Working in the Field

Overview

Overview of Global Health Field Courses/Experiences

A global health field course/experience (1 credit) is an academic credit-based learning experience in a setting relevant to global health.  Field courses/experiences are generally carried out during the summer (less commonly within the normal academic calendar if they do not interfere with class attendance or completion of requirements for registered coursework); 1 week of on-site learning is equivalent to 1 credit(Please note that only one field course/experience credit counts toward Certificate requirements; additional field credits earned cannot be applied to elective course requirements.)

 

Students must be in good academic standingto participate in a global health field course/experience.

Students may elect to do a faculty-led interdisciplinary group field course (Option 1) administered by the UW-Madison Office of International Academic Programs (IAP) or they may design an independent field experience (Option 2) at the site of their choice, with approval of an academic advisor and the Certificate Director. For more information, see: education.ghi.wisc.edu/graduate-certificate/required courses/ Field experiences usually take place in a countryoutside the U.S.,but may also be carried out in the United States, working with international/underserved populations and addressing health issues that have global implications.  Students may also work with international agencies, such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or non-governmental organizations.

 

Field Course/Experience Objectives:

  • Gain greater awareness about global health through exposure to a specific international health setting
  • Develop cross cultural skills related to traveling and working in an international setting, or a local setting working with an international/underserved population
  • Develop professional skills related to cross-cultural collaboration and cooperation with health professionals from other countries and/or cultures
  • Deepen understanding of how diversity (socio-economic, racial, ethnic, cultural, and political) affects health
  • Make specific contributions to a health-related project, service, or study

 

Academic Requirements: 

Faculty-led group field courses

1) Completion of all academic requirements for the field course

2) Submission of a summary of reflections on the field course/experience – This may take the form of a self-reflection journal kept throughout the field course/experience, or if a journal was not kept, students should use the template provided (see Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment A).

3) Submission of an instructor evaluation of the student (see  Attachment B)

4) Submission of the faculty-led field course required project report/paper (varies by course location).

 

Independent field experiences

1) Completion of all academic requirements for the field course

2) Submission of a summary of reflections on the field course/experience – This may take the form of a self-reflection journal kept throughout the field course/experience, or if a journal was not kept, students should use the template provided (see Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment A).

3) Submission of an evaluation of the student by the on-site preceptor (see Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment B)

4) Submission of a site evaluation by the student (see Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment C)

5) Submission of a reference-cited, academic paper/project report

 

Note:  Only field experiences conducted after acceptance into the Certificate Program and following completion of the appropriate preparation course will be considered for credit toward the certificate.  (With Director’s approval, POP HLTH 644/645 taken in the spring/summer prior to matriculation in the certificate program may count toward the certificate.  However, independent field experiences undertaken prior to matriculation and without completion of POP HLTH 640 do not count toward the certificate.)  Purely clinical global health experiences (including medicine, physical therapy, veterinary medicine or pharmacy) do not satisfy the expectations of a global health certificate independent field experience.  Certificate field experiences must focus substantially on an issue of community/public health.

 

  1. Faculty-Led Group Field Courses 

Students may elect to do a faculty-led group field experience (POP HLTH 645). Faculty-led experiences are recommended for students with little or no experience traveling in low/middle income countries, are offered annually in one or more countries (currently Uganda, Thailand, Ecuador), and are administered through the Office of International Academic Programs (IAP).  Students who elect to participate in one of these faculty-led courses must apply through the IAP office, see: studyabroad.wisc.edu.  Upon satisfactory completion of the field course, students will receive credit for POP HLTH645: Global Health Field Study. Please note that POP HLTH­ 644 is the on-campus course prerequisite for these field courses; students will receive information about POP HLTH 644 course enrollment in the IAP acceptance letter. Please note: for optimal preparation, POP HLTH 718 should be taken prior to POP HLTH 644, if possible.  

