Official Blog of the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

UW Field School for the Study of Language, Culture and Community Health in Ecuador

Since the school’s inception eight years ago, the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies program has co-sponsored the UW Summer Field School for the Study of Language, Culture and Community Health in Ecuador. This unique study abroad experience provides field and classroom study of languages, culture, and community-based health care in the Andean and Amazonian regions of Ecuador for an interdisciplinary group of UW health science students. In this six-week immersion opportunity, students are able to study language and cross-cultural issues relating to healthcare in a non-Western setting. Students learn valuable Spanish language skills, examine the complex cultural, ecological, socioeconomic, political, and biomedical factors influencing health in the Andean and Amazonian regions of Ecuador, and learn about global public health issues through experiential field activities with faculty participants and locals. The Field School course is offered for three credits through the UW Department of Population Health Sciences.

Group in Pijal

In his annual program report, Resident Director Francis Hutchins, of Bellarmine University, wrote:

The 2013 Ecuador Field School ran from May 25-June 29. Eleven students participated. The group included medical, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and nursing/MPH students. There was also a speech pathology major. Faculty members included Dr. Frank Hutchins (anthropology & RD), Dr. David Keifer (medicine), and Dr. Samantha Morello (veterinary medicine). Elizabeth Gaus helped with logistics….From my perspective, the program continues to provide health sciences students with a significant cross-cultural experience. This comes primarily from language study, living and working in marginalized communities, and general exposure to the political, economic and social issues in a country such as Ecuador.

Water Testing Tasaste
Testing Water Quality on the Tasaste River

To learn more about this program and to hear testimonials and interviews with past participants and the program founders, watch the following two-part YouTube video. Also, consider taking the time to peruse our growing online collection of past Lunchtime Lectures and other events available on our LACIS Youtube Channel.

Follow this link for more photos of past program participants:

Follow this link for a brief synopsis of a study co-conducted by LACIS Affiliated Faculty member Lori DiPrete Brown of the Global Health Institute to gauge the program’s impact:

Group with Mural

LACIS is proud to continue our support of this interdisciplinary endeavor to provide future health science professionals with critical language and area study skills.

Visit the International Academic Programs Website for more details about the program and how to apply for next summer.