Ecuador: Social, Environmental, and Cultural Determinants of Health

Travel to Quito, Ecuador to experience the diverse nature of global health and development and their impacts on Ecuadorian and Latin American life.

In this 2-week course (GHSR 6723), participants will learn about public health & health care infrastructure in Ecuador, including western & Indigenous health practices. Through field visits and classes with local faculty, students will experience key health topics in urban, rural, and Indigenous settings in Andean Ecuador. This course is taught in partnership with Fundación Cimas del Ecuador. 





"Ecuador, located on the Pacific coast of South America, is a country where biodiversity, multi-culturalism, and the warmth of the Ecuadorian people combine to make a unique and colorful nation.

"In this context, Fundación Cimas del Ecuador provides academic programs that enable students to think critically about development and its impacts on Ecuadorian and Latin American life. CIMAS’s academic programs link with research projects and communities in the search for an alternative type of development based on human welfare and a respect for nature."

Read more from Fundación Cimas

Panorama view of the city of Ecuador from on top of a hill and monument site




Discover How to Apply

This is a 2-credit course, occurring May 14–26, 2023. The course is available for academic credit or non-credit enrollment, open to University of Minnesota graduate and professional students as well as UMN alumni, faculty, and staff, and non-UMN community learners. To learn more, watch the Information Session recording or view the slides

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This course is open to: 

  • University of Minnesota graduate and professional students (post-baccalaureate)
  • University of Minnesota faculty, staff, and alumni
  • External community learners with interest and/or experience in health-related careers

All participants must apply, and have instructor approval, before they will be able to register. 

Proficiency in Spanish language is not required to be eligible to participate. 

Credit & Requirements

UMN Students: Academic credit is available to UMN graduate students (2 credits) for the course GHSR 6723. It is up to the student to confer with their academic unit to determine if it meets their specific program requirements. Students may be allowed to apply this program to other academic requirements per approval by their unit.

Non-UMN Students: Faculty, staff, and alumni, and community learners may participate for non-credit enrollment.


Students must arrive in Quito, Ecuador on Saturday, May 13 and stay through Friday, May 26. There will be a pre-departure orientation in April and a post-course debrief session in summer or fall (dates TBD per student availability).

All participants (credit and non-credit) are expected to complete the following assignments:

  • Personal reflection and group debrief activities
  • In-class discussion and participation
  • Group presentation
  • Professional poster creation

Program Fee

In addition to regular tuition rates for the 2-credit course, there is also a program fee for all participants in this course. 

  • 2023 course fee: $3,000
  • Includes instruction, accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and CISI insurance 
  • Students may also register as non-credit learners and forego the 2 credit with GHSR 6723

CGHSR will offer various scholarships ranging from $500–$2,000 for this course. Additional scholarships may also be available from students' department or college. Contact CGHSR for additional details.

Additional costs not included in program fee: 

  • Academic credit (2 credits)
  • Airfare
  • Passport/photos
  • Immunizations 
  • Some meals
  • Essential daily living expenses

Dates and Location

The course is held each year during May term.

2022-2023 Dates

  • Course dates: May 14 – 26, 2023
  • Expected travel dates: Students must arrive in Quito, Ecuador, on Saturday, May 13, and stay through Friday, May 26.
  • There is also a pre-departure orientation in April to review travel logistics, and a post-course debrief session in summer or fall 2023 (dates TBD).
  • The daily schedule and meeting times vary by day while in Quito. The full schedule will be shared in the course syllabus prior to departure. 


Course enrollment is limited to 20 participants. All interested participants must fill out the application. Following review, they will be given instructions to register with the Learning Abroad Center. 

Application Process

  • Download and fill out the application form document (above). When it is finished, upload it on the online application.
  • Initial application review will begin in March, and then continue on a rolling basis.
  • Once accepted, program staff will provide participants with instructions on how to complete the registration.
  • If the course is full, applications will remain open until a sufficient wait list is obtained.



Host Organizations

This course is offered in partnership with Fundación Cimas del Ecuador, a nonprofit organization that provides academic programs for students around the world. CIMAS’s academic programs link research projects and communities together in a search for an alternative type of development based on human welfare and a respect for nature.

Logo with green mountains and a sunrise on a bright yellow background. "Fundacion Cimas del Ecuador" reads at the bottom
Go Safe Logo

Program health and safety information is available at GO SAFE.