Public Health

Project Learn Belize: School of Education & other Schools of USF

The central unifying feature of the various opportunities of Project Learn Belize is its “educational” nature, in the least restrictive sense. Education must address both hearts and minds; it must attend to all dimensions – social, cultural, health, economic, spiritual – that allow true learning to occur.  With this broader, inclusive definition of education, opportunities for participation outside the School of Education begin to appear.

As one example, Dangriga shares in the challenges of other developing cities and nations in issues of health education and wellness. Clinical training opportunities outside the United States have already been initiated for students of the USF School of Nursing (most notably, the Global Issues in Community Health course and the Guatemala Health Care Project).  Both the town of Dangriga and its school system provide a potential site for similar programs that the School of Nursing might sponsor. Opened in October 1999, the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga is one of four regional hospitals in Belize. Along with approximately fifteen doctors, the hospital provides health care for approximately 32,000 residents of Stann Creek District.  According to the Chief of Medicine, very few residents of the area seek medical attention, let alone preventive care, even in instances of advanced sickness.  Dr. Judith Karshmer, Dean of the USF School of Nursing, traveled to Dangriga, while the USF student group was there in January, 2008. At that time, Dr. Karshmer met with the Administration and Staff at Southern Regional to explore partnerships between USF and the local medical community. She also identified local school sites which present opportunities for USF School of Nursing students and faculty to assist in health education and wellness assessments for both children and families.