Students in the health and society major are encouraged to build on their coursework by taking advantage of opportunities tailored to their specific skills, interests, and goals. Individually-assigned faculty advisors aid students in designing their personal paths to discovery.

Ken's Ride Spring 2020 Volunteer/Internships

Ken’s Ride: A Ride of Hope is a bikeathon that seeks to raise awareness and donations to help to find cures for Prime of Life Brain Diseases (PSP, FTD, CBD, MSA, ALS). All of the proceeds the proceeds will be shared between CurePSP, a national organization that helps supports research efforts to find a cure and treatment and, and Franklin County Home Health, a local agency, that offers comprehensive health care within the home setting, including palliative and hospice care.

Volunteer with Steps to End Domestic Violence VT

Steps to End Domestic Violence VT is seeking volunteers for direct service on their domestic violence hotline. Twenty hours of training is required. Students interested in this volunteer opportunity should contact Bessie McManus.

  • Combining majors to prepare for public policy career

    Julia Carlson, who majored in Health and Society and Political Science, was part of the graduating class of 2021. In taking a global health class her first year at UVM, Carlson developed an interest in health systems and how health disparities can be addressed through policy and intervention. Learning about the new Health and Society program sparked Carlson’s interest in pursuing a graduate degree in public health. The interdisciplinary nature of the Health and Society major as well as its flexibility in allowing for a double major was appealing to her. For Carlson, being able to combine the social science of health with political science coursework provided a wonderful foundation for her future ambition to work within the public policy field. In the spring of 2018, Carlson worked as a research assistant at the UVM Medical Center on the “Vermont Family Based Approach and Obstetrics Study (VFBA/OB).” This study focused on peripartum women across a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Being a preventive intervention study, it offered a range of wellness activities for mothers and their babies to see how their participation affected their overall health and well-being. Through this experience, Carlson was able to gain valuable hands-on experience and she saw firsthand how public health measures were taken. In addition, she was able to develop transferable skills such as observational reporting, data entry, and analysis that she was able to take beyond UVM and into her future careers.”

Examples of Opportunities Health & Society Students Have Pursued:

Student Club-Vermont Student Assembly for Public Health

HSOC student, Madison Shaffer ‘20, saw a gap in local public health advocacy on campus and started the VtSAPH (Vermont Student Assembly for Public Health). VtSAPH is a club designed to cultivate a community for those interested in the field of public health to work together on public health and student-related issues within Vermont. Members in the club are provided information on how they can engage with the health of the community in Burlington and the greater Vermont area.

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There are opportunities to participate in community outreach projects with the goal of fostering sustainable change in these areas. For example, we have partnered with the Community Health Centers of Burlington and are helping with meal preparation for their new Low-Barrier Homeless Shelter. Other opportunities include educational events such as webinars, speakers and documentary screenings, that serve to empower our members with information about the field of public health.

Unite For Sight Fellowship

For one month in the summer of 2017, Madison Schaffer ’20 worked as a Global Impact Fellow in Ghana, traveling and learning from a local eye clinic. This opportunity was facilitated by Unite For Sight (UFS), an NGO that supports eye clinics worldwide by investing human and financial resources in their social ventures to eliminate patient barriers to eye care.
The fellowship is a hands-on, immersive, and unique global health experience. As a Global Health fellow Madison learned first-hard about best practices in public health, international development, cultural competency, and cross-cultural communication.

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UFS provided extensive pre-departure training which included online language, optical anatomy, and cultural competency courses. While in Ghana, fellows participated with and learned from Unite For Sight’s talented local partner doctors. The fellows assisted with patient intake, tested visual acuity, observed surgeries, distributed glasses and medication, and assisted with patient education. Each day the outreach team provided care to 100-300 patients in villages, slums, and refugee camps.

The organization partners with local eye clinics that struggle to reach rural populations. UFS provides year-round health care delivery in Ghana, India, and Honduras. To date, Unite for Sight and its partner local doctors have provided care for nearly 1.8 million patients living in poverty, including more than 80,000 sight-restoring surgeries.

The money raised by UFS goes towards subsidizing the medications and eye glasses for the clinics to distribute. The glasses and eye drops are then sold to patients who require them for a significantly lower price. Friends Eye Center, the clinic Madison worked with, was based in Kumasi. With the help of Unite For Sight the clinic is able to travel to rural areas and have an outpost clinic in Tamale, further north. Shaffer says: “This experience helped me apply things I’ve learned in my HSOC classes at UVM. Anthropology 089, Global Health Development and Diversity, taught me to look closely at NGO’s and to cast a critical gaze on Unite For Sight. My classes have provided me with a diverse tool kit with which to approach and process this experience.”

To apply to Unite For Sight, visit the website and click on the Volunteer Abroad tab.