International Capstone: Health and Migration in Oaxaca, Mexico
Deadline extended to 3/29/2013
Travel Dates: September 2 – 18, 2013
Faculty: Betsy Kraft & Jack Corbett
This will be the seventh year of the summer Health and Migration capstone, in Oaxaca, Mexico. This international capstone will spend two weeks in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico. In this course we will learn about important health issues, health care, and how migration impacts health on both sides of the border. There will also be on-campus class sessions in July and August prior to traveling to Oaxaca in September. We place particular emphasis on food and nutrition, as this population is rapidly experiencing a “nutrition transition” to a diet high in processed fats, sugars and carbohydrates, and is experiencing rapidly growing rates of chronic diseases. We work closely with a community partner, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, an NGO that promotes improved child nutrition. While in Oaxaca, we will also visit rural communities, speak with doctors and others with experience in rural health, visit the food bank and local markets to learn about food security and the local diet, and meet with others working in migrant services. Housing accommodations are home stays in which students live with local families in Oaxaca City. This arrangement helps students improve Spanish language skills that will be emphasized by participation in daily language classes. Because Oregon has a significant population of migrant workers from Oaxaca, this capstone is designed to engage students in community-based learning in Oaxaca in order to better understand and begin to address a significant public health issue that impacts people in Mexico and Oregon.
As a capstone course, students work closely with our community partner, Puente a la Salud Comunitaria, and prepare a group project designed to support the work of our partner. Following several discrete projects varying in focus from year to year, Puente has requested that Portland State take the lead in field projects designed to gather data permitting evaluation of community-based action projects designed to improve nutrition access. These projects include tracking patterns of consumption of community-produced fruits and vegetables vs. market-based purchases, formation of household gardens, and participation in government food support programs for young mothers and children. Students will work in teams with community members to produce action documents used in writing proposals for program funding, and will help them make the case that improvements in child nutrition will have benefits for the whole population over the life course. Puente has proposed a multi-year agreement whereby the capstone will provide research and communications support for community-based projects in three regions of the state as a complement to health impact research undertaken by students from Stanford University. The long-term objective of Puente’s efforts is to improve community nutrition while developing locally-based streams of income reducing the need to emigrate.
To learn more about this program, attend the upcoming informational session in East Hall room 109:
- Wednesday, March 6th from 2:30 – 3:30 PM in East Hall, room 109
- UNST 421: Health and Migration in Oaxaca, Mexico – 6 credits
- Pre-departure course meetings: Currently supervising faculty are planning on several pre-departure course meetings to be held on June 7th, 2013 here in Portland, and an excursion to Woodburn during the first weekend of August to participate in the Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana.
|Credit Option||Tuition & Program Fees||Additional Estimated Costs||Total Estimated Costs|
|Total 6 credits||est. $2,435 – $2,960||est $1,220||est. $3,650 – $4,180|
Betsy Kraft: Betsy Kraft holds a B.A. in History from Willamette University and a M.A.-TESOL from Portland State University. From 2002-2007, she taught Conversation Partner Capstones at PSU every quarter, as well as English as a Second Language and Bilingual Pathways courses through Clackamas Community College. From 2007-2010, she taught English as a Foreign Language at Universidad de Oriente, a new, public university serving traditionally underserved students in eastern Yucatán, Mexico. Between 2010-2012, she worked and lived in a rural town in Yucatán, where she developed an English program specifically for the community to help meet their need to interface with increasing numbers of tourists visiting Maya museums and sites. Betsy is currently semi-retired, enjoying winters in Yucatán where she studies native plant medicine, Maya language and culture, and actively promotes organic gardening and the use of native and locally produced foods.
Jack Corbett: Click here to learn more about Professor Jack Corbett and visit his PSU profile.
Relevant Academic Disciplines
Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Child and Family Studies, Community Development, Community Health, Economics, Food Sciences/Nutrition, Foreign Languages, Geography, Globalization, Health Studies, Humanities, International Studies, Liberal Arts, Most Majors, Social Science, Social Work
- Open to students from all majors
- Minimum GPA 2.75
- Senior standing recommended, Juniors can be considered.
- Some Spanish proficiency preferred but not required. .
Language Skill: Previous Spanish study recommended, but not required