 

  1. Independent Field Experiences

Certificate students may also choose to design an independent field experience at a site of their choice.  Students choosing the independent field experience option will typically have had experience traveling and living in low/middle income countries.  Independent field experiences are focused around an issue/topic of particular interest to a student and usually take place in a country outside the U.S., but may also be carried out among an international/underserved population in the United States. Students may also undertake work with international agencies as an independent field experience, e.g., the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or non-governmental organizations. POP HLTH 640 is a prerequisite for an independent study.  Please note: for optimal preparation, POP HLTH 718 should be taken prior to POP HLTH 640 if possible.    

 

  • Select a Focus and Site for the Field Experience

Students should develop a global health topic of interest and begin site selection by considering locations where local health issues will provide a learning environment related to their topic.  Students should learn about the health status of their chosen country/site; international organizations and programs already working on their topic of interest at the site; and, general information about health care delivery and population demographics for the site. Students may find useful information at the Global Health Institute website, (https://ghi.wisc.edu/resources/).  Once students have completed their own preliminary investigations, they are encouraged to consult with global health faculty and others who have relevant experience or contacts.  When choosing a site, health and safety risks in a potential location should be carefully considered– see the following for more information: https://internationaltravel.wisc.edu/.

* Note: UW-Madison policy is that “the University will typically not operate a program in or send a Student to any country for which a level 3 or 4 Travel Warning has been issued.” The U.S. State Department Travel Warning list can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html.  See page 40 for further information regarding this issue.

 

  • Enroll in POP HLTH640, Foundations for Global Health Practice

Students are expected to have identified a geographic region and health topic of interest before the start of POP HLTH 640. The course reviews key concepts and trends in global public health, and walks the students through the process of preparing for a meaningful field experience.  It includesresearching and creating a country profile, developing a project proposal that is of mutual benefit to the student and the counterpart organization, understanding the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and global health ethics, and preparation for travel (health and safety).  Students design an independent field experience at the site of their choice and write a proposal that describes project goals and objectives and outlines a tentative schedule of activities to be reviewed and approved by their advisor and the Certificate Director.

 

  • Select a UW-Madison Academic Advisor and Field Preceptor

Students must identify a UW-Madison academic advisor AND a field preceptor for their independent field experience; this should happen as early as possible in the planning of a field experience. Certificate program staff can assist students to identify an appropriate advisor for their work.

 

  • Submit Field Experience Proposal

Once students have identified a topic and site of interest, an academic advisor, and a field preceptor, they prepare a preliminary field experience proposal that describes the goals and objectives of the field experience, outlines activities that will be carried out, defines the product(s) of the experience (e.g., summary paper and presentation), and includes the proposed dates for the experience.  The final version of the proposal must be approved by the academic advisor and the field preceptor, as well as the Certificate Director to ensure that it will meet the certificate field experience requirements. The final field experienceproposal will be submitted as an assignment in POP HLTH 640, but a preliminary outline will be required early in the course to ensure students are adequately prepared to undertake their projectNote: projects that involve human subjects and require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, animal use approvals, or other regulatory oversight may require much more preparation time.

 

  • Independent Field Experience Affiliation Agreements

All students completing independent field experiences are required by the SMPH to have an affiliation agreement in place between the field site organization and the SMPH/University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Such an affiliation agreement outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the student, the field site organization, and the SMPH/UW-Madison.  As soon as the field experience site is identified, students should contact Betsy Teigland teigland@wisc.edu in the SMPH Office of Global Health to initiate the agreement process.  Some sites have existing institutional affiliate agreements which may simplify the process, but students and their advisor/mentor will still be responsible for working with administrative staff to ensure that these are current and applicable.  Note that for new sites it may be a time-consuming process to execute the agreements, so please begin as early as possible in field experience planning (at least 8+weeks ahead of departure for the field site).

*** Note: purely clinical global health experiences (including medicine, physical therapy, veterinary medicine or pharmacy) do not satisfy the expectations of a global health certificate independent field experience. Certificate field experiences must focus substantially on an issue of community/public health.

