A University of Iowa Global Health Studies professor is hoping to take her class to Haiti later this year. Shortly after the earthquake that struck the country on January 12, Maureen McCue created a course titled “Haiti, The Evolution of a Disaster.” Eleven students are taking the spring semester course, which covers the disaster’s impact on the health of Haitians and future of their country.
“I want the students to not only see this as a Haiti problem, but really something that’s going on around the world,” McCue said. “With the change in climate, with the growing population, with increasing scarcity and difficulties in accessing water and quality food…there are a lot of serious challenges facing the health and well being of the global population.” McCue originally started coordinating a class on Haiti in July 2009, but recreated the course work after the earthquake. She’s hoping to take her class to Haiti after finals in May.
“We live in a sort of cocoon here in the U.S. We’re very wealthy and we’re sort of isolated from much of the world and without actually leaving home, it’s hard for students to capture the reality that many others face around the world,” McCue said. If the trip comes together, the students could work on projects that might include setting up a community garden or compost pile, constructing latrines or installing a simple water system in a village.
“Doctors and surgeons obviously play an extremely important role (in Haiti) right now, but overall, lasting changes come when people have access to food, water, safe housing and education. So, that will be our approach,” McCue said. McCue last visited Haiti in 2005.