COURSE DESCRIPTION There is an increasing recognition that problems of human health are embedded in socio-ecological systems and in order to address them, one must investigate the interplay between the environment, social systems and human health. This 3-week course will focus on solving complex problems by developing leadership skills at the interface of different disciplines through applied system analysis and embedded experiences. This Field School will be designed to provide innovative “feet-on-the-ground” learning experiences that embrace the intersection of cultural, social, economic, environmental and health studies on present-day communities-at-risk in Africa.
This 3-week intensive Field School is the third in an annual series that will be rotated among communities-at-risk globally. This year’s Field School will start in Entebbe (where we arrive), travel to Jinja (to see the headwaters of the Nile River – that drain through South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt ultimately to the Mediterranean Sea), to explore the dependency of people on water. We will then move onwards to Kibale National Park which will be our base for two weeks of the Field School. Kibale National Park contains a tropical forest, and is home to many diverse organisms, including a large number of endangered chimpanzees as well as the red colobus monkey and the rare L’Hoest’s monkey. It is located in the districts of Kabarole and Kamwenge, west of Kampala (Uganda’s capital and largest city). Fort Portal in Kabarole District is the nearest large city to the national park. During these two weeks, we will explore human pressures on the planet (logging, agriculture, human settlements), tracking water from headwater reaches based on human activities occurring on the landscape and their effects on receiving water bodies at a watershed scale, and exploring implications for human health and wellbeing. A theme throughout the coarse is how humans are challenging the planet in ways that place some of the most vulnerable communities at risk, with students engaging not only in theory but the practice of culture, ethics and participatory engagement with these communities at risk.
Learning Outcomes By the end of this course you will be able to: Engage in critical thinking and writing about the core questions that underlie scholarship in the field of Planetary Health; Identify determinants of human health and well-being; Develop tools to prevent and mitigate risk to human health and well-being; Work effectively in transdisciplinary teams (with community groups) to identify and address a Planetary Health problem.
Proudly funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).