BETH 315C/415C: Health and Health Care: A Comparative Perspective: Costa Rica and the United States. Course and Community Service in Costa Rica: December 27, 2014-January 4, 2015: Bahia Ballena; January 4-10, 2015: San Jose. Approved for Global and Cultural Diversity Credit, College of Arts and Sciences; Approved for Humanities Credit, School of Engineering
Instructor: Nicole Deming, J.D., M.A.
This 3-credit course gives students the unique opportunity to observe patients and practitioners encounter in a radically different health care system. Costa Rica has one of the most comprehensive and successful health care systems in the Western hemisphere, featuring the innovative use of mid-level health care workers organized in basic comprehensive health care teams. This has resulted in a longer life expectancy than the United States, despite a per capita GDP of only $10,000 per person.
Students will gain firsthand experience of Costa Rican health care through field experiences at a national hospital in the capital city, San Jose; a peripheral treatment clinic in a smaller town; and observation of the work of an integrated basic health care team in a native reserve. Following each visit, students will discuss the practical and ethical dilemmas that practitioners face in the context of the Costa Rican health care system. Specific topics include: health inequalities within and between nations; the ethics of transplantation, medical research, and end-of-life care; and health care in rural environments and with indigenous populations.
This course is open to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate students from any discipline. Prior to the trip, students attend six hours of lectures at Case Western Reserve University. Following the trip, students meet with instructors for an additional two hours, and will be expected to complete an original research essay.
The course will be integrated with community service experiences.