Gain unique insight and exposure to health care policies, politics, and delivery methods in a multicultural and rapidly changing region of South America.
Central to the program is an analysis of health reform intended primarily to improve health conditions of disadvantaged groups, particularly those in Chile, while also improving health care access for the population at large.
Students carefully examine intercultural health and alternative healthcare practices in the context of Chile as well as southern Peru. Students consider different conceptions of wellness and healing, including beliefs and health practices of the Aymara and Mapuche indigenous groups. The program gives students the opportunity to experience Chile's health system firsthand with guided, insightful visits to public and private health centers.
Learning is conducted through thematic lectures, field study, and educational excursions, which challenge students to consider topics such as:
The economic, structural, and ideological determinants of public health planning and practices in Chile
Questions of social exclusion in relation to public health outreach
Chile's Indigenous Health System
Alternative treatments of psychiatric and other mental health issues
The connection between healing and spiritual beliefs
Health of women, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly
Issues of access related to alternative methods of health treatment
Linkages between public health and community empowerment
Chile's national health system compared to private health systems
The program is based in the beautiful city of Arica located on Chile's northern coast. Arica is home to Universidad de Tarapacá, which contains the most extensive and complete library in the north of Chile and is where the program's classes are held. Many of the program's lecturers are drawn from the University's faculty, and students enjoy access to the University's facilities, including its sports facilities.
Excursions to the nearby city of Putre, across the border to Tacna, Peru, and to Temuco (in southern Chile) help students better understand health policy issues within different indigenous contexts. The program is designed to provide future professional health practitioners, policymakers, social activists, and others with an essential understanding of Latin American cultures within the health services field.
Intensive Spanish language instruction and an eight-week homestay complement thematic coursework and field study and further integrate students in Chilean society.