Posted by: calloftheandes | April 13, 2010

Public Health the Focus of Graduate-Level Course Taught in Ecuador

Dr. Stephen Hawthorne


Weaving together scientific fact, scriptural principles and experience as a physician to Bolivia, Dr. Steven Hawthorne, taught an intensive graduate-level course in Quito, Ecuador. Hawthorne is an adjunct professor with Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.

About three dozen people from across Ecuador attended the March 15-19 course offered by HCJB Global Hands’ community development department. The course focused on the history of public health, its vocabulary and principles of epidemiology—the study of diseases that affect populations. It was the fourth consecutive year Hawthorne has taught a community development course in Quito.

“What made the course especially valuable was its focus on Christian ethics and a biblical view of what public health work should look like,” said Maria Slater, a class participant from North Carolina. She is assisting as a working visitor in community development for a few months.

Hawthorne, an SIM International missionary operating a family practice clinic in Bolivia, taught much of the course material through personal stories of diseases and public health problems he has encountered. Earlier this year he taught the course in Thailand.

In Ecuador it was offered in conjunction with the Wheaton College Graduate School and the Universidad Técnico Particular de Loja (Technical University of Loja) in southern Ecuador. Academic credit was available from both universities. Four Ecuadorian professors each contributed a lecture.

One of Hawthorne’s texts was the Pan American Health Organization’s “Health in the Americas,” covering diseases and maladies ranging from those that can be prevented by vaccination to family and societal violence.

Pinpointing public health challenges in Ecuador at times, he also gave a broader picture of Latin America. Teaching his audience how to inform themselves, he referred to various websites that regularly update statistics and information on public health issues.

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