Health Service Delivery in Resource-poor Settings
Guatemala, Summer 2018

UWB students attending to patients at village clinic in Guatemala Program Director Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu administering medication to a child


The program is still pending final approval. All details are subject to change.

Dates: June 18 – August 17, 2018

Locations: UW Bothell and Rio Dulce, Guatemala (July 27 - August 11)

Faculty Director: Dr. Mabel Ezeonwu,

Academic Credits: 12 Summer Quarter credits, meeting required and elective courses for MN, BSN and NHS students. Specific course numbers will be determined to meet the needs of program participants.


  • $4,650 program fee*, which covers: 12 Summer Quarter credits; housing, (almost) all meals, local transportation, and educational field trips in Guatemala;
  • $350 study abroad fee;
  • ~$1,000 airfare;
  • $25 travel insurance;
  • ~$200 (depending on health insurance) vaccinations;
  • Passport;
  • Personal expenses at UW Bothell and while abroad.

*Note: Regular UW Bothell tuition will not be charged for these credits. The program fee is in lieu of regular tuition charges.


Course Details: This service-learning course, conducted in partnership with a community-based organization, Guatemala Village Health, is designed to expose students to the policy contexts in which health care is delivered in resource-poor settings with particular emphasis on Guatemala.

Map of GuatemalaGuatemala is the most populous country in Central America. It is home to over 15 million people and more than half of the population is below the national poverty line and 13% of the population lives in extreme poverty. Poverty among indigenous groups, which make up more than 40% of the population, averages 73%, with 22% of the indigenous population living in extreme poverty. Guatemala struggles in several areas of health and development, including infant, child, and maternal mortality, malnutrition, literacy, and contraceptive awareness and use. Nearly one-half of Guatemala's children under age five are chronically malnourished -- one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. This program presents excellent learning opportunities for students and aims to expose students to global development, health systems, global health issues and health care delivery strategies in resource-strapped communities. The course utilizes the community as the pedagogical platform and challenges students to view global health care issues holistically in order to understand how in-country health policies are influenced by local and global determinants or factors.

Course Structure: The course is designed in a hybrid format. The first half of the quarter, during Summer Term A, will be classroom and online-based at UW Bothell, including several orientation sessions with our community partner, Guatemala Village Health. Two weeks in late July will be spent in the field, conducting community-based work in the Rio Dulce region of Guatemala. Students will be exposed to the population and local health practitioners as they work with minimal resources. Following students’ orientation to the environment, students will work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams from U.S. and Guatemala to support the health needs of the community. Reflection and debfriefing activities will take place upon return to the U.S. 

The course will follow a seminar format. There will be open discussions and minimal lectures during classroom meetings. Online activities will be based on reflective analysis of the course content. Significant amount of time will be devoted to fieldwork and student-led open discussions -- synthesizing field experiences, course readings, and individual/group generated ideas. Learning through field observations, active participation in community health promotion activities and team-based problem-solving will be emphasized.

Learning Goals

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the essentials of primary care and health promotion in resource-poor countries
  • Develop skills to conduct a health needs assessment of communities in a developing country and describe ongoing policy strategies to address identified needs.
  • Understand and discuss local and global determinants of health of communities in developing countries with particular focus on Guatemala
  • Articulate the roles of health professionals, local and global health organizations and agencies, charitable foundations and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in global development efforts.
  • Develop skills to collaborate effectively with an interdisciplinary team in resource-poor settings.
  • Understand the effectiveness of cross-cultural dialogue.
  • Describe how pre-trip learning goals were met or unmet through the study abroad experience.
  • Present activities and experiences to peers and UW community.

Information for Applicants

While the program is open to students from all years and majors, priority will be given to students pursuing degrees in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Students should be prepared for a physically and emotionally-intensive two-week experience while in Guatemala, including high heat and humidity, moderate physical activity, and very basic amenities in the villages. Each day is filled with activities from early morning through evening in order to make the most of the short time abroad.

The online application requires a resume, unofficial transcript, name of a reference (but no letter of recommendation), and a one-page personal statement that explains why you are a strong candidate for the program by articulating your interests, qualifications and projected benefits to future goals.

The online application will open soon and the priority application deadline will be Wednesday, January 31 at noon. After this, applications will continue to be accepted on a space-available basis.

Applicants must be available to attend a 30-minute, in-person group interview with the program director to be held on the Bothell campus during the first week of February. Additional interview times will be added as needed.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the program!


What's the program like?

Check out blogs from UWB Study Abroad Ambassadors who participated in the program in previous years:

Guatemala Group, 2016


"Eye-opening experience in Guatemala", UWB Bothell News story


Program Support

Natalia Dyba, Director of Global Initiatives


Study Abroad Advising

Student Success Center UW1-160

Make an appointment