Nitte Public Health Winter School

Note: The India programs have been temporarily paused due to COVID-19.

Learn from and partner with schools, clinics, and communities in rural India to influence public health initiatives.

Program Details

January 6-17, 2020
Open to 10 students
Deadline to apply: October 25, 2019

Through this exchange program with the Division of Public Health at Nitte University in India, U of M School of Public Health students gain exposure to global public health topics by studying and working in rural coastal districts in the South Indian state of Karnataka. Students will work with Nitte faculty and students in applied research collaborations.

This course incorporates mixed method of “theory-based orientation” and “team-based field learning”. The course includes lectures, in-class activities, field visits to health facilities, field functionaries and rural communities and weekly reflections. Lectures, class assignments, presentations and report writing will be part of theory-based learning. Soft copies of the relevant reading materials will be shared with the students prior to the sessions. Visits to various tribal areas in coastal and mainland Karnataka will be organized as part of the field learning.


“Tribal Health and Rural India: Bridging the gap in development”

In today’s globalized and interconnected world, India’s population including those belonging to the scheduled tribes is undergoing demographic, socioeconomic, and health transformation. According to the 2011 census, the tribal population in India was 104 million, constituting 8.6% of the country’s population, up from 8.2% in the 2001 census. The tribes in India have diverse cultural and life practices belonging to some 705 different ethnic groups and are scattered across all the States and Union Territories of India.

India’s tribal people have far worse health indicators than the general population. Most tribal people live in remote rural hamlets in hilly, forested or desert areas where illiteracy, trying physical environments, malnutrition, inadequate access to potable water, lack of personal hygiene, ecologically variable niches and sanitation makes them more vulnerable to diseases. This presents a formidable challenge for the health care system to identify and address the gaps.

The theme of this year’s winter school focuses on learning the overall development of tribes and the effort of the healthcare system to bridge the prevailing inequalities and disparities. Since health systems actions are of major importance at various levels of control, exposure to the Indian Health Care System is also embedded in the programme. Students will be exposed to various national health programs, the health profile of the rural population, and the existing public and private health care system in rural areas in an Indian context. Each of these learnings will have background sessions followed by field exposure visits to learn about the functioning of the different tiers of the health system.

Program Objectives

By the end of this course students are expected to:

  1. Appreciate the functioning of Indian public and private health care system and various programmatic components in tribal and rural India.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the culture, livelihood, and traditional practices among different tribes
  3. Identify a range of policy strategies that contribute toward overall tribal development.

Read the program brochure (PDF)

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