Post Conflict Colombia and Public Health WinterSession Course

Pairing graduate students from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with students from the University of Antioquia School of Medicine, GHP 559: Health of Urban Displaced Populations in Post-Conflict Colombia will offer a shared teaching and learning experience to examine the social development model of Medellin, and in particular, the peace and social equity outcomes of its urban policies that have impacted the health of its peri-urban population (many of whom were internally displaced during the conflict or suffered human rights abuses) and, despite geographic and socioeconomic isolation, have been brought into civil society through this model.

Colombia is currently transitioning from a prolonged period of conflict. Integrating the displaced population through initiatives in education, economics, transportation, and urban design impacts the health delivery system and, ultimately, this population’s health.  The course will be in a seminar format that provides students with in-depth interviews and discussion sessions with high and mid-level policy makers and local implementing partners of the four components of the model, as well as those involved in peace and diplomacy efforts, and those whose disciplines (econometrics, urban design, social and behavioral sciences) engage population health.

Students will develop a widely-disseminated series of white papers serving to inform policy-makers from not only local and national US and Colombian governments, but those from multilateral institutions working on issues of post-conflict displaced population health. The course will contribute to the development of emerging student leaders in medicine and public health.

This WinterSession course is part of the Post-Conflict Colombia and Public Health -- a project of the Open Hands Initiative and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and in collaboration with the University of Antioquia School of Medicine. The three-week, people-to-people exchange will provide the 16 student ambassadors of public health with a cultural and education opportunity that will encourage dialogue and increase mutual understanding around public health issues, with a focus on displaced and vulnerable populations. The project travels from Cambridge, MA to Medellin and culminates in Bogota, Colombia.