Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1999


Latin American social issues, Health problems


As a student of Fairhaven College, I have the unique opportunity to formulate my own major that caters to my specific interests and needs. **Latin American Social Issues: Population and Health” is the interdisciplinary concentration that 1 have created. This focus consists of a few different components that are intended to give me a well-rounded view of contemporary Latin America and the best approaches to servicing the health problems of the region. Classes relating to the rich past of the region, such as Mexican History and Latin American History, have played an important role in developing this perspective. Knowledge of the past and the reasons behind the creation of current conditions in Latin America is imperative in devising new approaches towards complex health problems. Similarly, I have found that studies relating to the social issues of Latin America are also an invaluable aspect of this major. I have undertaken several independent studies to focus in on specific details of development that are not fully covered in conventional classes. Family planning, microcredit programs, and structural adjustment loans are all topics that I have researched through independent studies at Fairhaven College.

In addition to the academics at Western Washington, travel and study abroad programs have proven to be other extremely effective methods of researching this concentration. I realized the value of foreign experiences while traveling throughout Central America during the spring of 1996 and studying in Morelia, Mexico during the winter of 1997. Fortunately, 1 had another chance to continue my research while studying in Latin America last year.

During the winter and spring quarters of 1998,1 had the opportunity to conduct my studies in Ecuador. The winter quarter was spent in the capital, Quito, attending classes at a small foundation called CIMAS (Centro Investigation de Medio Ambiente y Salud or Center of Environment and Health Investigation). These classes were taught in Spanish and focused primarily on the history of Latin America, particularly Ecuador, as well as the contemporary issues that face the region today. Topics such as environmentalism, economics, and health were thoroughly covered in these seminars.


Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Otavalo Indians--Medical care; Child health services--Ecuador--Otavalo; Birth control--Ecuador--Otavalo

Geographic Coverage

Otavalo (Ecuador)--Social conditions


student projects; term papers




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