• Cuba

Overview

Cuba’s focus on prevention & health education has helped it become one of the best healthcare systems in the world. They also boast the third highest doctor-patient ratio worldwide. In additional to medical care, there is a strong focus on mental health & these services are incorporated into nearly every aspect of care. 

During this trip, students learn about programs that may be directly responsible for Cuba’s 20% lower infant-mortality rate & higher life expectancy than the we have in the U.S. Students will visit several key organizations to meet with local care givers around the country. Through these interactions, they will discover the challenges & advantages of Cuba’s universal healthcare system.   

Highlights

  • Ministry of Public Health – Learn how Cuba directs, implements and monitors public health policies. Discuss the development of the medical sciences & the medical-pharmaceutical industry.
  • Family physician’s office visit – Discuss disease prevention as well as maternal-infant care & elderly care programs
  • Leonor Perez Maternity Home – Learn how Havana addresses the needs of underprivileged pregnant women
  • Primary healthcare training centers – See how international students are prepared for the field
  • Las Terrazas eco-community – Meet the locals living in a biosphere reserve & discuss health care within the community
  • National Center for Sex Education – Speak with professionals about sex education policies in Cuba, including efforts to aid the LGBTQ community

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Havana

Arrive at Jose Marti International Airport & begin with a bus tour of Havana to familiarize yourselves with the area. After checking in at the hotel, attend a brief informational meeting to learn about Cuban culture & your visit. The rest of your evening will be spent enjoying dinner at a local restaurant & exploring the city’s cultural options.

Day 2: Havana

Today, visit the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples, an agency specializing in relations with international guests. Then, drive to the Ministry of Public Health to discuss Cuba’s healthcare system. After lunch, visit a family physician’s office to learn about disease prevention & Cuba’s maternal-infant & senior care programs. Return to your hotel & enjoy dinner, followed by an evening walking around the city.

Day 3: Havana

After breakfast, take a walk around Old Havana to marvel at the architecture, visit a few public squares & dine at one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite restaurants. Next, visit the Leonor Perez maternity home to learn how the city addresses the needs of underprivileged pregnant women. Meet local artisans at the Almacenes de San Jose market & return to the hotel for dinner. The evening is free to explore cultural activities. 

Day 4: Pinar del Rio

Hop on your coach to Pinar del Rio, a city about two hours away from the capital. Here, you will begin your day visiting students training to become health care specialists. After lunch, stop by a few primary healthcare training centers to see how international students are prepared for the field. Check in to your hotel, eat & meet with members of the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution - a group of men & women committed to protecting their communities from “counter-revolutionary” activity.  

Day 5: Artemisa - Havana

Travel about an hour outside of Havana to the province of Artemisa where groups can spend the day at the Las Terrazas biosphere reserve. This is an eco-community of farmers, doctors, shop owners & families living in the Sierra del Rosario mountains. Students can meet with doctors & nurses at the medical center to discuss their healthcare practice within the community. Return to Havana, stopping by the Buena Vista Coffee Plantation to see the process of growing & manufacturing coffee beans. Check in to your hotel & enjoy the evening at your leisure. 

Day 6: Havana

Begin your day at the Center for Prevention, meeting with specialists to discuss STI/HIV/AIDS prevention & sexual education. Then, visit the National Center for Sex Education to talk with professionals about sex education policies in Cuba. This includes information on the efforts to aid the LGBTQ community in Cuba. After lunch, visit a local health management training center & learn about mental health at a nearby organization. You will then meet with your guides to reflect on your time in Cuba & enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. 

Day 7: Havana

Check out of your hotel & depart for Jose Marti International Airport.