Our 2023 Program

Rights of Women and Girls | Pediatric Therapy | Perspectives on MigrationEducational Engagementimg_9574

Program Objectives

  • To explore efforts to achieve social and occupational justice in Guatemala, a country with a history of ethnic and class violence
  • To question the role of global health and development programs in creating lasting change in support of health as a human right 
  • To explore the concept of “occupational justice” as an emerging practice area in occupational therapy, global health, and applied anthropology, focusing on occupational capacity
  • To examine health disparities in Guatemala through applied medical anthropology theory and human rights discourse
  • To understand the determinants of health and basic epidemiology in Guatemala
  • To provide a transdisciplinary fieldwork opportunity to students of occupational therapy, anthropology, and related subjects
  • To promote social justice through partnerships in and around Antigua, Guatemala, with NGOs, community groups, health care workers, and other social change agents


Our program balances academic engagement with critical scholarship on key topics relating to social and occupational justice with applied research and practice and the study of Spanish. Students study Spanish one-on-one with individual instructors at their own level and pace for a minimum of 9 hours per week.  In the case of students who are assessed as fluent Spanish speakers, alternate programming in Mayan languages will be made available.  Living in a home stay increases language fluency and understanding of Guatemalan culture.  Both the student home stays and Spanish instruction are organized through our partner Tecun Uman Spanish School.

Students participate in three weekly core seminars on topics that will provide important contextual information and theoretical perspectives through which we can query the current status and potential for advancement of social and occupational justice in Guatemala.  These seminars will include lectures presented by field school faculty, discussion of academic literature, and first-hand engagement with Guatemalan films and case studies.  Students will be asked to read one or more academic articles prior to seminar sessions.  Field school students will also have the opportunity for weekly interactions with Guatemalan scholars and policy advocates through guest speakers, who will be drawn from Guatemalan universities, human rights organizations, and international NGOs and governmental agencies.

2023 Project Groups

Rights of Women and Girls | Pediatric Therapy | Perspectives on MigrationEducational Engagement

Through Project Groups, students engage first-hand with research and practice in the promotion of social and occupational justice through working with the field school’s partner NGOs and other collaborators.  Each Project Group combines students from both anthropology and occupational therapy backgrounds and will be supervised by field school faculty, providing students the opportunity for individualized mentorship in field methods.

Sample Weekly Field School Schedule


Sample Topics for Core Seminars

(Seminars include lecture and discussion emphasizing our focus on social and occupational justice)
  • What is Occupational Therapy? Occupational Science? Applied Medical Anthropology? Global Health?
  • Overview of Guatemalan History and Culture; The Guatemalan Health System
  • Globalization, Ethnomedical Systems, and Treatment Evaluation
  • Political Economy of Infectious Disease and Undernutrition
  • Occupational Capacity and Ethnic Inequality
  • Development, Gender, and The Politics of Reproduction
  • Justice and Governance
  • Health as a Human Right
  • Sustainable Development and Global Health Paradigms