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Study Immigrant Health Issues (exciting online course)

PA 5451/ PH 5281 Flyer:IHI Flyer.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions

A four-credit (with final project) or three-credit (without final project), on-line computer-based course for public policy and health professionals. There are no meeting times for this class, although the instructor may invite students to an optional meeting during the semester. All other interaction takes place on the web site and in the community. Some students register through the School of Public Affairs (for PA5451), and some through Public Health (PH6281), but all students end up in the same virtual class.

Course Objectives:
1. Students will acquire research skills to access demographic, health and background
information on immigrants in the U.S.
2. Students will understand the major characteristics and health needs of new immigrants.
3. Students will be able to design 'culturally competent' health programs.
4. Students will learn to advocate for needed changes to promote immigrant health.

What's an 'on-line' course?

Immigrant Health Issues is a distance education, on-line course offered by the University of Minnesota. That means that students can enroll from anywhere in the United States, and take the class from their home or office computers. There is a class web site to which students have access once they register. On the web site is a wealth of information on immigrant and refugee health issues, and links to other materials on the topics covered in the class. Course texts are available from the U of M Bookstore. In addition to the texts students purchase videotapes with segments on each of the course 'modules'. These materials will be available in the U of M bookstore a few weeks before the beginning of the class. The videotape segments include taped interviews with immigrants and refugees, and with experts in the field such as Okokun Udo, former Executive Director of the Center for Cross Cultural Health in Minneapolis, Dr. Pat Walker, Medical Director of the Center for International Health at Regions Hospital, Kaying Hang of the Otto Bremer Foundation, and Jennifer Prestholdt of Advocates for Human Rights. Community visits to sites in your geographic area are an integral part of the course, and an opportunity to learn to become culturally competent.

There are no required meetings since students may reside anywhere in the United States. The schedule of course assignments follows the academic semester of the University of Minnesota.

Do we all need to be on the computers at the same time?

Students complete assignments, community visits and reading on the days and times that suit them best, but all weekly assignments are due on the same day so that students may read and comment upon their classmates' postingson the course web site. Additional interaction with the instructor and with other students occurs through the web site email system. There are times during the semester when we ask all students to log onto the web site chat room at the same time for an "on-line chat". Students can select an evening or daytime for these chats or "virtual meetings". It's important to note that assignments are due weekly, and that we all follow the same semester schedule for the course (in other words, it's not a course in which you work at your own pace), but some students do their postings on the web at 11 a.m., while others may do it at 11 p.m. (or at any time during the day or night).

What are the course requirements for 3-credit or 4-credit registration?

Because we are not meeting in person, our interactions are on the course web site. Each week there are brief quizzes on the reading, and assignments which involve posting something on the web site. These "postings" on the course bulletin board are our class discussions. In addition, students do web-based research, and make visits to interact with immigrants and refugees. These reading and research assignments can also be used to work on the final project (only for students taking the course for 4 credits; 3-credit students do not write a final project)

Final Project Instructions: (for students registered for 4 course credits)

Policy Recommendation Memo and supporting proposal: The final project will be a policy memo and supporting documents (total: 15-20 page, double spaced ) The memo and documents should highlight a specific health or access problem facing immigrants or refugees in the U.S., and propose a policy change that can be implemented by a specific individual or agency . legislative body. The proposal has a brief cover memo, and must be addressed to a real person on a real issue . In the past some students have reported that their memos resulted in substantive changes that improved services for immigrant families.

A few examples of the types of problems that could be examined would be:

 Lack of sufficient interpreters or culturally competent providers hospitals for the population.
 Severe deficiencies in trust of traditional providers among refugees
 Overcrowding in housing units leading to high eviction rates of immigrants.
 Low rates of enrollment into Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare
despite high eligibility rates on the part of particular groups.
 High dropout rates among first or second generation high school students.
 High volume use of the emergency room for primary or non-emergency
 High HIV or tuberculosis prevalence (or other preventable disease) among particular immigrant groups.
 High rates of domestic violence among particular immigrant groups.

Your intent in the design of the final project cover memo is to stress the importance of the problem, the practical nature of your proposal, the culturally appropriate design of the policy recommendations, and the urgency in considering and implementing your proposal. You are "lobbying" an individual or leadership of the agency or organization. Your memorandum will be graded on the sufficient inclusion of the components outlined below, as well as on how convincing your case is for consideration and implementation.

For more information.......On course content or requirements: contact Katherine Fennelly fenne007@umn.edu

Selected Quotes about the Class:

• "This course is up to date, and very relevant. I know without a doubt I will use many of the things I've learned in my future practice, and furthermore, I now have a resource to go to when these situations arise. There are a great many strengths about the course."

• "There are several unique things about this course. First, although Immigrant Health Issues it is an online class, it has provided wonderful opportunities for community work and interaction with other students, the instructor and the T.A. This makes the course especially valuable for working professionals because it combines the benefits of modern technology with those of the traditional learning techniques. Second, I was very impressed with the depth and breath of the curriculum. Both the curriculum and the learning environment have greatly contributed for this class to become a memorable learning experience. Finally, the instructor provided extremely helpful feedback and thoughtful answers to all my questions. "

• "The course provides a fair general overview of basic immigration issues. The website provided a lot of good resources for future reference that I may draw upon in the future. "

• "A lot of attention to detail, carefully constructed syllabus, a lot of relevant material, attentive teacher and TA, objective presentation, a variety of sources and media. "

• "Katherine seemed very involved with students, even though she also had a TA. I would occasionally receive an e-mail from her regarding my work with suggestions or specific encouragement. I really appreciate her level of involvement, especially considering the large class size. It is also very evident that she is passionate about the topic."

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