Public Health in Colombia

Uniandes logo intl yellow copyThis 3-week intensive summer course explores Public Health in Colombia within the context of the country’s armed conflict and recent peace agreement.

Through a series of lectures, seminars by guest speakers, and site visits to medical, governmental, and educational organizations, students will explore the country’s Public Health provision, its challenges and successes, and the impact of the recent peace agreement on access to healthcare throughout the country.

The course is open to undergraduate and masters students from a Public Health, Medicine, Psychology, or related Social Science background, and to students interested in pursuing careers in international development and healthcare governance.

Public Health in Colombia Internship Program
We are delighted to announce the launch of our Public Health Internships this summer. We are offering participants the chance to extend their stay in Colombia and gain practical work experience opportunities. You can download more information here or send us an email to find out what options are available.

We have currently paused recruitment due to the pandemic but would still love to hear from you if you’d like to join the course in future. Please get in  touch to request an application or to find out more.

Academic Content

Taught in English with an interdisciplinary approach, the program will be delivered by academics from different backgrounds, including physicians and politics, economics, and public health academics.  The in-class lectures will guide students through case studies taken from their own research projects.

The program incorporates sociocultural site visits to governmental and educational organizations such as the Ministry of Health, the National Center of Historical Memory, the Military Center for Rehabilitation, family planning and non-profit organizations (NGOs), the Association of Midwives, the Epidemiology Surveillance System, health management organizations, and public and private hospitals.

The three-week academic program will be supplemented by the additional evening and weekend social and cultural activities.

Students will generally have morning sessions taught on campus, where Professors will use diverse methodologies to teach the program modules, including case studies, class discussions and presentations. The afternoons will normally be dedicated to the site visits and academic excursions.

Following successful completion of the course, students will be provided with a certificate and a transcript to apply for credits at their home university if required.

Universidad de Los Andes

Universidad de los Andes is an innovative, independent and autonomous institution known for its academic excellence. Uniandes is the highest ranked University in Colombia, and is ranked in the top ten in Latin America according to both the QS (7th) and the USNWR (6th) world rankings.

Universidad de Los Andes CampusSince it was founded in 1948, Universidad de los Andes has fostered a global outlook with a highly-qualified international academic team and numerous overseas academic partnerships.

It provides a welcoming and supportive environment for students and is a fantastic choice for international study.

The Course Schedule


The course will begin with a critical analysis of the Colombian healthcare system structure. Students will discuss the challenges and successes of health policy and public health provision in Colombia, and the impact of current policies on different sectors of society. Practical site visits will provide students with the opportunity to learn how different institutions navigate the system, and will enable participants to formulate their own perspectives on the overall status of health policy and public health in Colombia.


During week 2, the course will examine a wide selection of Public Health challenges facing the country. Since 1958 an estimated 220,000 people have died in Colombia due to the civil conflict and more than six million have been forcibly displaced. Students will analyze how this conflict has affected the health of the population and impacted on the healthcare system itself.  They will explore recent challenges such as the arrival of many Venezuelans migrants since 2018, and the access to healthcare and medicines for rural populations and remote communities. Site visits will include the Red Cross in Colombia, the National Institute of Health’s Surveillance System (SIVIGILA), Administrative Department of National Statistics (DANE), National Cancer Institute, Profamilia (women’s reproductive center), and non-governmental organizations working with communities affected by the conflict, and with Venezuelan migrants.


The final module of the course will focus on how the National Healthcare System in Colombia has evolved and how the system and the country have responded to historical and current public health challenges. Site visits will include the National Health Observatory and other health care providers that have offered innovative solutions to the challenges. Students will work with communities affected by conflict or with migrant population to co-design healthcare solutions according to their context and needs.

The Program Package

The course includes an accommodation package and a busy calendar of social activities so that you can get to know your fellow students as you explore Bogota.

Students are housed as a group alongside our 2020 Peacebuilding in Colombia cohort in this fantastic hall of residence, just a few moments walk from campus. Red Tree Study’s program coordinators will be housed in the same accommodation for the duration of the course and will be on hand to help with any questions and in case of emergency.

The evening and weekend social program includes a variety of activities – from excursions to discover Colombia’s beautiful landscapes to group meals offering participants the chance to sample typical Colombian cuisine. These activities are carefully selected to enrich your understanding and enjoyment of the country. For more details, check out these 2016 program and 2017 program photo galleries, or send us an email.

Next summer’s course will run from Monday 7 June until Friday 25 June 2021. An induction session, providing you with essential information about the course, social activities, and studying in Colombia, will take place at the student residence on Monday 7 June 2021. Accommodation will be provided from Monday 7 June until Friday 25 June inclusive.

Price per participant: $3,900 USD. To find out more, or to register for an application, please contact us.