Monday May 11, was our first day at the Institute of collective Health, Federal University of Bahia (ISC or UFBA) and we learned a lot about the schools research initiatives and the background/history of the University. I found the information on their programs and research regarding nutritional diseases in youths, infectious diseases, and the impact of policies on health, to be really interesting.
When we learned about the history of the University, I found that there were a lot of similarities to educational discrimination that occurred in the US prior to the civil rights movement. For instance the Black population in Salvador is estimated at about 90% yet in prior years only about 10% of the students enrolled in the university identified as Black. A common practice was to administer admissions exams to the Universities. Black students usually did not pass these tests which kept them from being accepted into the University. This reminded me of the test that were administered at the voting polls that prevented Black voters from being able to vote.
Today we learned a lot about how social determinants such as income, education and race intersect to impact health. We also learned more about what collective health is. One of the administrators described public health as one component to collective health and gave an example of the government passing a policy that provided free HPV vaccinations for young girls. That was considered a public health intervention. The collective health approach would be to educate parents and youths on what the vaccine is, what HPV is, why it is recommended to be vaccinated, how HPV and other STDs can be prevented, etc. Collective health is the community response for health promotion and disease prevention.
Today was very informative, and very long. But a great start to our educational experience in Salvador.