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About the Dominican Republic Summer Program

The Global Health Program in the Dominican Republic offers students a unique socio-cultural lens to study historical and contemporary aspects of health systems and public health in collaboration with Cornell's Committee on US and Latin American Relations (CUSLAR) and a Dominican non-profit, natural healing center, ANDA: Asesoría Nutricional para el Desarrollo Armónico. The four themes of the GH Program in the DR parallel the Global Health Program's objectives to offer students a first-hand, interactive and enriching field-experience to not only practice their classroom knowledge but also explore and personally define what is global health in a diverse, real-world context. The Global Health Program in the DR is built upon the following foundations to mold participating students' summer experience into a life-changing global health experience:

  1. La Formación. Personal "Formation"—Students are integrated into a "holistic healing" model where one's body, soul and mind are all connected to personal—and community—well-being and development. Students participate in numerous active-reflection exercises (both in Spanish and English) which integrate aspects of holistic healing, Dominican culture and service learning while being exposed to new theories of alternative and natural medicine, community nutrition and development, gender studies and human rights in both contemporary and historical contexts. 
  2. El Teorético. Theory—Socio-cultural, political and economic theories are central to students' experiential learning in the DR as the program offers opportunities to explore: Why health in the DR is what it is? Why social disadvantage has led to health inequities in the DR? and most importantly, what role do dominicanos play—if any—in determining their health? In addition, the GH program in the DR fosters a particular focus upon three components of global health: community nutrition, traditional and natural healing and gender studies and human rights. 
  3. Metodológia. Methodology—While in the DR, students participate in a course (taught completely in Spanish) hosted by the UASD, la Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo. In this 30 hour course students learn the fundamentals of qualitative research and ethnographic practices, discuss the theoretical backbones to scientific and ethnographic research and become equipped with the tools and skills needed to complete their in-country research project. 
  4. La Practica. Practice—Students live with local homestay families and are fully immersed in Dominican everyday life in the barrio, learning about food, music, and language. Students may also choose two service placements to gain hands-on experience and perspectives of the Dominican health system and Dominican public health—in both local and international contexts. Students are engaged in their placements and community for the duration of their stay in the DR and while they observe, practice skills or interact with Dominican partners, a constant personal reflection of re-defining "service" is central to students' placements and homestay experiences.

Although language fluency is not essential for most experiential learning opportunities offered by the Global Health Program, it is highly encouraged that applicants to the program in the Dominican Republic have some/comfortable fluency with Spanish and/or are able to refresh their language skills prior to departure.