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Field Study in Women's Health

Program Availability: January 2013

Field Course Title: Field Study in Women’s Health
Country: El Salvador
Faculty: Elizabeth Conlisk (Natural Science) and Miriam Cremer (alum)
Course Level: 300
Confirmed Dates: January 4-15
Program Fee: $1,525 + airfare

*Course logistics are still being finalized for 2013. Details are subject to change.*

Course Description
This is an intensive course taught in conjunction with Basic Health International (BHI), and focuses on public health, medicine, and appropriate technology in rural El Salvador, with a focus on cervical cancer prevention. Students will spend most of the 11-day trip in Arcatao, a small community in the Chalatenango region, where they will live with host families. The course will open with 2-3 days of classes and discussions on the biology and epidemiology of international women’s health (cervical cancer, appropriate technologies, prenatal care, contraception, and domestic violence); we will also discuss the social, political, and economic life in El Salvador, especially the ongoing impact of the 1980’s war and the more recent earthquake. 

The group will then form small outreach teams of three to four personnel: two students, one Salvadoran physician, and if needed, a medical student serving as translator. They will travel to neighboring communities to provide cervical cancer screening and follow-up. In addition, the students will also take the lead in evaluating the functionality (comfort, ease, acceptability), from both the patient and provider perspective, of two prototypes of a transportable gynecological bed. These beds were designed and built at the Lemelson Center by two Hampshire students who participated in this course in previous years. Students will develop the questionnaires, analyze the data, and present the findings at a small informal conference to be help in Arcatao on the penultimate day. Finally, we will close the course with a final day at the beach at La Libertad.

Evaluation Expectations

  • Careful reading of all assigned work
  • Full participation in small group activities and research teams
  • Daily journal entry while in El Salvador
  • Presentation of bed evaluations
  • Submission of retrospective essay by January 23


  • Good academic standing
  • Strong interest in international public health
  • Participation in orientation meeting during the fall semester
  • Fluency in Spanish is not required but is strongly encouraged

Program Itinerary:  
Jan 4: Arrival in San Salvador; travel to BHI office; travel by bus to Arcatao
Jan 5-7: Classroom instruction and discussion in Arcatao
Jan 8-11: Day trips to neighboring communities with extension teams; return each
  night to Arcatao
Jan 12: Conference in Arcatao to discuss evaluation findings
Jan 13: Travel and one-night stay at La Libertad Beach
Jan 15: Return by bus to airport in San Salvador

Note: These will be very long days of approximately 8-12 hours of work and instruction per day.

Travel Plans
Students will travel to San Salvador on their own, arriving on January 4. While students are in El Salvador, all travel will be arranged by BHI staff. Students will be met at the airport by BHI staff. On January 14, students will depart.

Housing Arrangements
Basic Health International will arrange homestays for participants in the community of Arcatao. The group will stay in a modest hotel at La Libertad Beach.

Program Fee
Approximately $1,525 includes tuition, accommodation, in-country transportation, meals, administrative costs, and director(s) expenses.

Additional Expenses (costs not included in the program fee)
•    Airfare
•    Transportation to and from U.S. airport
•    Visa fee (entry card at airport): $10
•    Souvenirs: $25-50 (estimate)
•    Non-program covered meals: $30 (estimate)

Field Course-Related Information
Basic Health International's Website
Cervical Cancer Project in E Salvador Highlighted in the NY Times!
BHI Trip Report: May 2008


Application Deadline: Thursday, October, 11, 2012

All short-term applications are due at the global education office by 4:30 p.m. on the application deadline. Applications can be found in the global education office or can be downloaded from this page. A non-refundable deposit of $500 (credited to the program fee) will be due November 5 to the GEO for those approved to join the course. Jan Term enrollment deadline is November 9; enrollment only permitted if deposit is paid.

Financial Aid
Students who receive financial aid from Hampshire College are eligible to apply for financial assistance through the global education office to offset program fee. Students are expected to cover all additional expenses, including airfare. Awards vary from year to year and are dependent on the number of applicants and the amount of aid available. Eligibility for financial assistance does not guarantee that aid will be awarded. Please indicate your eligibility and desire to apply on your application form.

Questions about the application process or financial aid should be directed to Heather St. Germaine in the global education office at or 413.559.5542.

Questions regarding the academic component or itinerary should be directed to Elizabeth Conlisk at


Contact Us

Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.6173

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