 

  • Register for Independent Global Health Study

Students must register for independent study credit for the field experience in the department of their UW-Madison faculty mentor (a 699 course number in most health sciences and graduate departments).  MPH students who are also global health certificate students and doing an independent field experience counting for both programs may register for POP HLTH 788, Public Health Field Experience, in place of a 699.  Please note that POP HLTH 640, Foundations for Global Health Practice, is still a prerequisite for POP HLTH 788 for dual MPH/global health certificate students. Contact Betsy Teigland, teigland@wisc.edu for assistance in registering for 699s.

 

  • General roles of the Student, UW-Madison Faculty Advisor, Field Preceptor, and Certificate Program Staff

Student: complete all academic and administrative requirements; comply with all applicable UW-Madison policies for international travel, professionalism, academic and nonacademic conduct (including those of the Certificate Program, the student’s home school/college/program, and those of the university at-large); demonstrate culturally-appropriate professional and personal behavior in all activities during the field experience

Academic Advisor:  provide advice, support, consultation, and feedback to the student regarding academic preparation, site selection, topic area, and the field experience proposal; grade the final paper/presentation; review the preceptor assessment; submit the student’s overall course grade

Field Preceptor:  provide input into the field experience proposal; orient, support and conscientiously supervise the student throughout the field experience; model professional work habits and attitudes; evaluate the student’s performance using preceptor assessment form

Certificate Program Faculty and Staff:  serve as a resource regarding field experience requirements and responsibilities for students, faculty and preceptors; verify compliance with administrative requirements for international travel; review the student’s field experience reflection summary, field experience paper, site evaluation, and preceptor evaluation of the student; compile all field experience requirements for the student’s certificate program file

 

  • Complete Administrative Requirements 

Faculty-led global health field courses (POP HLTH 645-Uganda, Thailand, and Ecuador) are administered by the UW-Madison Office of International Academic Programs (IAP).  Administrative requirements for these courses will be provided by IAP.

Independent field experiences are administered by the SMPH Office of Global Health.  For independent field experiences, students must submit the following information and forms (forms are contained in the “Independent Study Packet“) to the SMPH Office of Global Health officeat least 8 weeks before departure: 

1) Confirmation of registration for credit

2) SMPH Office of Global Health Approval Form

3) Student Agreement Form

4) Approval Letter from field site preceptor/organization

5) Contact Information

6) CISI (insurance REQUIRED by the UW System) – Contact Betsy Teigland in the SMPH Office of Global Health office to ensure that CISI enrollment is through the correct unit.

7) Health Self-Assessment

8) Statement of Responsibility

9) Copy of airline itinerary

10) Copy of passport photo/signature page (Plan ahead: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months past your anticipated date of return to the United States.  Also ensure you have a valid VISA if a VISA is required for the country(ies) to which you will be traveling or transiting through.)

11) Financial Aid (option for eligible MD students only)

Travel to U.S. State Department Warning List Countries

UW-Madison policy is that“the University will typically not operate a program in or send a Student to any country for which a level 3 or 4 Travel Warning has been issued.”  The U.S. State Department Travel Warning list can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html.

Students who wish to pursue study in countries on the level 3 or level 4 warning list should fill out the Warning List Travel Policy and Exemption Form and submit it to the SMPH Office of Global Health at least four months prior to the planned study.  The request will be reviewed by a committee of faculty.  Possible reasons for granting an exemption include: student will be pursuing a unique educational experience that cannot be gained elsewhere and that is directly related to their graduate studies or career plans; student is a citizen of the country in question; student has considerable experience in the country in question.

In all cases, students should periodically consult the U.S. State Department (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html) and CDC (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) websites for warning and notice updates on the country they will be visiting.

 

  • Complete Academic Requirements

The Programs Coordinator of the Certificate in Global Health will monitor completion of requirements for the field experience.  In addition to turning in assignments to the academic advisor, copies of all items described below should be submitted to the SMPH Office of Global HealthProgramsCoordinator (Betsy Teigland) by the student. The academic advisor will assign a grade for the experience, based on the field experience report, journal and preceptor assessment.

