2015 Israel

‌Interprofessional global student course: Social justice and health, are they related in my community?

Winter 2015

Led by Corey Shdaimah, LLM, PhD, School of Social Work; Jane Libscomb, PhD, RN, FAAN, School of Nursing; Susan Leviton, JD, Carey School of Law


Students (school affiliation): Jasmyn Allen (law), Mary Biscoe (law), Linda Dicken (nursing), Nia Duggins (law), Abaneh Ebangwese (nursing), Donna Egbulum (social work/public health), Jaqueline Magidson (social work), Holly Mirabella (social work/law), Alexandria Moore (law), Rachael Parran (nursing), Carmen Polanco (nursing), Genevieve Umberger (nursing), Sarah Valentin (nursing)

Project goals:

Faculty members from the Schools of Social Work, Nursing and Law took an interprofessional team of thirteen students representing the fields of social work, law, public health and nursing to Israel to meet and work with colleagues and their students at Haifa University. The goals of the project were as follows: 1) examine the historical relevance of social movements and social struggles, 2) review alternate research methodologies for the study of social justice, 3) promote the research and practice of social justice, and 4) engage with faculty and students from both universities in joint social justice research and action projects. The research technique, photovoice, is a group analysis method using photography and grassroots social action, and was used by both University of Maryland Baltimore and Haifa University students as a sharing tool to discuss poverty in Haifa and Baltimore.

Project outcomes:

Students gained new insights during their work in Israel, learning in a new environment with colleagues from another culture and in conjunction with multiple professions. They gained a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between social justice and health issues. Further, the photovoice work heightened students' awareness of the social justice concerns in Baltimore and emphasized the global/local approach that can be used to broaden how we find solutions to address health and social disparities.

The UMB faculty leaders were able to provide an opportunity for their students to continue their collaborative work with the students and faculty of Haifa University through a grant awarded by the Straus Foundation. In the Spring of 2015, UMB reciprocated the learning opportunity and hosted nine students and faculty from the same Haifa University group. This exchange was a meaningful opportunity for each group to bring home messages about the differences and similarities of social justice and health issues between their two cities.

Student reflection:

"Traveling to Israel and participating in the interprofessional global health experience reinvigorated my passion for working in the Baltimore community. From a global perspective, I learned that our world is large and our cultures may be different, but we can learn from each other to improve the conditions in our own communities. From an interdisciplinary perspective, I learned that working collaboratively with other disciplines is an effective approach to tackling complex issues that negatively affect our communities. I am a better person and better nurse because of it." - Rachael Parran, School of Nursing