Public Health students from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health received the University of Arizona Award for Global Excellence for their service learning project in Guatemala and Mexico.
Each year, the UA Office of Global Initiatives and Center for English as a Second Language present three Global Excellence Awards. These awards recognize individuals and groups who have produced a substantial impact in the areas of international service or international education.
The public health students embarked on the incredible process of experiential learning in Guatemala and Mexico. From start to finish, they exhibited extraordinary synergy. Their gifts, talents, experiences, and intellect combined to generate a service learning project that required a significant amount of time and energy resulting in quality scholarship. They were tireless in their efforts to integrate available and existing resources, draw upon past successes (and failures), and successfully navigate the complexities involved with university bureaucracy and international travel that entailed multiple border crossings.
With the guidance of faculty members from the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, the students developed a service learning practicum in Western Guatemala and Southern Mexico in March 2014 with a focus on border health, migration, sustainable development, and cultural enrichment. They investigated the root causes of migration and emigration in Latin America and examined the impact of migration patterns on health outcomes in the border region, while providing direct service to humanitarian organizations and communities on the border. With this information, the team sought to identify the social determinants of health related to migration and economic development as they fit within the framework of public health advocacy. Ultimately, they sought to understand why so many people from Central America embark on this treacherous journey, leaving behind their homes, friends and families, in hope of a better life in “El Norte.”
“The impact this group has had on the global presence of the University of Arizona and our reputation as a hub in a global knowledge network is crucial to our standing as a global land grant university,” said Mike Proctor, vice president of Global Initiatives.
Proctor added, “This kind of work doesn’t happen anywhere else with the density, the frequency, the convergence that it happens here at the University of Arizona and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The awards were presented during the first annual Global Higher Education symposium, which was hosted on November 17, 2014 by the UA Office of Global Initiatives as part of International Education Week.