1) Reflection summary: The requirement of journaling during an experience is intended to encourage students to reflect on their own responses to the global health experience they undertake.  Students are encouraged to reflect on both positive experiences as well as challenges, considering issues related to professionalism, cultural competence, and/or ethics. Submission of asummary of reflections on the field course/experience may take the form of a self-reflection journal kept throughout the field course/experience, or if a journal was not kept, students should use the template provided in Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment A.

  1. Preceptor evaluation: A brief report from the field preceptor (this may be submitted via e-mail) should comment on the student’s performance in the planned tasks, as well as professionalism and cross-cultural skills. It is the responsibility of the student to assure that the preceptor report is filled out and submitted on time to the Certificate Programs Coordinator. (See Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment B for preceptor evaluation form.)
  2. Site evaluation: Students doing an independent field experience are asked to fill out an evaluation of the site of the field experience.This is particularly useful to the program in advising future students on potential field sites. (See Student Handbook, Appendix C, Attachment C for the site evaluation form.)
  3. Reference-cited field experience report: Students are required to prepare a summary report about the field experience. Whenever possible this report should be shared with international colleagues in addition to being submitted to the UW-Madison faculty advisor and the Programs Coordinator.
    • Students doing independent field experiences – The written report should be approximately five pages in length (not including the references) and should include a concise summary of project objectives and outcomes of the field experience, with background information about the site and its health status as is appropriate to the topic. The student should include references to any information/facts/opinions of others that are cited in the text as in any professional paper, including but not limited to, health data about the country and problems addressed, the information or evidence-base that provided a foundation for their work, and any other sources that were used to carry out the work. Students who plan to prepare a paper for publication may submit a draft in the format specified for an identified journal.
    • Students doing a faculty-led field experience (Ecuador, Thailand, Uganda), should submit the presentation and/or project report required of the field course.

 

  • Financing the Field Experience

Responsibility for funding the global health field experience lies with the student.  Depending on the site and duration of the experience, costs could range from $1000 to $4000+, including program fees, travel, UW-Madison tuition, and in-country living expenses. In some cases, students may be permitted to increase their student financial aid package to pay for the trip. Scholarships are available through International Academic Programs/Study Abroad office for students participating in faculty-led field experiences managed through IAP.

Capstone students are eligible to apply for U.S. Department of Education Title IV financial aid. Contact the Division of Continuing Studies on campus for more information about this funding opportunity.

Faculty-led group field courses

Students may elect to do a faculty-led group field experience through the Global Health Institute. Faculty-led experiences are recommended for students with little or no experience traveling in low/middle income countries, are offered annually in one or more countries (Uganda, Thailand, Ecuador), and are administered through the Office of International Academic Programs (IAP). Students who elect to participate in one of these IAP faculty-led courses apply through the IAP office, see: studyabroad.wisc.edu.

Upon satisfactory completion of the field course, students will receive credit for POP HLTH 645: Global Health Field Study. Please note that POP HLTH 644 is the on-campus course prerequisite for these field courses; students will receive information about POP HLTH 644 course enrollment in the IAP acceptance letter.

 

Independent field experiences

Certificate students may also choose to design an independent field experience at a site of their choice. Students choosing the independent field experience option will typically have already had experience traveling and living in low/middle income countries. Independent field experiences are focused around an issue/topic of particular interest to a student and usually take place in a country outside the U.S., but may also be carried out among an international/underserved population in the United States. Students may also undertake work with international agencies as an independent field experience, e.g., the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or global health-related non-governmental organizations. POP HLTH 640 is a prerequisite for an independent study.  Please note: if possible, for optimal preparation POP HLTH 718 should be taken prior to POP HLTH 640 and prior to undertaking an independent field experience.   

  • Select a focus and site for the field experience

Students should develop a global health topic of interest and begin site selection by considering locations where local health issues will provide a learning environment related to their topic. Students should learn about the health status of their chosen country/site; international organizations and programs already working on their topics of interest in their site; and, general information about health care delivery and population demographics for their site. Students may find useful information at the Global Health Institute website, including a list of web resources and the Ebling Library global health portal. Once students have completed their preliminary work, they are encouraged to consult with global health faculty and others who have relevant experience or contacts.

