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Ellen Amster

New course sends students to Morocco to learn about health care

Ellen Amster was profoundly impacted by her fifteen years in Morocco...

Jan 26, 2016

It was while studying in the north African country that she was exposed to the complicated web of issues affecting health in the region: economics, technology, religion and historical customs, among others.

The experience led Amster, McMaster’s Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, to design a unique new program for undergraduate students.

The global health study abroad course, open to second, third and fourth year students, will see students travel to Morocco for four weeks this summer.

There, the students will learn about Islam, medical anthropology and undergo intensive language training in colloquial Arabic.

They’ll also learn about the specific issues health care practitioners in Morocco deal with every day, including working with sub-par equipment and a lack of resources.

Students will spend three weeks in the capital city of Rabat as well as a week in the mountains, learning about health care in remote, rural villages.

In addition to classes, students will meet with professors, NGO workers and advocacy groups to learn about issues like child abandonment, the “social death” of unwed mothers, AIDS and the struggle for clean water.

The course counts for six units and can be taken toward credits in History, Language, Anthropology or Health Sciences.