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GHP 542: Field Course in Brazil January 6 – 22, 2009. Mary Elizabeth Wilson, MD. Objectives. The course will focus on several infectious diseases (e.g., schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, dengue, HIV/AIDS) that are present in Brazil

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GHP 542: Field Course in BrazilJanuary 6 – 22, 2009

Mary Elizabeth Wilson, MD

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  • The course will focus on several infectious diseases (e.g., schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, leptospirosis, dengue, HIV/AIDS) that are present in Brazil

  • The emphasis will be on the relationship between health, disease and the socio-economic and community factors in the context of Brazil

  • The course will help students who have or who develop an interest in follow-up research to establish friendships and relationships with local participants

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Course Format

  • Collaborative course

    • 15 Harvard students, 15 Brazilian students

    • Harvard and Brazilian faculty and researchers

  • Group projects

    • 5 different groups

      • Mix of Harvard/Brazilian students, backgrounds

      • 3 urban infectious diseases, 2 rural infectious diseases

    • Each group will give a presentation at the end of the course

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Participating Institutions

  • Harvard School of Public Health

    • Professors Marcia Castro, John David, Sofia Gruskin, Mary E. Wilson (lead)

  • Fiocruz-Bahia

    • Federal research institution under the Ministry of Health

  • Federal University of Bahia – UFBA

  • Santa Casa Medical School (São Paulo)

  • DRCLAS Brazil Office, Harvard University (São Paulo)

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Week 1 – Salvador and Jiquiriçá

  • Students will start the course with several lectures in Salvador

  • Students will also visit health care facilities specialized in infectious diseases, the state reference infectious disease hospital, and a poor urban community

  • Students will travel to the interior of Bahia for additional lectures and site visits in a rural community

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Week 1 – Salvador and Jiquiriçá

  • Salvador, Bahia

  • Fiocruz

  • Urban sites

  • Jiquiriçá & Itaquara, Bahia

  • Rural sites

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Jiquiriçá Area

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Week 2: Group Projects

  • Students will be assigned to one of five different groups

    • Students with a strong preference for a certain location or disease should contact Professor Mary Wilson

  • Some students will work in an endemic area of schistosomiasis or leishmaniasis in the Jiquiriçá area

  • Some students will work on HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, and leptospirosis in Salvador

  • Students will examine some of the unanswered questions associated with the persistence of these infectious diseases in Brazil and propose potential research projects

    • Focus will be on the economic, social, cultural, demographic , and environmental characteristics associated with the diseases

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Travel logistics (1)

  • Language

    • Lectures will be in English

    • The ability to speak Portuguese, while desirable, is not necessary. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful.

    • Some translation help will be available

    • HSPH students will be paired with English speaking participants from Brazil

  • Passport and Visa

    • Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to travel to Brazil. Visas are required for U.S. citizens. Instructions for obtaining a visa will be provided by course instructors

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Travel logistics (2)

  • Flights

    • Most U.S. airlines fly to Brazil (Continental, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta).

    • Buy tickets as soon as possible as January is the peak of the summer season in Brazil

  • Additional information regarding immunizations, recommended clothing, sun/ insect protection, cell phone/internet access, etc. will be provided to course participants prior to departure

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Academic expectations

(1.25 credits – Pass/Fail)

  • You will develop a project during the field trip related to the challenges controlling one of five infectious diseases in Brazil

  • You and your colleagues will be asked to prepare a presentation about the  experience at your site and present conclusions to the local site and to the entire class at the end of the course.

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Course Website

Detailed information on the course, including detailed biographies of HSPH and Brazilian Faculty, can be found on the course website.

Visit the 2008 Course website for detailed student feedback from last year’s course.

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Contact Information

  • Professor Mary Wilson (HSPH faculty lead)

    • E-mail:

  • Jason Dyett (Program Director, DRCLAS Brazil Office)

    • E-mail:

  • Lorena Barberia (Program Associate, DRCLAS Brazil Office)


  • Amie Shei (2008 participant; 2009 Research Assistant)

    • E-mail: