We are Taught in Order to Learn, We Learn in Order to Teach..

Illness, Wellness, and Healing

Course Description:  Concepts of illness, wellness, and healing reflect the societies and cultures in which they are found. This course compares ways in which a variety of Western (e.g., France, Germany, and the United States) and non-Western (South American, African) societies and cultures think about and institutionalize health and illness.  Selected topics include:  the history of medicine, changing health and nutritional status from human prehistory to the present, social and cultural definitions of health and illness, ritual healing practices, ethnomedicine, epidemiology, the relationships of social organization and stratification to health and illness; and the social and personal construction of medical knowledge.


Course Objectives:

  • Apply critical thinking skills as they learn to analyze the ways in which illness and wellness are socially and culturally constructed.
  • Conduct research using a variety of sociological and anthropological journals,
  • Develop writing skills in production of a research report, and will enhance verbal and nonverbal communication skills in presenting information in individual presentations.
  • Use both sociological and anthropological perspectives in the analysis of illness and wellness.
  • Understand many of the issues in the contemporary debate dealing with the delivery of health care
  • Learn and reflect on personal wellness practices through writing assignments.

According to Dr. Robert Heiner, wellness courses such as this one are important because they provide opportunities for students to identify connections between life choices, personal wellness and a field of study. Students learn how to develop an appreciation for the connection between mind and body and make a commitment to life skills and life style choices.  This is learned through content and assignments from several dimensions of societal and personal wellness and their interrelationships. In this course, students will learn to show how models of illness, wellness, and healing reflect the Western and non-Western societies and cultures in which these models are found.


What I Found Most Interesting:

Through out this semester what I found myself hooked on and continuing further research pertaining to medicine and disease in the third world. I found it to be extremely intriguing to learn the diverse effects of this multi-billion-dollar industry through out the world. Specifically, I had the opportunity to research AIDS within Africa. It was shocking to compare how much more advanced and funded other countries are in comparison. Lectures and assignments in class like this are what fuel my interest in global health and helping others.


Principles of Health

Course Description:

An introductory course that explores the fundamental issues related to health. Learning outcomes include understanding all the dimensions of health, the overarching foundations of health behaviors, how to access health literature, national health behavior guidelines/recommendations as well as how to begin exploring health behaviors through the use of various theories and models in health promotion.


Course Objectives:

  • Discuss health in terms of its dimensions and historical, current and future perspectives.
  • Explain the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing chronic disease and promoting wellness.
  • Discuss the health status of various populations.
  • Understand and analyze health behavior guidelines/recommendations and use these to promote healthy behaviors in various populations.
  • Discuss various introductory behavior change models and theories and apply these theories and models to understand and promote effective health behavior change in one’s self and others.
  • Identify and evaluate the various barriers and facilitators that influence health behaviors.
  • Provide an overarching explanation of how the following behaviors impact personal health: physical activity, nutrition, tobacco/alcohol/drug use, safe sex practices, and disease/health care management.
  • Evaluate sources of health information to determine reliability.
  • Perform a literature search and review.

What I Found Most Interesting:

As the final weeks of class have started to end I recently found myself in awe of the sexual assault and rape culture here in the United States, particularly in college. I wish to learn more about this issue b

oth in the United States and abroad. While working with families in El Salvador I listened to the stories of how rape was common and women didn’t stand a chance at reporting this issue because without their husbands they would be financially unstable. Similarly, in many instances of sexual assault and rape on the college campus, victims don’t report because their cases typically don’t get brought to trial due to the fact universities are trying to keep a good reputation. I wish to continue research and compare and contrast rape culture effects those in the U.S and beyond.

Slutwalk London - Stop Victim Blaming

RIP Nirbhaya. (UNiTE to End Violence against Women and girls!)


Doing Interdisciplinary Mixed Methods Health Care Research: Working the Boundaries, Tensions, and Synergistic Potential of Team-Based Research:

One of the most talked about subjects of study in terms of interdisciplinary studies is the health care field. This article written by Sharlene Hesse-Biber depicts the current trends in health care research, focusing on the process of how is has shifted from models of disciplinary to interdisciplinary team-based mixed methods inquiry designs. Over time different factors and issues were compared and contrasted to see which were most efficient when facilitating interdisciplinary mixed methods team-based research. More specifically, how disciplinary can keep one in their comfort zones, lack attention to team dynamics and low levels of reflexivity which can alter the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary team.

Due to the fact that health care systems are very complex and ever changing, it is important to have a collaborative interdisciplinary team ready to conduct research on each aspect of the study. This will promote innovative research environments which could potentially undercover new research methods creating a new means of diverse research.

