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Plan of Study

Year 1:


Issues in Global Health

This course, offered through the Center for Global Health at Penn Medicine, presents an overview of issues in global health from the viewpoint of many different disciplines, with emphasis on economically less developed countries.  Themes include the state of the planet, including populations, resources, and environment; determinants of global health, ethical perspectives, challenges in communicable and non-communicable disease, and intervention strategies.


Sociocultural Influences on Health

This course is intended for students interested in U.S/Global Healthcare. It includes lectures, discussions, readings, and written assignments focused on various social, cultural, and economic factors that impact the health and illness perceptions and behaviors of various ethnic and minority groups. In particular, it focuses on how culture affects health and disease, and how health and disease affect culture.This course takes a critical approach to knowledge development by scrutinizing values, theories, assumptions, and practices cross culturally. It relies upon a range of interdisciplinary approaches to analyze how disease is diagnosed, treated, and experienced differently in various cultural contexts. At the same time, students will have the opportunity to examine and critique cultural assumptions and theories, the shifting nature of cultures, the situational use of cultural traditions, and the ethnocentrism of contemporary Western health care. Special attention is given to the influence of race, class, gender, religious, and spiritual ideas about health and illness.

Comparing Health Care Systems in an Intercultural Context: Study Abroad

This course offers students an opportunity to: 1) expand their knowledge base in health care systems; 2) develop intercultural competency skills and 3) shape a conceptual framework for improving the quality of health care for the individual, the family, the community and society at large. Emphasizes the relational, contextual nature of health care and the inseparability of the notions of the health of individuals and the health of family, society, and culture. Includes field experience.


Maternal and Infant Care in the Americas

This clinical elective will provide an intensive historical, sociopolitical, and cultural perspective of health and health care delivery in the Americas with a special emphasis on Latin America and the Caribbean. Classroom, direct clinical care and field experiences are designed to provide students with a broad view of the history and culture system of the country of focus. The delivery of health care to women and children will be explored from a sociopolitical, cultural and historical context. Service learning experiences are an integral component of this course. The course includes 5 seminars on campus and 10-14 days on site in the country of focus. The country of focus may vary each semester.