Published: Jan. 7, 2013

Students learn tropical medicine on Brazil trip

Contact(s): Andy McGlashen Media Communications office: (517) 355-2281, Reza Nassiri Institute of International Health office: (517) 353-8992

As a new semester gets underway, a group of 19 Michigan State University students will return to class with remarkable stories to tell after spending their winter break in Brazil, helping treat local patients while expanding their knowledge of tropical medicine and infectious disease.

The trip was part of a study abroad program for students in the colleges of osteopathic medicine, human medicine and nursing, led since 2010 by the MSU Institute of International Health in partnership with the Federal University of Pará.

Developed by institute director Reza Nassiri, an associate dean in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, the program also helps students understand Brazilian culture.

The course took place in Belem in the eastern Amazon region of Brazil. Students also traveled by boat to the island of Maracuja.

Working alongside local doctors and nurses, they learned about Brazil’s health care system and observed medical conditions such as malaria and whipworm that they otherwise would only have encountered in textbooks, Nassiri said.

They also donated clothing and hygiene items to the impoverished inhabitants of Maracuja.

MSU students work with locals at a community health clinic in Brazil during a study abroad course in tropical medicine. Courtesy photo.

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