Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative™
Provide medical, educational and development support to rural Dominican communities—all crucial pieces of the public health puzzle.
- Gain field experience that will introduce you to public health and medicine
- Volunteer in communities with high health insecurity
- Help medical and public health professionals address poverty and health access issues
- Discuss the intersection of global health with political, economic and environmental systems
- Hike in the scenic Jaragua National Park
- See a variety of Caribbean wildlife at Lago Enriquillo
An individual’s health starts with the complex sum of many communal factors: government policies, infrastructure, national income, the environment, social perceptions of how health is defined. All these elements and more create a spectrum in which healthcare is dramatically affected. In this program, you’ll learn about seven of these critical elements and gain field experience in delivering health and medical support to Barahona, a region of the Dominican Republic where thousands of people live in poverty. A primer for studying medicine or public health, this university-level program is designed to give a progressive experience—you’ll challenge your preconceptions of health with new experiences, and receive guidance from attending medical and public health professionals.
Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!
Health and poverty are strongly linked. The Dominican Republic’s poorest residents live in bateyes—marginalized settlements—in tin and cardboard shacks without potable water. Unlike medical programs for high school students back home, you’ll help construct safer homes with cement floors and insulated walls, a critical way to sustainably improve respiratory and overall health. You’ll split your remaining time volunteering at various health intervention programs: Shadow medical professionals as they provide pro-bono consultations to patients in at-risk communities, and help run a community diagnostic. Ensure that mobile medical clinics operate smoothly by supporting setup and filing. Finally, knowledge is power, especially with staying healthy—so you’ll also help educate youth and families on developing healthy habits.
This program is built around a structured curriculum designed and delivered by GLA’s local program partner, the 7 Elements Foundation. You’ll learn through your community service experiences in the field, and complementary lecture, discussion and reflection at Home Base, that health doesn’t fall solely under the responsibility of doctors and nurses. Gain deep insight on how political, economic and environmental systems also intersect to create the vast global health spectrum. Through shadowing medical and public health professionals, observe the techniques used to provide health services on the ground in developing communities, and learn how community engagement is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty and poor public health for good.
Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!
The coastal areas west of Santo Domingo grow more beautiful the further out you go, and you’ll get to see it all while based in the southwestern province of Barahona. Sunbathe on the remote Bahía de las Águilas, a protected stretch of pristine beach, and enjoy beautiful desert views inland as you hike in Jaragua National Park’s dry forest. Known for its variety of landscapes, the southwest Dominican Republic even affords opportunity for adventure In the mountains: Visit Lago Enriquillo for wildlife sightings, and rural Cachote to experience the cloud forest and mountain villages.
Home Base is on the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic, on the Biosphere Reserve of Jaragua. Students will have three to four roommates per room, and access to bathrooms with Western style toilets and cold-water showers. Meals will consist of meats, beans, rice, vegetables and fruit. This Home Base is exclusively used by our students and staff.
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Dates & Tuition
Dominican Republic: Global Health Initiative 14-Day Program
- All educational materials
- 3 meals per day
- All in-country transportation
- Airport pick-up/drop-off
- Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
- 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
- Secondary medical and travel insurance
- All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
- Pre-departure materials and support
When people think of Global Health, they think of shots and vaccines and medical care, but global health extends so far beyond those boundaries. Global health asks the question, why. Why is that mother sick? Why is that child missing out on an education? I am passionate about global health because it is health and well being of individuals from a holistic view. Global health is not focused on science, but instead it focuses on people, and that humanitarian focus drives my everyday life.