Public Health and Medicine in Cuba

Faculty-led or custom academic program

One of the aspects Cuba is best known for is its socialist medical system that utilizes prevention and promotion to produce a healthy society. Health care in Cuba is a civil right, provided at no cost for its citizens. There are many aspects of public health in Cuba that make it an excellent destination for educational and humanitarian programs. Cuba’s primary health care system is made up of a tiered arrangement that expands from the “canasta basica,” a subsidized food rationing program, to the neighborhood doctor’s clinic, polyclinics and hospitals, complemented by maternity and geriatric homes, as well as medical research institutes and biotechnology labs for pharmaceutical development.

Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM), established in 1999, annually welcomes thousands of students on full scholarships from low-income communities from all over the world, including the United States. The ELAM is only one of the many aspects of Cuba’s medical internationalism. In 2020, Cuban doctors were active in over 60 countries and led the international fight against COVID-19. Six years earlier in 2014, Cuban doctors and nurses provided direct care via medical missions to West Africa during the Ebola epidemic. On the island, Cuba’s tropical epidemiology has advanced the eradication of various vector-based diseases such as dengue, zika, and chikungunya. Cuba’s national socialist health care system and its excellent medical internationalism make it a uniquely rewarding site for learning about public health and medical sciences.

Our Public Health and Medicine in Cuba study program includes visas, lodging in Cuban homes with local families, two meals per day (breakfast and dinner with host family), one laundry washing per week, boiled water, and local transportation to all programmed events.

Public Health and Medicine in Cuba programs designed and operated by Son Dos Alas have included academic lectures with national scholars on the following topics (all programs are customizable; some conferences may be subject to change based on availability):

- Overview of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
- Cuba’s National Health Care System and its Primary Programs
- Prevention and Promotion in Safety Protocols of Public HealthThe Social Determinants of Health Care in Cuba
- National Cuban HIV/AIDS Program
- Tropical Epidemiology  
- National Program for the eradication of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito (dengue fever, chikungunya, Zika)
- Mortuary sciences
- Cuban Medical Internationalism

Public Health and Medicine in Cuba programs designed and operated by Son Dos Alas have included the following cocurricular visits (all programs are customizable; some locations may be subject to change based on seasons or accessibility):

- Walking tour of Old Havana with emphasis on medical centers and community health centers
- Visit to the Pedro Kourí Institute for Tropical Disease
- Visit to ELAM, the Latin American School of Medicine
- A walk through of the Organopónico Vivero, a cooperative organic urban agricultural farm in Alamar, east of Havana
- Site visit to a neighborhood clinic and Polyclinic
- Visit to a maternity home
- Visit to a geriatric/elderly home
- Visit to a mental health clinicVisit CENESEX headquarters with a lecture on sexual education in Cuba
- Visit to ENSAP (National School of Public Health)
- Visit to MINSAP (Ministry of Public Health)
- Proyecto Akokan and cafetería Oddara, Community development project in the Los Pocitos barrio of Marianao in the outskirts of Havana, tour of Marianao neighborhood includes visit to a Cuban Community healthcare center
- Visit to SERVIMED services for medical tourism
- Site visit to the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
- PanAmerican Health Organization (PAHO) of Cuba
- Visit to the National Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences Institute
- Visit to a drug rehabilitation center
- Day Trip to Las Terrazas eco-reserve, including a visit to a family doctor in Las Terrazas community

All custom academic programs also include visits to museums (all programs are customizable; museums may be substituted):

- Museum of the Revolution
- Fine Arts Museum
- Havana’s El Morro Fortress System
- Museum of Cuban Religions
- Denouncement Memorial
- Finca Vigía, Ernest Hemingway’s home
- National Music Museum
- House of Africa
- Literacy Museum with tour of Liberty City pedagogical complex

Delegations may also include a day trip or overnight excursion outside of Havana.


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