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Thailand: Community Public Health (CIEE)


Todd Heidt

Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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According to the World Health Organization, Thailand has 'a long and successful history of health development,' yet it continues to struggle with public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. On the CIEE Community Public Health program in Thailand, you'll examine these issues and more on regional and national levels through classroom instruction, fieldwork, and research with the help of health agencies and visits to local communities. You'll also develop your Thai languages skills and immerse yourself in your new community.

Study abroad on this program in Khon Kaen and you'll:

  • Interact with villagers, academic researchers, government officers and practitioners working to improve public health in Thailand
  • Visit various public health facilities and participate in community research stays
  • Visit another Southeast Asian country to compare and contextualize your knowledge of public health systems in the wider region
  • Direct enroll in courses at Khon Kaen University's Faculty of Public Health
  • Engage in Thai culture through community stays, translated exchanges, Thai student roommates and peer tutors.

Your coursework will be a mixed-method curriculum combining classroom and lecture-based learning, peer facilitation, site visits and community engagement. You will use a number of local case studies to explore trends of health and disease, critical assessments of system reform, and control strategies for newly emerging health problems. You'll conduct field-based research as a part of a detailed community health project. You will learn the basics of Thai language, or advance your current level of proficiency, using local communities as the medium of practice. You will gain an understanding of Thailand's unique and innovative aspects of public health, including public health campaigns, village health volunteers and health-promoting hospitals.

An integral part of your studies involves visits to health care institutions, hospitals and specialized care centers in Thailand. You'll journey to Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple that practices Thai traditional medicine, and conduct exchanges with people living with HIV/AIDS.  During your practicum, you'll explore rural, semirural and urban communities to learn the different health situations of diverse communities. You'll have plenty of opportunities to conduct research in the field. You'll visit three or four communities over the course of the semester, conduct participatory research, develop appropriate diagnostic tools, create an intervention and evaluative plan, develop a rapport with community members and local health personnel, and present your academic findings at a public forum at the CIEE Study Center.

Learn more about the CIEE Thailand: Community Public Health program.

Credits: 4.5 for the fall or spring semester or 9 Knox credits for the year

Advisor: Professor Nancy Eberhardt

Click here for more information about the application process, program selection, and more!

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Printed on Monday, May 23, 2022