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Costa Rica

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Hello from San Jose, Costa Rica!

This spring, Professor Dorothy Anthony and Shirley Michaels from Keystone College have taken 12 students to San José, Costa Rica, as part of a faculty-led study abroad program in San Jose customized in partnership with CEA. This program is focused on Global Health and includes site visits to four local healthcare facilities representing different clinic models, high profile guest speakers with the Costa Rican government and healthcare field, and volunteer opportunities at a low-income, rural clinic. The group is also looking forward to excursions to Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano and Puerto Viejo.

Here’s what Dorothy and Shirley have to say about their experiences so far:

Hello from San Jose,Costa Rica!

We are in Costa Rica instructing a course in Global Health. I took two curriculum workshops in Washington, D.C., on teaching Public Health at the undergraduate level. Education is a second career for me. My first career was as a chiropractor, so Global Health really appeals to all of my interests. I am interested in healthcare, travel and teaching. Costa Rica was chosen as a destination for instructing Global Health for several reasons.

The first reason was that it was a less expensive option for students. At Keystone we have a population of students where nearly 90% get some type of financial aid. So cost was a very important consideration. Second, Costa Rica has a very good record in public health circles. They are only one year behind the U.S. in life expectancy and they spend less than about 20% of what we spend on health care when you factor in population differences, etc. They must have some lessons we can learn as we compare our healthcare system. Some other considerations were safety, interest in the location and, of course, what locations were available through CEA Global Education. We have had excellent experiences with sending individual students abroad through CEA and we were confident a faculty-led program would also be top notch.

The biggest obstacle has been recruiting students. Keystone was excellent at finding ways to make this work. They extended registration when it did not fill the first time. It was billed as a lab fee so the cost could be included in financial aid packages. I found a few students from science to go because I teach in that division. Finding the cross-section of students I was looking for proved challenging. I finally ended up going into classes that I felt might be interested in this trip. I went to geography and culture classes, psychology classes, education classes, and anything that might be international. The education class I went to was teaching ESL. I did a 15-minute presentation with the help of our CEA representative, Kathleen Ellwood. That did it - we got our 12 students.

The goals for global health include:

• Discuss disease agents and processes that cause the majority disease burden worldwide
• Describe health transitions (demographic, epidemiologic, nutrition, urban) and the impact on populations in developed and developing countries in the 21st Century
• Describe key public health concepts, including: the burden of disease, the impact of key health conditions on individuals and on communities, and critical issues in the organization and delivery of health services
• Discuss the determinants of health, with particular concern for nutrition, reproductive health, maternal and child health, nutrition, education, and environmental issues
• Discuss how social and cultural factors can affect a society’s morbidity and mortality
• Discuss the multi-directional links between health and social, political and economic factors
• Identify key organizations and institutions, their respective roles in global health and key aspects of inter-agency cooperation

Here is the flickr site so you can check out our pictures. Costa Rica is great fun. Everything has been totally top notch.

Check back for more on the Keystone Costa Rica faculty-led custom program.
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