Course Leader Karin Hamilton, DVM, MPH on AHS 3003: Sustainable Approaches to Health in France
Dr. Karin Hamilton (she/her) is the Global Programs Coordinator at the Pre-Health Student Resource Center (PHSRC). She has been at the University of Minnesota since 2009, starting at the College of Veterinary Medicine before transitioning to the PHSRC. Dr. Hamilton has taught courses in veterinary public health, global veterinary medicine, global health, as well as several study abroad courses focusing on health in Thailand, Panama, France, and India. This year, she will be co-leading the Health and Medicine in India and Sustainable Approaches to Health in France study abroad courses. Dr. Hamilton graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and from UMN with a Master of Public Health degree and completion of the Veterinary Public Healthand Preventive Medicine Residency program. She lives in Brooklyn Park with her partner and three cats where she enjoys kickboxing, hiking, kayaking, gardening, traveling, and basically anything active outside.
What are you most looking forward to about teaching AHS 3003: Sustainable Approaches to Health in France?
I really enjoy getting to know students on study abroad courses--it is so different from teaching a lecture-based course! Students get to explore their own culture as well as the French culture and do some comparing/contrasting while asking the question “Why?” a lot. It is fulfilling to watch this growth happen while they also learn about the big picture of healthand health systems.
Why did you choose France for your seminar?
France has an excellent health system with a nationally funded healthcare system. France is also a leader in innovative approaches to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Culture plays a significant role in both of these. This all allows great opportunities to compare and contrast health systems, approaches to SDGs, and culture in France and the US.
What are some of the highlights of this program?
During the second half of the Spring semester at UMN, students have the opportunity to learn about the SDGs and approaches being taken to address the goals in Minnesota. They will take the Intercultural Development Inventory and learn the Observe, Describe, Interpret, Evaluate approach to experiencing differences. This will help them explore their own cultures before traveling to France. While in France, students will visit the medieval Medical School, which is the oldest active medical school, as well as the modern Medical School in Montpellier. As food is a large part of culture and health, we will visit an organic olive orchard and sea salt flats that have bright pink water. Around midway through our time in France, we will go out to the mountains for an overnight experience. We will take a hike with a donkey through the mountains, following the same course that author Robert Louis Stevenson experienced and wrote about.