"Conducting a medical brigade during a pandemic was such an interesting experience, but also very rewarding. It was inspiring to observe my students’ compassion, kindness, and bravery on this trip. They are the next generation of health educators and health advocates and I know they will make the world a better place for future generations." Kasondra McCracken, MCHES®
"Our students were able to overcome language barriers to develop personal connections with kids, adults, and elders. It was a great experience for them, and I know it has helped them orient themselves in the field and build their resumes." ~Jordan Miller, MCHES®
Kasondra McCracken, MS, MCHES®, and Jordan Miller, DrPH(c), MCHES®, are faculty members of the Arizona State University (ASU) Health Education and Health Promotion (HEHP) program in the College of Health Solutions. This spring, they jointly led a Health Advocacy course to the Dominican Republic, as part of ASU’s Global Intensive Experiences program to provide students hands-on health education and advocacy experience abroad. While in the Dominican Republic, the ASU students participated in health education and promotion medical brigades and worked to improve health outcomes for women and children on the island.
According to McCracken and Miller, there are areas of the Dominican Republic in which no formal healthcare system exists. A lack of trained physicians, medical facilities, and public health education makes it difficult for families who live in these rural regions to manage their health effectively. The students tackled language barriers to connect with kids, adults, and elders, and ethicallly deliver health education in these vulnerable communities.
Fourteen ASU students administered mobile health clinics and conducted a vitamin distribution. They explored the various issues that contributed to healthcare on the island, with a health advocacy lens. They met with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the Dominican Republic and experienced public health education in the developing world. Many of the students who participated in the advocacy trip plan to earn their CHES® certification.
“Conducting a medical brigade during a pandemic was such an interesting experience, but also very rewarding,” said McCracken. “It was inspiring to observe my students’ compassion, kindness, and bravery on this trip. They are the next generation of health educators and health advocates and I know they will make the world a better place for future generations.”
Quotes from ASU students:
"By studying abroad we see that there is so more of the world than our own little bubbles. The world is filled with beautiful people, views, and food!" - Annabelle
“I believe that studying abroad is important for health education specialists because it can give them a better understanding about how intervention programs work in countries with less resources, and how they can apply some of those features to our local [U.S.] programs. I feel this motivates me even more to target vulnerable populations within our borders that face similar issues." - Dayana
You can read more about ASU’s Global Experience Program by visiting mystudyabroad.asu.edu.