* Note: UW-Madison policy is that “the University will typically not operate a program in or send a Student to any country for which a Travel Warning has been issued.” The U.S. State Department Travel Warning list can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.htmlSee below for further information regarding this issue.

  • Enroll in POP HLTH 640, Foundations for Global Health Practice

Students are expected to have identified a geographic region and health topic of interest before the start of POP HLTH 640. The course reviews key concepts and trends in global public health, and walks the students through the process of preparing for a meaningful field experience. Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in POP HLTH 640.

  • Select a UW-Madison academic advisor and field preceptor

Students must identify a UW-Madison academic advisor AND a field preceptor for their independent field experience; this should happen as early as possible in the planning of a field experience. Certificate program staff can assist students to identify an appropriate advisor for their work.

  • Submit field experience proposal

 Once students have identified a topic and site of interest, an academic advisor, and a field preceptor, they prepare a brief (up to ~ three pages) field experience proposal that describes the goals and objectives of the field experience, outlines activities that will be carried out, defines the product(s) of the experience (e.g., summary paper and presentation), and includes the proposed dates for the experience. This proposal must be approved and signed by the academic advisor and the field preceptor, as well as the director of the Graduate • Professional • Capstone Global Health Certificate to ensure that it will meet the certificate field experience requirements. The field experience proposal should be submitted to the director of the Graduate • Professional • Capstone Global Health Certificate as far in advance of travel as possible, ideally at least 8+ weeks before departureNote: projects that involve human subjects and require Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval, animal use approvals, or other regulatory oversight may require much longer periods of preparation.

  • Independent field experience affiliation agreements

All students completing independent field experiences are required by the School of Medicine and Public Health to execute an affiliation agreement between the field site organization and SMPH/University of Wisconsin-Madison. Such an affiliation agreement outlines the expectations and responsibilities of the student, the field site organization, and the SMPH/University. As soon as the field experience site is identified, students should contact Betsy Teigland at teigland@wisc.edu in the SMPH Office of Global Health to initiate the agreement process. Some sites have existing institutional affiliate agreements which may simplify the process, but students and their advisor/mentor will still be responsible for working with administrative staff to ensure that these are current and applicable. Note that for new sites it may be a time-consuming process to execute the agreements, so please begin as early as possible in field experience planning (at least 8+ weeks ahead of departure for the field site).

  • Register for independent global health field study

All field courses/experiences must be done on a for-credit basis. Students undertaking independent field experiences should register for independent study credit in the school/college/department of their project’s academic advisor. (This is typically a
“699” course number.) Contact Betsy Teigland at teigland@wisc.edu for assistance in registering for 699s.

  • General roles of the student, UW-Madison faculty advisor, field preceptor, and Certificate program staff

Student: complete all academic and administrative requirements; comply with all applicable UW-Madison policies for international travel, professionalism, academic and nonacademic conduct (including those of the Certificate Program, the student’s home school/college/program, and those of the university at-large); and, demonstrate culturally-appropriate professional and personal behavior in all activities during the field experience.

Academic Advisor: provide advice, support, consultation, and feedback to the student regarding academic preparation, site selection, topic area, and the field experience proposal; grade the final paper/presentation; review the preceptor assessment; and, submit the student’s overall course grade.

Field Preceptor: provide input into the field experience proposal; orient, support and conscientiously supervise the student throughout the field experience; model professional work habits and attitudes; and, evaluate the student’s performance using preceptor assessment form.

Certificate Program Faculty and Staff: serve as a resource regarding field experience requirements and responsibilities for students, faculty and preceptors; verify compliance with administrative requirements for international travel; review the student’s field experience reflection paper, field experience paper, site evaluation, and preceptor evaluation of the student; and, compile all field experience requirements for the student’s certificate program file.

  • Complete Administrative Requirements

Faculty-led global health field courses (POP HLTH 645-Uganda, Thailand, and Ecuador) are administered by the UW-Madison Office of International Academic Programs (IAP).  Administrative requirements for these courses will be provided by IAP.

