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Health in Belize

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Health in Belize Maymester

The Health in Belize Program is intended for UGA students who plan to pursue careers in healthcare and who are working actively toward this goal. In this program, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about the Belizean health system - and how it differs from ours - through guest lectures, tours of public and private healthcare facilities, shadowing opportunities with clinicians and conversations with volunteer community healthcare workers from rural areas. In addition to these experiences, program participants will enroll in two UGA courses for 6 credit hours:

BIOL 4910 - Topics in Biology
BIOL 4940 - Internship in Biology

This program meets UGA's experiential learning requirement.

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Due to the ongoing pandemic, some aspects of this program may be modified to ensure the health and safety of the participants while in Belize. This may impact shadowing opportunities while in-country.

This program aims to help students gain perspective on international healthcare while increasing their cultural competency.  Learning to communicate and work with patients from different backgrounds is invaluable to students who wish to pursue a healthcare profession. The program also offers a unique opportunity to broaden a student’s undergraduate experience through meaningful professional and personal interactions. Further, the clinical exposure will be helpful not only in applying to graduate health professional programs but will also enable our students to become more well-rounded applicants and, in turn, more conscientious healthcare providers.  This program hopes to develop mature individuals who leave Belize with significant experience in the world beyond the classroom as it is an ideal vehicle for developing some of the skills and attitudes that are valued in the practice of medicine— flexibility, self-reliance, and sensitivity to other cultures. Lastly, this program offers our students an ethical healthcare-centered shadowing option that meets AAMC ethics guidelines. 

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General Information

Program Dates: May 16-June 5, 2022
Estimated Program Fee: 3,955 (includes lodging, breakfast, several lunches and dinners, program-related transportation, and entrance fees for program-related academic and cultural activities). It does not include plane fare, UGA tuition or UGA fees. Click here for more details.
Application Opens: Currently Open
Application Deadline: November 5, 2021
Program Contacts: Ms. Amanda Spohn (aspohn@uga.edu) and Dr. Hilda Mata (hmmata@uga.edu)

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Applicant Eligibility

  • Open to all students at the University of Georgia.
  • Required
    • BIOL 1108/L must be completed by the end of Fall 2021 to be eligible for the 2022 Maymester.  BIOL 1108/L is a prereq for the courses taught in the program.
    • Have university credit for at least two science courses (in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics/astronomy) prior to application.
    • 3.0 or higher GPA.
    • Satisfactory academic and disciplinary records.
  • Preferred
    • students enrolled with a pre-health intention.
    • successfully completed at least two sciences courses (in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics/astronomy) for a grade (A-F) at UGA.
    • successfully completed at least 30 credit hours at UGA prior to application. 

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Admission Process

  • Begin an application on the studyaway.uga.edu portal. Complete all pre-decision materials by the deadline (11/05/21) to be considered.
  • Qualified applicants will be invited (via UGA email) for a brief interview with the program faculty. Please note that an interview does not guarantee admittance into the program due to the limited number of spaces. Interviews, however, are a mandatory part of the selection process.
  • Once all interviews are completed, applicants will be notified via their studyaway.uga.edu application portal whether they have been admitted or waitlisted.
  • Admitted students will have one week from the date of acceptance to commit (or withdraw/decline) and pay a non-refundable $300 deposit. Waitlisted students will be admitted as spaces become available.

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Faculty

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Amy Baldwin, Ph.D
AU/UGA Medical Partnership
Associate Professor of Microbiology
University of Georgia  
School of Social Work
Adjunct Associate Professor

 

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Amanda Spohn, M.Ed.
Interim Coordinator
Pre-Dental, Veterinary & Optometry Advisor
Pre-Professional Advising Office
Office of the Vice-President for Instruction
University of Georgia

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Belize, Central America

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Belize is a relatively small developing nation located on the northeastern coast of Central America. It shares borders with Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. With a population nearing half a million, it is home to various languages and ethnic groups that include: Mestizo (of Spanish and indigenous descent), Creole (of European and African descent), Maya, Garifuna (of African and Caribbean indigenous descent), and smaller groups of European and Asian heritage. A former colony of the British Empire, Belize gained full independence in September 1981. While other languages are actively spoken in the country, English has remained the official language.

The Belizean two-tiered healthcare system comprises public hospitals and clinics that serve the population at little or no direct cost and private hospitals and clinics that require payment but are generally better equipped.  As part of the public health system, Belize has a network of trained volunteer community healthcare workers who assist with basic care in rural areas. 

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Itinerary

May 16 – Arrival in Belize, transfer to San Ignacio, housing orientation, and welcome dinner.

May 17 – On-site orientation, city tour, class time, and guest lecture 1: An Overview of Belizean History and Culture

May 18 – Visit to shadowing facility, class time, and guest lecture 2: Overview of the Belizean Health Care System

May 19 – Shadowing rotation 1, class, guest lecture 3: Cultural Competency in Healthcare

May 20 – Meeting with community healthcare workers, cultural meeting with Maya women's group, visit farmers' market, and class time.

May 21 – Zipline and cave canoeing activities

May 22 – Visit Xunantunich Maya Archeological Reserve, and class time

May 23 – Class time and free afternoon

May 24 – Shadowing rotation 2, class time, and guest lecture 4: Overview of Public Health in Belize

May 25 – Shadowing rotation 3 and class time

May 26 – Shadowing rotation 4, class time, and guest lecture 5: Prenatal and Postnatal care

May 27 – Community Health Worker Observation and class time

May 28 – Cahal Pech Maya Archeological Reserve and tour of medicinal trails

May 29 – Free day

May 30 – Shadowing rotation 5 and class time

May 31 – Shadowing rotation 6 and class time

June 1 – Shadowing rotation 7 and class time

June 2 – Travel to coastal Belize, class time, and free time

June 3 – morning class and free afternoon

June 4 – cultural activity with local community and final program debriefing

June 5 – Travel day, return home

 

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