PH Students, Faculty Going Global | College of Public Health | Kent State University

PH Students, Faculty Going Global

More than 30 graduate and undergraduate students will learn first-hand how public health is making a difference around the world, when they participate in global health immersion experiences this coming May and June.  In addition, new global health partnerships for future education and research are being pursued in Brazil and India.

During the fifth annual Global Health Immersion course, May 16-20 in Geneva, Switzerland, 20 public health and nursing students will explore the impact of government policy and private intervention on global healthcare needs.  The trip coincides with the 68th World Health Assembly (WHA), a nine-day event attended by representatives from all 194 member states, who meet annually in Geneva to determine World Health Organization (WHO) policies, budgets and leadership.  The Kent State contingent enjoys unique status at this meeting – Kent is among only a handful of universities in the world that sends credentialed students to the WHA.  Kent State holds this special status due to strong relationships with Geneva organizations cultivated by Assistant Dean for Operations and Community Relations Kenneth Slenkovich, who serves as faculty for the Geneva course, along with Professor and Department Chair, Health Policy & Management, Jonathan VanGeest, PhD, and Professor Carol Sedlak, PhD, and Tracey Motter, baccalaureate program director, from the College of Nursing.  Students and faculty will also visit the United Nations Office at Geneva, WHO headquarters and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
 
At about the same time, 14 students – the largest contingent yet, double each of the past two years – will immerse themselves in the history, culture and public health systems of Latin America during the third summer intersession course in Colombia and Ecuador, the latter a new destination.  The May 16-31 course will focus on current scientific research on diseases of local public health relevance, such as malaria, and will cover basic disease biology, mechanisms of transmission and efforts to develop vaccines.  Students will have the opportunity to visit major cities, such as Quito, Ecuador, and Cali, Colombia, as well as rural areas and well-known tourist destinations.  Executive Director of Global Health Programs Mark A. James, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology, is faculty for the course.
 
Additional students will gain field experience in meeting basic health and human needs May 10-23 in rural Alabama.  Enrollment remains open until March 15 for this course, which will focus on global access to clean water and sanitation and be held at the Servants in Faith & Technology (SIFAT) facility in Lineville.  This is the third year of Kent State involvement.  The course will provide participants practical hands-on skills in simple, affordable technologies for meeting developing-world household and community needs in agriculture, nutrition, food storage and preservation; clean water and sanitation; alternative household energy; and microenterprise and community development.  This course is offered in conjunction with the University of Alabama and is taught by numerous faculty with expertise and years of practical experience in resource-limited settings.  Madhav P. Bhatta, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology, represents Kent State.
 
Starting this summer, seven public health students looking for a longer European experience are enrolled in the May 28-June 28 Summer Institute in Florence, Italy.  They will study Comparative Health Systems, assessing the U.S. and European public health and healthcare systems, taught by Manoj Kurian, MD, part-time member of Kent State’s well-regarded Geneva Campus faculty.  In addition, students will take a second course from Kent State’s other Florence Campus offerings, such as International Business or Intercultural Communication.
 
Global health partnerships are being pursued with higher education institutions in Brazil and India and would join six other comparable partnerships in Argentina, China and Colombia.  These partnerships enable student/faculty exchange programs and provide educational and research opportunities in global health.  James and his MPH graduate assistant, Seyi Balogun, will travel to Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, Brazil, March 20-29, to recruit Brazilian students and develop plans to establish an international partnership with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the preeminent public health institution in Brazil.  In addition, partnership agreements with two Indian institutions are in process.  Vinay K. Cheruvu, PhD, assistant professor, Biostatistics, will make a recruiting trip to India near the end of May and will evaluate partnership progress.