is based in Salvador, the capital of Bahia and largest city in the Brazilian northeast. Of Salvador's 2.8 million residents, approximately 80 percent are of African descent. Salvador is an ideal base from which to explore issues of public health, community welfare, and social justice.
Students also have educational excursions to rural communities outside Salvador where they engage in health care projects beneficial to local community members. Homestays with Brazilian families from very different socioeconomic backgrounds reveal the vast differences in Brazilian daily life.
Engage with academics, professionals, and community leaders
Students learn from physicians and nurses, government health officials, political activists, representatives of international NGOs and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations, urban and rural residents, herbalists, and Candomblé healers in the Brazilian northeast.
Focus on issues of access and inclusion
Brazil is the most populous Latin American country and home to the world's largest African Diaspora community. While the country's public health policies have achieved success on several issues, including in AIDS prevention, the health care needs of its most impoverished people currently are not being met. As a result, Brazil's government has sought innovative approaches to reach its underprivileged citizens. Many Brazilian communities in the periphery also have developed alternative health care methods that often draw upon spiritual practices and natural remedies.