University of Utah
Mary Duffy
371H- I Causes and Treatment of Diseases in Economically Developing Countries
3 Credits
Winter Quarter 1998

Mary E. Duffy, RN, PhD, Dr. Soc Sc (hon) College of Nursing
Room 325, 585-9528
Fax: 581-4642

This course presents students interested in health, health care professions, and international issues an opportunity to focus on the study of diseases and health problems in economically developing countries. At the completion of this course, students should have knowledge of the major diseases which occur in economically less developed countries and the types of interventions which have been used locally and by major international organizations to prevent and treat those diseases.

Students can choose a service-learning option. This learning experience will be a two hour per week commitment to volunteer at a local agency that works with international clients. The service-learning activities will include development of health education materials, sorting and packaging medical supplies for distribution to international clinic sites, health screening, and other health related activities.

Criteria for Designation of Service-Learning Classes

  1. Students in the class provide a needed service to individuals, organizations, schools, or other entities in the community.

Students will volunteer either at a local agency such as CHOICE Humanitarian which provides health to people internationally at foreign sites or a local health agencies which provides health services to local immigrants and/or refugees. Students will be challenged to develop health education materials for populations which are illiterate or have a low rate of literacy. In addition they will participate in health screening, sorting medical supplies for foreign destinations, and other health-related activities.

2. The service experience relates to the subject matter of the course.

The course focuses on poverty and health in economically less developed countries. The service will be for the citizens of those countries or immigrants and/or refugees primarily from countries with high rates of poverty and disease.

3. Activities in the class provide a method or methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experience and how these learnings related to the subject of the class.

Service-learning participants will keep a journal that will be used in class discussions and related to the week's readings. In addition, students will use the their experiences in the development of their papers and class presentation. The papers required for all students focus on the description of a disease or condition common in less economically developed countries and interventions (individual and group) for addressing prevention and treatment. Class discussions will include analyzes of social, political, cultural, and economic conditions preventing the eradication of often preventable diseases. Service-learning activities will help students become more aware of those conditions.

4. The course offers a method to assess the learning derived from the service. Credit is given for the learning and its relation to the course, not for the service alone.

Journals will be reviewed weekly and class discussion evaluated for participation and relationship between service and readings. In class discussions and papers students will be expected to relate their service experiences with the readings.

5. Service interactions in the community recognize the needs of service recipients and offer an opportunity for recipients to be involved in the evaluation of the service.

The contact person will be contacted and oriented to the service-learning class prior to its inception and the syllabus and other learning activities will be shared. Contact with the

agency will occur informally throughout the quarter and formally at mid-quarter and at the end of the quarter. The contact person will be asked to evaluate the student on the quality of the service, attendance, and professional behavior.

6. The service opportunities are aimed at the development of the civic education of citizens even though they may also be focused on career preparation.

This class includes discussion of the interrelationship between personal decisions re: volunteerism, materialism, values and attitude and the economic conditions maintained in much of the world. The service-learning component is a way for students to internalize their personal and professional roles by direct involvement in activities to serve people with less resources.

7. Knowledge from the discipline informs the service experiences with which the students are involved.

This course is an HONORS course and will have students from a variety of majors. The faculty is from the College of Nursing. This multi-disciplinary group enriches the discussion.

8. The class offers a way to learn from other class members as well as from the instructor.

Class discussions occur weekly and the enrollment in HONORS classes is small so the students all have the opportunity to participate.

9. Course options ensure that no student is required to participate in a service placement that creates a religious, political and/or moral conflict for the student.

The student can choose between service-learning and reflective papers.


The student will:

1 . Describe various definitions of poverty as they apply to economically developed and developing countries.

2. Identify the major biological disease of the poor.

3. Describe the biological, political, economic, and social factors contributing to these diseases.

4. Compare intervention strategies used by planners to address the problems of the poor.

5. Describe the role of the western health professional in economically developing countries.

OVERVIEW OF CONTENT: The purpose of this course is to discuss the major biological diseases experienced by the poor in economically developing countries. The concept of poverty and health will be examined globally in order to identify diseases of the poor and those unique to economically developing countries. Students in this course will become familiar with the causes and treatments of selected biological diseases and the socio-political and economic factors that influence disease patterns. Models of interventions will be critiqued and the role of the western health professional will be discussed. This course provides an introduction to international health.

The course will be taught as a seminar with the opportunity to work on a service-learning project. Grading will be based on class participation, reflective papers or service-learning activity, and two 5-8 page papers.


a.     Class participation                       5%
 b.     Reflective papers or service-learning        35%
 c.     Paper 1                                      30%
d.     Paper 2                                      30%

Class Participation - Students are expected to attend class, contribute to discussions and group activities, and participate by active listening. Evidence will be sought that the student has read and reflected on the readings. As needed, students will be helped to increase their participation in the discussions as the quarter proceeds. Students are expected to arrive in class on time and to remain in class until it is over. Failure to meet these expectations will result in a lowering of grade by 12 point per class.

Reflective Papers or Service-Learning - Students can choose between writing weekly, two-page reflective papers or participating 2 hours per week in a service-learning activity. The service- learning option is an opportunity to work with a local international health organization and to learn by developing health education materials, participating in health screening for refugees, sorting health materials to be used in clinics in other countries, or completing other assigned health activities. Service-learning will be graded on the quality of the service provided by the student, the student's ability to articulate the relationship between content in class and the service- learning experience, and professional behavior. Service-learning experiences and readings will be discussed during the class seminars. Each student is expected to submit a weekly journal (typed) which describes their service learning activities, their feelings as they experience the project, and their thoughts. The journal should include references to the readings. The papers will be marked "P" indicating you completed and submitted the journal, on time, or "F" if it was not submitted by the due date or incomplete.

Reflective papers are two-page papers written in order to synthesize the week's readings and the

student's developing thoughts as he/she progresses in the class. These papers are an opportunity to integrate readings and to discuss issues and problems that arise as you reflect on the content. Seven reflective papers will be assigned and three will be given a grade of I= outstanding, 2 = average, or 3 = no pass. The other papers will be reviewed for writing skill, clarity of ideas, and accuracy of content and marked "P" indicating you completed the assignment in an acceptable manner or "F" if a paper was not turned in or was unacceptable. These papers will give the student the opportunity to improve writing skills and to understand the expectations for wellwritten reflective papers.

There are two 5-8 page individual papers; typed, double-spaced, APA (American Psychological Association) style or another style as negotiated. Drafts of the papers will be reviewed and discussed but a turnaround of one week should be anticipated. Students are required to present and discuss their completed papers in class on Week 10. Failure to do so will result in the loss of << letter grade for each paper. Time will be allowed for some in-class group discussions as the papers are developed.

Paper I is an exploration of a disease or health problem in an economically less developed country. Each student will select the topic of the paper. The purpose of the paper is to understand the causes, nature, and treatment for the disease or health problem.

Paper 2 is a description and critique of interventions used to address the disease or health problem described in paper 1. Students can present and analyze a developed program such as one offered through the World Health Organization or other governmental or nongovernmental organization or they can develop their own program. Experimental treatments or treatments in development such as vaccines can be presented and discussed.

The focus of this paper is intervention at the community or group level, not individual treatment. Individual treatment is described in paper 1. For example, if the topic of paper I is malaria, the methods for treatment of the individual will be described. In paper 2, one would describe and critique a program to eradicate malaria such as mosquito eradication, development of a vaccine, use of anti-malarial drugs, etc.

                                        Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 09:38:29 MST
                                        From: Renee Buchanan []