New study abroad program addresses global health issues in Ghana

The University of Oregon’s AHA International is partnering with professor Janis Weeks to offer a new study abroad program in Accra, Ghana, for students interested in global health and development issues.

Students in the program will take courses in health and development in Ghana, as well as contemporary issues facing the country and Twi, Ghana’s most commonly spoken language. Students will enroll in a service learning or internship experience of their choice three days a week with one of more than 30 community-based institutions in fields related to health, environment, education, youth, gender and various other areas.

Weeks is excited about the new program in Ghana because she sees it as a sign of increasing interest in global health at the UO. She currently teaches two courses on natural science in global health, and sees the new program in Ghana as a good opportunity for more science majors to study abroad.

If you speak English, Ghana is a perfect entry to live in – it is peaceful, stable and an overall wonderful destination” said Weeks.

Weeks’ course – titled “Tropical Disease: Ghana” – will be available in Accra for the fall of 2014. The course will focus on infectious and parasitic diseases in Africa, specifically looking at two diseases with a high impact in Ghana including rampant worm infections.

Weeks is a neuroscientist, professor of biology at the UO and member of the African Studies Program. She has been involved in building research and education capacity in Africa for nearly 20 years. Her research, which focuses on technologies for discovering new drugs against devastating worm infections in humans, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Weeks hopes the program will keep building momentum and is excited to interact with the students who participate in the weeks she is there.

Students interested in the program can apply online. The deadline to apply for fall is May 1.

- by Katherine Cook, Office of Public Affairs Communications intern