Nurtured by a politically stable environment and culture of peace, Costa Rica is a long standing example of social mobility through education efforts. Their social security system has demonstrated that health standards of developing countries can be achieved for a majority of the population using an ideology of cooperation and solidarity.

The Office of Global Health has partnered with The Interamerican Center for Global Health (CISG), an organization based in Costa Rica that prepares leaders with the competencies required to give ethical, sustainable and just solutions to both global and local health issues of present and future; to give students an opportunity to explore health systems and health care delivery in Costa Rica, with a particular emphasis on health of indigenous and/or migrant populations.

The increase and prevalence of chronic disease and behavioral health disorders are not unique to the United States; populations in Costa Rica face similar challenges. Comparable rates of obesity, high blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, and tobacco use plague both the US and Costa Rica (Boddiger, 2012).

Students enrolled in an MPH degree program and who are interested in community engagement, health education and health promotion, epidemiology, or bio-statistics, as well as fluent in Spanish, or have some Spanish speaking skills would find this international experience beneficial.

CISG has many in country connections and can aid students in the planning of their preceptorship projects. Primary locations for service learning experiences are located in the Osa Peninsula and the mountains of San Vito, Costa Rica.

During the student’s stay, they will live with host families or in lodging provided by one of the community partners.

Their impact

By bringing global health education to the global south they are also bringing solutions closer to the pressing challenges. How? Resources generated from programs are redirected to support ongoing and future research that addresses the needs of the communities they work with. Comprehensive and collaborative solutions are being pursued through their Collective Impact project which strives for high impact collaborations between the private, governmental, NGO and philanthropic sectors. Furthermore, their sponsorship program allows students from the global south to take part in their global health leadership programs, ensuring that the human resources needed for the future come from their developing nations. These social agents for change will act as catalysts and in a synergistic manner with local development actors for the sustainable and just solutions needed.

Their multidisciplinary team

Their multidisciplinary team gathers professionals and experts of relevant fields to global health, including: global and international health, public health, epidemiology and health metrics, human rights and health, health economics, pedagogy (formal and informal), medical anthropology, environmental health, food and nutritional safety, migrant health, tropical diseases, sustainable development and gender studies. All professionals provide a unique perspective to the problems they face while sharing the integrative approach to health development