Study Abroad in Uganda This Summer

Dear public health students,

A brand new study abroad opportunity in Uganda has just been announced at the UW, open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

In-country dates: August 14 to September 8, 2017
Application deadline: March 1 (decision within the week)

Students will engage in a month-long exploration of what makes people healthy and, conversely, what undermines health in Uganda. The U.W.-based faculty, Amy Hagopian, Scott Barnhart and Bert Stover have worked in Uganda for about 10 years. We have strong relationship with Professor Sam Luboga, our on-site program director, who has taught in the medical school at Makerere University in Kampala for many years. (The three have conducted research together, written publications together, and worked on multiple projects.)

This program, focused on the root causes of health and illness, is offered for the first time this year, is one of the few offerings in Africa, and is closely aligned with the goals of the new University of Washington Population Health Initiative led by President Cauce.

Because Uganda was colonized by the British, the primary language in universities and business is English, although local people also speak Luganda.

Students will each select one of Uganda’s key health problems (maternal and infant mortality, children’s diarrhea, HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, road traffic injuries, respiratory tract infections and cancer) and trace back the causes of these health problems to immediate and underlying causes. Each student will choose one of the problems, and prior to leaving for Uganda will conduct enough research (using UW library resources) to describe in a 5-page paper how the disease operates biologically and what the immediate causes are. Once on site in Uganda, students will learn more about the manifestations, care and treatment of these problems in the health system, through both lecture and clinical observation.

Upon arrival in Kampala, students will be paired with Makerere University students who will help them trace back the underlying causes of the health problem they chose. In collaboration with their Makerere partners, UW students will visit public places, markets, family homes, and other places where people live and work and play and go to school. The purpose of these visits is to learn how historical, social, economic, political, geographic and environmental factors in Uganda have contributed to the selected health problems. After lectures and daily field trips, students will compare notes in a daily meeting to discuss the common and disparate etiologies of problems. Students will be expected to keep daily journals, read local newspapers, eat in local restaurants or at the guest house, and otherwise immerse themselves in life in the nation’s capital city.

Lecturers, delivered by both UW and Makerere faculty as well as local health officials and community activists, will address the topics of determinants of health and illness, health and human rights, pathophysiology of high burden illnesses, role of education in health, income and food security in health. We will also address the control of epidemics, including how Uganda controlled Ebola in 2012.

After two weeks in the capital city and surrounding communities (Entebbe, Jinja), we will visit the communities of Mbarara, Rwenzori/Fort Portal, Gulu, and Mbale. In each location we will visit health facilities, talk with local health officials and care givers, and engage with people working or going to school there. Upon arrival back in Kampala, students will be expected to write a paper (or generate some other academic or creative product) describing the underlying contributing causes of their assigned health problem. We will assemble the Makerere student partners and those who provided lectures for a final team meeting and student presentations at the end of our month there. Overall course learning objectives are listed in the “Learning Goals” section below.

Course is limited to 20 students.