August 19, 2020

Reimagining study abroad as a curricular tool for decolonizing global health


There is a growing consensus that decolonizing global health is an essential process for promoting social justice, achieving health equity, and addressing structural violence as a determinant of health. Curricular design for applied practice experiences in global settings can either extend colonialist practice or become an innovative tool for bringing about changes promoted by the movement to decolonize global health. Based on a scoping literature review, select articles were examined for relevance to curricular innovations and designs involving applied practice experiences in global settings. Several important themes were identified involving reflection, action, and planning that can be used to inform the curricular design and implementation of global applied practice experiences. To contribute to the decolonization of global health, applied practical experiences should be designed to be of primary benefit to local communities and populations; be planned and co-designed with local partners; involve monetary payment to local partners for services rendered; provide for extensive collaboration and interaction with local practitioners and students, and lead to shared credit with local partners for all outcomes achieved. Best practices for short-term study abroad programs, graduate-level applied practice experiences, and the aims of decolonizing global health can and should be carefully aligned.

*Participants will learn to: design global applied practice experiences that contribute to the aims of decolonizing global health; describe the aims of decolonizing global health and assess curricular components of applied practice experiences in global settings for potential contributions to the aims of decolonizing global health.

Lisa GabbertSteven R. Hawks, EdD, MBA, MCHES

Professor of Health Education and Promotion

Steve Hawks is a Professor of Health Education and Promotion in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science at Utah State University where he teaches courses in global maternal and child health and foundations of global health, and regularly leads study abroad programs. Global health, global engagement, and study abroad pedagogy are topics of special interest. He currently serves as a Direct Member of the Education Committee for the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

Jenna Hawks

Lisa Gabbert

Research Assistant, Kinesiology and Health Science

Jenna Hawks is a student enrolled in the USU Health Education and Promotion MPH program. She is working for USU Extension as a Research Assistant and previously as a Heath and Wellness Coordinator. Jenna is excited to be apart of study abroad and the experiences that come with that opportunity.