Public Health Threats in Suriname

Explore the unique culture of Suriname and learn about global public health and environmental health threats. This program features trans-disciplinary science, practice, and policy approaches to addressing public health issues affecting environmental and human health. You will examine key public health issues affecting the health of Suriname’s ecosystem and its population, including the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Through a series of lectures and fieldtrips, you will learn about the role of the ecosystem as a vital component of community health. A special area of focus will be the medicinal characteristics of plants. The course will also focus on the risks posed by environmental contamination, specifically those risks related to mercury released from some small-scale gold mining operations. You will employ community-based participatory research strategies to assess, manage, and communicate those risks.

The program includes pre-departure academic module and 2 weeks in-country experience:

05/09/2022 – 06/27/2022 - Weekly discussions based on readings and information sessions regarding international travel, cultural respect and appropriate behavior.

07/18/2022 – 07/30/2022 - In-country experience

Please note that the dates are subject to change.

Program is open to All Pitt Undergraduate students. There are no language or other course pre-requisites.

 

What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant you will be able to:

  • Identify environmental factors influencing the public health in Suriname
  • Characterize risks posed by environmental contamination to ecosystem and population health
  • Describe community-based participatory research strategies to assess, manage and communicate environmental public health risks
  • Discuss climate change and possible effects on public health in Suriname
  • Grow cultural competency and global awareness
  • Gain new interpersonal skills in working in interdisciplinary and multicultural groups
  • Grow global network of individual working in field of environmental health

 

Suriname, a former Dutch colony and part of the Caribbean, is located on the northern coast of South America. It is a tropical country of which the Interior is part of the Amazon Rainforest. Suriname has a multi-ethnic population of about half a million people, with true plurality. The country is also known for its abundance of natural resources and high biodiversity. The capital is Paramaribo, which has about 300,000 inhabitants. Paramaribo is known for many things, such as cultural events, great food, co-existence of different religions/cultures and historic buildings. The historic inner city of Paramaribo is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is diverse in religions and culture.

 

Where You'll Live: 

Students and faculty will stay in Eco Resort that is part of the 4 star Torarica Group of Hotels. All rooms have AC, bed, linens, bathroom/toilet facilities (including 24 hours of hot water)

 

What You'll Study: 

On this program you will take one 3-credit course "Public Health Threats in Suriname: From Ecosystem to Human Health"

The course will provide students an opportunity to learn about global public health and environmental health threats in a developing country. Students will experience how public health threats, opportunities and health systems differ, and how local public health and global health are interconnected. 

Public Health Threats in Suriname: From Ecosystem to Human Health (PUBHLT0350)

This course features trans-disciplinary science, practice, and policy approaches to addressing public health issues affecting environmental and human health. We will examine key public health issues affecting the health of Suriname’s ecosystem and its population, including the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Through a series of lectures and fieldtrips, students will learn about the role of the ecosystem as a vital component of community health. Each lecture is accompanied by required reading as designated in the syllabus and grading requirements are specified for the course. Fieldtrips and service learning are an integral part of the course to facilitate application on the public health practice frontline. A special area of focus will be the medicinal characteristics of plants. The course will also focus on the risks posed by environmental contamination, specifically those risks related to mercury released from some small-scale gold mining operations. Students will employ community-based participatory research strategies to assess, manage, and communicate those risks.
 
 

As natives of Suriname and a graduates of the Anton De Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS), Faculty of Medical Sciences, the instructors including Dean Lichtveld have first-hand knowledge of the overall environmental and public health issues of the Suriname population. The Pitt faculty will also be joined by leading professors from the Faculty of Medical Sciences of AdeKUS, local experts in areas such as toxicology, pharmacology, and ecosystem science, and governmental officials. In addition, the students will learn of traditional healing from local community experts.

 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Oksana Stalczynski

Privet! I'm Oksana Stalczynski and I'm a Program Manager at the Global Experiences Office. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, was an exchange student and Russian Language Scholar at Reed College in Portland, OR and did a summer language program in Dresden, Germany. Global experiences broaden your horizon, grow your circle of friends and improve your career opportunities. That’s why I think everyone should do one!

Feel free to contact me to find out more about global experiences programs at Pitt, and/or to learn/practice some Russian.

 

Schedule an appointment

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password.
  • Select Find Available Time.
  • Select the time that works for you.
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email.
 

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Maureen Lichtveld

Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH, is dean of the Graduate School of Public Health, where she oversees the growth and continued success of the school’s seven academic departments and hundreds of students, faculty, and staff. She also serves as professor of environmental and occupational health and is the Jonas Salk Professor of Population Health. 

Dr. Lichtveld studies environmental public health, focusing on environmentally induced disease, health disparities, environmental health policy, disaster preparedness, public health systems, and community resilience. Her research examines the cumulative impact of chemical and non-chemical stressors on communities facing environmental health threats, disasters, and health disparities.  

Before joining Pitt in January 2021, Dr. Lichtveld chaired Tulane University’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She also directed the Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership, and Strategic Initiatives within Tulane’s public health and tropical medicine school. In this role, Dr. Lichtveld led development and implementation of disaster management, health promotion, and disease-prevention strategies for Gulf Coast communities. Prior to her arrival at Tulane in 2005, Dr. Lichtveld spent 18 years with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, where she designed public health research tools and protocols to guide environmental health studies in communities located near hazardous waste sites.    

Dr. Lichtveld is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a member of the board of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. She received her MPH from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health and her MD from Anton de Kom University of Suriname and the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. 

Firoz Abdoel Wahid

Firoz Abdoel Wahid is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the EOH Department of the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. He is a native from Suriname where he graduated as a family physician in 2005, and as Master’s in Public Health in 2012. He has over 15-year experience in public health, the last eight of which in environmental health. His public health career started in 2005 as the clinical coordinator of the National AIDS Program in Suriname. He pursued his doctorate in environmental health in 2018 at Tulane University, New Orleans. Dr. Abdoel Wahid is part of the Caribbean Consortium for Research in Environmental and Occupational Health that is focused on the impact of chemical and non-chemical stressors on birth outcomes. He has a long-standing history of teaching, and has trained and mentored frontline healthcare workers in Suriname, as well as medical, physical therapy and public health students. His areas of expertise include global environmental health research, research training, and climate and health impact on vulnerable populations.
 

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Cost $4,099 $4,299
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $4,399 $4,599

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses ~$500

 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

 

What's Included: 

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for three credits
  • Shared accommodations in Suriname for the duration of the program
  • Visits to Suriname Conservation Foundation, Pan American Health Organization and the Suriname Bureau of Public Health 
  • 3-days Brokopondo Field Trip that will include guided tour on Tonka Island on medicinal plants, visit to active artisanal gold mine and Rainforest hike in Brownsberg Nature Reserve
  • Sloth service learning day
  • Staatsolie Fieldtrip  
  • Dolphin and Estuary Tour on the Suriname River