Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute

Tulane University

International Programs

Public Health in Cuba | GCHB 6860 | 3 credit graduate course
Havana | May – June 2017

The Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences within the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at Tulane University offers a graduate summer study abroad program in Cuba. This two-week course addresses how the Cuban government has prioritized the development of universal health care, with a special emphasis on the efforts to strengthen primary health care and to articulate it with more complex levels of care. The course contextualizes and analyzes the programs to prevent infant mortality and to prevent and control infectious diseases such as polio, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, and HIV, as well as the economic and political context in which these public health initiatives developed. The three-credit course takes place in collaboration with the National School of Public Health in Havana. Course activities take place in Havana and in rural areas.

Learning objectives:
a) Analyze the development of the Cuban health system within its economic and political context.
b) Analyze the efforts of the Cuban health system in reaching universal health coverage.
c) Identify the achievements of the Cuban health system in maternal and child health and in the elimination and control of infectious diseases.

Students stay in the National School of Public Health (ENSP) residence, which is located in Havana, with the possibility of staying in a rural area during the second week. The program includes ten days of lectures and visits to health facilities in Havana and in rural areas.

The cost of the 2017 program will depend on the number of students enrolled* and includes shared room and three meals a day at the ENSP, medical insurance, airfare to/from Havana from Tampa, OFAC-licensed academic visa, specialized tours and outings, and farewell dinner. Airfare to/from Tampa, one-night stay in hotel in Tampa, incidental costs, and extra meals and expenses are not included in the program cost.

Graduate students interested in applying must be in good academic standing and have at least a current cumulative grade point average of 2.5. Fluency in Spanish is an asset. Non-Tulane students are also welcome to apply to this program but should confirm with their home university that their credits will transfer.

Complete applications through the online application portal will include:
+ student’s general and academic information
+ official copy of transcript
+ copy of front page of passport
+ one letter of recommendation (for non-Tulane students only)
+ $300 non-refundable deposit (check made payable to Tulane University; OR online with credit card)

The application period for this program will open in Fall 2016 (October). Please check back for updates. Applications will be due in February 2017.

For questions, contact Boone Clemmons, Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, at 504-988-5391 or at

Faculty director:
Dr. Arachu Castro, Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Public Health in Latin America, Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Please note: Due to current regulations, the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control only approves student travel to Cuba if students are (1) registered in a degree-seeking program and (2) the credits earned in Cuba count towards that degree. (i.e. You must be a current university student who will not have graduated on or before May/June 2017 to apply to this program. That does not include high school students, staff, or faculty from outside institutions; no exceptions. This program only accepts graduate students at this time.)

*The range is approximately $2,750-$3,750. More information on the program price will be posted as applications come in.


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Upcoming Events

Vodú Chic: Cuba's Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State

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The Department of Anthropology and Tulane Anthropology Student Association present a lecture by Dr. Grete Viddal, Zemurray-Stone Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, “Vodú Chic: Cuba’s Haitian Heritage, the Folkloric Imaginary, and the State” at 4:00 pm on Friday October 21st.

Talk Abstract
Hundreds of thousands of Haitian agricultural laborers arrived in Cuba to cut cane as the Cuban sugar industry was expanding between the 1910s and the 1930s. Historically, Haitian laborers occupied the lowest strata in Cuban society. Until recently, the maintenance of Haitian traditions in Cuba was associated with rural isolation and poverty. Today however, Cuba’s Haitian communities are increasingly linked with cultural institutes, heritage festivals, music promoters, and the tourism industry. Music, dance, and rituals of Vodú are reimagined for the public stage. Viddal’s book in progress, Vodú Chic, explores how haitiano-cubanos utilize emerging “economies of folklore” in the socialist state —particularly heritage conservation projects and the tourist industry—to assert their voices and transform once-denigrated traditions into the exotic and desired.

A brief reception will follow the talk.