Those on the first-ever Health Journalism in Cuba trip gather for a photo outside of the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. (Photo: Sabriya Rice)
Students return from first-ever Health Journalism in Cuba study away trip
From May 30 to June 8, a group of students from Grady College participated in a new study away Maymester program in Havana, Cuba.
The program, titled “Health Journalism in Cuba,” gave both undergraduate and graduate student travelers an in-depth look at the island nation’s healthcare system and how local and international journalists find and convey health stories to the public.
“This unique, interdisciplinary program was such a valuable experience for all involved,” said Sabriya Rice, Knight Chair of Health and Medical Journalism at the College. Rice coordinated the program with the help of Hilda Mata of the Office of Global Engagement and Maureen Costello, of the Lamar Dodd School of Art.
While there, students had the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with Cuban health and science journalists, and they were able to speak with doctors, nurses and sports medicine specialists about a public health system that differs from what exists in the United States.
“It was amazing to observe ‘aha’ moments as they noted the differences and stepped outside of their comfort zones for this truly eye-opening intercultural exchange,” Rice added.
Over the course of the 10-day trip, students also had the opportunity to explore in and around Havana. They toured a nature reserve, tried local honey, visited radio and television studios, and, of course, visited local hospitals and clinics, among other activities.
“It was a great atmosphere. It’s a gem. I don’t know how else to describe it,” Keshondra Shipp, a Health and Medical Journalism graduate student, said about visiting Las Terrazas, a small, rural community outside of Havana.
To document their trip, students were tasked with creating blog posts and photo stories. Regularly, they were able to converse with health care professionals and journalists, as well as mass communication students at the University of Havana, about their experiences.
“Having the opportunity to do this sort of cultural exchange while in school is so important,” said Alex Anteau, also a Health and Medical Journalism graduate student.
“Despite the fact that the planet is very large, a lot of the problems people face are very universal – especially when it comes to health communication,” Anteau added. “On the whole, we are really dealing with similar issues, and it is really interesting to see how people with different backgrounds approach those challenges.”
Students visit the Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) in Havana, Cuba. They are seated in front of portraits of José Martí (left) and Juan Gualberto Gómez (right). (Photo/Sabriya Rice)
Dr. Roobaldo Fedroso demonstrates moxibustion treatment on student Hailey Sanford. Fedroso, who has been a family doctor at Las Terrazas for 35 years, said he sometimes uses techniques from traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, to treat patients. (Photo: Elena Acosta)
In shops lining Old Havana streets, the image of an old woman with a classic Cuban cigar hangs from windows. The painting, recreated on multiple materials and with a variety of colors, was present in multiple shops and drew the eye of passing tourists. (Photo: Irene Wright)
Students Delaney Tarr, Victoria Eymard, Irene Wright (back row) and Esther Kim (front passenger) ride in a red Plymouth Savoy down the Malecón in Havana, Cuba. The Malecón is a walkway along Havana’s waterfront that attracts thousands of visitors each year. (Photo: Lucinda Warnke)
Alex Anteau sits behind the wheel of a pink, classic American car. (Photo: Delaney Tarr.)
Students walk into the Cerro Pelado Sports Complex, where they were able to tour and see how the sports medicine facility operates. (Photo: Keshondra Shipp)
Students visit el Centro de Investigaciones Del Deporte, a sports medicine research center, in Havana, Cuba. (Photo: courtesy of Centro de Investigaciones del Deporte Cubano, CDC)
While many original buildings still stand or have been renovated, most no longer serve their original purpose. This cathedral for example located in the Plaza San Francisco de Asís in Old Havana is no longer a church, but now serves as a music school. (Photo: Victoria Eymard)
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