Independent field experiences are administered by the Global Health Institute. For independent field experiences, students must submit the following information and forms (forms are contained in the “Independent Study Packet”) to the Global Health Institute office at least 8 weeks before departure: 

  1. Confirmation of registration for credit
  2. GHI Approval Form
  3. Student Agreement Form
  4. Approval Letter from Field Site Preceptor/Organization
  5. Contact Information
  6. CISI travel insurance (REQUIRED by the UW System) – Contact Betsy Teigland in the GHI office to ensure that CISI enrollment is through the correct unit.
  7. Health Self-Assessment
  8. Statement of Responsibility
  9. Copy of airline itinerary
  10. Copy of passport photo/signature page (Plan ahead: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months past your anticipated date of return to the United States. Also ensure you have a valid VISA if a VISA is required for the country(ies) to which you will be traveling or transiting through.)
  11. Financial Aid (option for eligible PA and MD students only)

Travel to U.S. State Department Warning List Countries

UW-Madison policy is that “the University will typically not operate a program in or send a Student to any country for which a Travel Warning has been issued.” The U.S. State Department Travel Warning list can be found at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html.

Students who wish to pursue study in countries on the warning list should fill out the Warning List Travel Policy and Exemption Form and submit it to GHI at least four months prior to the planned study. The request will be reviewed by a committee of faculty.  Possible reasons for granting an exemption include: student will be pursuing a unique educational experience that cannot be gained elsewhere and that is directly related to their graduate studies or career plans; student is a citizen of the country in question; student has considerable experience in the country in question. For more information, contact programs coordinator Betsy Teigland at teigland@wisc.edu, HSLC 1191F.

In all cases, students should periodically consult the State Department (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html) and CDC (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices) websites for warning and notice updates on the country they will be visiting.

  • Complete Academic Requirements

GHI Programs Coordinator will monitor completion of requirements for the field experience. In addition to turning in assignments to the academic advisor, copies of all items listed above and described below should be submitted to GHI Programs Coordinator Betsy Teigland by the student. The academic advisor will assign a grade for the experience, based on the field experience report, journal and preceptor assessment.

  1. Reflection paper: The requirement of regular journal entries is intended to provide the student with an opportunity to reflect on their own responses to the global health experience they undertake. Students are encouraged to reflect on both positive experiences as well as challenges, considering issues related to professionalism, cultural competence, and/or ethics. The reflection paper will be submitted to the academic advisor and the Certificate Programs Coordinator. Reflection paper guidelines
  2. Preceptor evaluation: A brief report from the field preceptor (this may be submitted via e-mail) should comment on the student’s performance in the planned tasks, as well as professionalism and cross-cultural skills. It is the responsibility of the student to assure that the preceptor report is filled out and submitted on time to the Certificate Programs Coordinator. Preceptor evaluation form
  3. Site evaluation: Students are asked to fill out an evaluation of the site of the field experience. This is particularly useful to the program in advising future students on potential field sites. Site evaluation form
  4. Reference-cited field experience report: Students are required to prepare a summary report about the field experience. Whenever possible this report should be shared with international colleagues in addition to being submitted to the UW-Madison Faculty advisor and the Certificate Programs Coordinator. The written report should be approximately five pages in length (not including the references) and should include a concise summary of project objectives and outcomes of the field experience, with background information about the site and its health status as is appropriate to the topic. The student should include references to any information/facts/opinions of others that are cited in the text as in any professional paper, including but not limited to, health data about the country and problems addressed, the information or evidence-base that provided a foundation for their work, and any other sources that they used to carry out the work. Students who plan to prepare a paper for publication may submit a draft in the format specified for an identified journal.

Financing the field experience

Responsibility for funding the global health field experience lies with the student. Depending on the site and duration of the experience, costs could range from $1000 to $4000+, including program fees, travel, UW-Madison tuition and in-country living expenses. In some cases, students may be permitted to increase their student financial aid package to pay for the trip. While grant opportunities for educational opportunities of this nature and duration are limited, a number of opportunities for financing global health field experiences can be found here. In particular, scholarships are available through International Academic Programs/Study Abroad office for students participating in Faculty-led field experiences managed through IAP.