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Cuba: Comparative Health Systems

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Application Deadline

Program Type

  • OHIO Credit

Academic Focus

  • Health Sciences


  • Cuba

Program Term

  • Spring Break

For more information, please contact:

Dan Skinner, Ph.D.
Program Director

Global Health Initiative

Emily Englehart
Program Coordinator, Office of Global Opportunities

Apply for this OHIO Credit Program


Immerse yourself in the language, culture and history of Cuba as you explore the Cuban health care system for one week over spring break.

Cuba is a dynamic nation with a health care system that has much to teach Americans. Experience this beautiful island country and its people as they begin their own journey out of decades of isolation. Learn how, despite limited resources, Cuba built a health care system known for its emphasis on prevention, universality, urban-rural parity, and a commitment to train health providers from other low-resource countries. Interact with local health care professionals at clinics in Havana and in a nearby rural village. Explore the culture, history, vistas, tastes, and sounds of Havana, a grand old but vibrant city by the sea.

Highlights and Excursions 

  • Guest lectures from medical providers across multiple disciplines (e.g., primary care, sports medicine, tropical disease) and public health experts that discuss prevention and management approaches (natural and traditional medicine as well as contemporary medicine) of several burdensome health diseases and conditions 
  • Historical guided tour of  Old Havana and the Malécon (Cuba’s famous seawall)
  • Salsa and Cuban dance lessons
  • Classic car garage visit and tour
  • Day trip to Las Terrazas, a small rural community of sustainable development cataloged by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve.
  • Trips to La Fábrica de Arte Cubano (night club and art gala) and and San Jose Art Fair
  • Hiking and swimming opportunities at Rio San Juan and Guanabo

Important to Know

  • Due to requirements to get the Cuban Visa and book group airfare, participants will need to have their passport by November 2023. Applicants should apply immediately as this process can take several months. 

Living Arrangements 

Lodging with other students in residencias–private rooms with shared space in Cuban families’ homes. Breakfast will be taken together in the home where you’re staying; lunch will be with the group between activities while students will venture out each evening for dinner as a group. Residencias are located right off one of the main thoroughfares in the Havana neighborhood of Vedado. In each residencia, students will be housed in double, triple or quad rooms, sharing a bathroom. Each residencia has a small safe/security box for students' valuables.

Program Dates 

March 9 - March 17, 2024


Students register for 3 credits of undergraduate or graduate credit. Students choose one of the following:   

  • IHS 3222: Comparative Health Systems (3 OHIO Credits)
  • IHS 3934 Interprofessional Experiential learning (3 OHIO Credits)
  • IHS 4900: Special Topics in HSP (3 OHIO Credits)
  • IHS 5222: Comparative Health Systems (3 OHIO Credits)
  • IHS 5900: Special Topics in HSP (3 OHIO Credits)


The program fee for this program includes: Student airfare, accommodations, Cuban Visa, breakfast daily, five group meals, airport transfer, excursions, transportation to all program-related activities, welcome dinner, and international medical health insurance.

In addition to the program fee, students should plan for 3 credit hours of tuition*, administrative fee, and out-of-pocket costs. Below is the student budget worksheet for this program, which outlines these costs.  

Student Budget Worksheet - Spring Break 2024

Items that are not related to the program (ie. additional entertainment, souvenirs, extra travel, contingency funds) are not included in the cost estimates provided and should be budgeted for separately.  


  • If you are selected for this program, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of $500 (to be credited to student’s program fees) as part of the acceptance process/to confirm participation. This deposit is a down payment on the total costs to be billed by OHIO and is determined by the total cost of the program.
  • For programs completed over winter-break and spring break, the credit-hours associated with the program are part of the spring semester. Students taking between 12 to 20 Athens campus hours, including those associated with the program, will not incur additional tuition costs for the spring semester. Students taking less than 12 or more than 20 Athens campus credits for the spring term will see their tuition charge adjusted accordingly.  
  • Due to Cuban Visa requirements, a group flight from Columbus will be arranged and all participants must arrive and depart on the prearranged flights. 

Funding Opportunities

More information on financial aid and scholarships can be found on our funding pages. 

Heritage College of Medicine and College of Health Sciences and Professions students are invited to apply for a Global Health Travel Award for this program. 

Application Requirements 

This program requires applicants to submit:

  • Personal Statement - "Why are you interested in this experience and what do you hope to gain by participating?"
  • Contact Information for a reference who may be contacted regarding your application.
  • A brief Zoom interview with the program directors is required.

Eligibility Requirements 

Open to OHIO medical, nursing, and other health professions students with junior or senior standing in good academic standing (Heritage College) or at least a 3.0 overall GPA.

Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad. Read the entire conduct policy   

Participants must have a at least a high school diploma or the equivalent (e.g. GED) by the start date of the program to be considered for eligibility.  Students enrolled in College Credit Plus (CC+) are not eligible for study away programs.

Entry and Exit Requirements 

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,  apply for your passport  now. Some countries also require a visa to legally enter or reside in the country. Entry and exit requirements can be found  on the U.S. Department of State website.

U.S. citizens  will need a visa to enter the Cuba for. OGO's partner, API, will advise and supports students with the visa process. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to this program. Note: This is why passport information is needed in early November. 

For more specific visa related information, please visit OGO’s  Visa Information Page 

Information for  Non-U.S. citizens