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Harvard School of Public Health

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Winter 2008

Field Trip: Health Reform and Community Medicine in Chile|Winter Session
Dr. T. Bossert
1.25 credits
Jan. 2 - Jan. 19, 2008


This Winter Term course will allow students to see first hand two major current public health issues in a remarkable and exciting period of innovation in Chile: the process of reforming health systems and innovations in community medicine approaches, including the assessment of social capital initiatives.

The three week 1.25 credit course involves:

· introductory lectures by HSPH faculty to orient students to the key issues of health reform and community medicine in Chile
· lectures by key participants in the health reform process - past and present
· interviews with current stakeholders and observers of the health reform process
· lectures and field visits to community medicine pilot clinics
· individual short research projects on health reform, community medicine and/or social capital

One advantage of Chile is a significant Harvard presence to support the course. The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies had an office in Santiago and has sponsored an intensive course for medical students this year. Three recent graduates from HSPH will be able to assist in the program - Dr. Miguel Navarro is on the President's staff and is intimately involved in current health reform efforts; Dr. Jaime Sapag is on the faculty at the Catholic University in the Department of Community Medicine working on the community medicine pilots and social capital study; and Dr. Marco Nunez, a former regional governor (Intendente) in Valparaiso and current Director of the decentralized Northern Metropolitan Santiago regional health office. In addition, the faculty director of the course, Thomas Bossert, Lecturer in Population and International Health and Director of the Politics and Governance Group, has had years of experience in Chile and direct involvement in some of the health reform programs.

The course will be for 1.25 credits and will require a paper on individual research into one of the topics of the course. The course dates are January 2 to 19 - a beautiful summer time period in Santiago. Housing arrangements can be made at a reasonable price in university housing. Collective flight arrangements may also be possible. Spanish will be helpful but not essential.
Course Note: Enrollment is limited to 15 students; pass/fail grading option only. An orientation session will be held to discuss the course options with interested students. Applications must be completed by October 5 and participants will be notified by October 15. (9.06)




Course evaluations are an important method for feedback on the quality of course offerings. The submission of a course evaluation is a requirement for this course. Your grade for the course will be made available only after you have submitted responses to at least the first three questions of the on-line evaluation for this course.

Winter 2007

Winter Session
Dr. T. Bossert
1.25 credits
Jan. 2 - Jan. 19, 2007


This Winter Term course will allow students to see first hand two major current public health issues in a remarkable and exciting period of innovation in Chile: the process of reforming health systems and innovations in community medicine approaches, including the assessment of social capital initiatives.

Chile was one of the first countries on the continent to significantly reform its health system in the 1980s, introducing new programs of public and private social insurance schemes, promoting the growth of private sector providers and decentralizing their public health services. It has been a model for health reform in many other countries. Since the restoration of democracy in the 1990s, many in the health sector have been proposing new reforms to correct many of the problems that emerged in impleme

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