Mixed Methods Research

The idea of mixed methods research parallels with interdisciplinary research teams. It provides “the flexiblity and power of inquiry needed needed to tackle complex analytical and interpretive issues, given its multi-methodological pragmatic approach and wide range of applications”.  In an easier sense, this mean when conducting research, it includes collecting, analyzing and integrating quantitative research and qualitative research. Quantitative research is important because it involves experiments and surveys as well as qualitative which focuses on groups of people and individual interviews all of which strengthen the main point of research in collaboration.

Personal Interdisciplinary Experience

According to the Plymouth State University’s textbook; Interdisciplinary Studies: A connected learning approach the term interdisciplinarity can be defined as the incorporation of several fields of study to allow collabortation among diverse disciplines to either specify or broaden students’ education, to gain understanding, and/or to problem solve. And the term interdiscipline is defined as a field that emerges when two or more disciplines are combined. Referring back to mixed methods health care research these two terms both seem to have a common theme. This being the more information a team collects, the stronger and more diverse the research will be presented.

Interested in the full read? Click here for more information!

Be The Change, Be Multidisciplinary

Epilogos Charities has been involved with rural community development, with all projects initiated and implemented with Salvadoran collaboration and partnership since 2002. Project recipients in El Salvador contribute at least 30% of the project cost through manual labor or financial contributions. We work in tandem with our Salvadoran partners, a nationally certified community development agency. We include the beneficiaries in all stages of the projects.

Epilogos Charities Inc. has a community development strategy that is built for long-term success. Things are not given away – they are worked for, exchanged, or bought for low prices. “When a community gives its blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish the construction of a building, it will not allow this building to fall into disrepair.


Some of the main focal points of help and service when traveling to El Salvador which deems this as multi-disciplinary are: education, health/nutrition, housing, water/energy/environment and work skills training. Within each component are member who have leadership in this particular area of expertise together each member works in collaboration to have a successful organization.



Prior to Epilogos beginning work in San Jose Villanueva, El Salvador there were no computers in the village, no literacy classes and no scholarships. We have come a long way:

  • Hundreds of needy children who would have dropped out of school have received educational financial support, uniforms, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and learning aids.
  • Three village schools now have state-of-the-art computer systems and new facilities.
  • 1500 students have newly constructed, fully equipped science labs.
  • 1200 students have a new internal lending library with hundreds of books and educational CDs.
  • Unschooled adults and youth attend literacy classes.
  • Local art, English, and science teachers are learning new classroom skills from U.S. volunteer teachers.
  • Various schools now provide healthy lunches and snacks to more than 800 needy children.
  • Volunteers and school youth and their families created sturdy foundations for a future gymnasium that will have a stage, bleachers, and a large roof when completed.
  • More than 50 students are able to attend high school and primary grades each year through donations for educational aid


If you would like to sponsor students so they can attend school, the cost is:
– $180 for high school for a year
– $150 for grades 8-9 for a year
– $90 for grades K-7 for a year




With the help of Epilogos, the village of San Jose Villanueva has been given health care throughout the community. Some of medical accomplishments overtime:

  • The village has a complete dental clinic and welcomes visits by U.S. volunteer dentists
  • Various U.S. volunteer medical professionals conduct rural health clinics several times a year
  • Many groups bring purchased or donated medical equipment and medicine
  • Health professionals donate mosquito nets and home water purification units to those who otherwise can’t afford them
  • Families of dying patients have transportation to the hospice; the costs of caskets and burial are donated
  • Hundreds of villagers have received eye exams, glasses, and surgeries at reduced cost; thanks to donations from U.S. professional groups; a nonprofit eye care facility in the capital city has thousands of eyeglasses


Building Homes

In this community it is common to see houses made of cardboard, tin, and plastic tarps… the efforts of Epilogos have:

  • More than 100 cement block houses have been constructed for the “working poor” who can manage minimal monthly payments
  • 24 prefabricated cement houses, complete with double compost latrines, have been erected for people who own their land but have incomes less than $800 per year


Water, Energy & Environment

It is common in rural parts of El Salvador for families to bathe and wash their clothing in contaminated rivers that also serve as toilets for cows, horses, and people. Streets are strewn with trash because there aren’t many trash receptacles in the entire village. Many parts of the village has no electricity or running water. Today:

  • Five communities have environmentally friendly public wash stations.
  • A solar system provides light before sunrise and after sunset for the new steps that go down to the wash stations.
  • More than 300 families have household water purification filters for cooking and drinking.
  • Most households and some schools in the village center now have recycling bins.
  • The streets are much cleaner.
  • An entire water delivery and purification system has been installed in an area with no electricity, an incredible effort by the community whose pride and dignity have been enhanced by their volunteer labor and funding.
  • Many families who had no electricity now have solar energy in their homes and community centers.

Work Training Skills

Epilogos works to help members of this community become self sufficient by providing a new skills they can use daily. Examples include:

  • A small business cooperative is making a profit from harvesting shrimp and tilapia and selling seafood dinners in a rural restaurant. Training and ongoing support continues in collaboration with local agencies.
  • Several women work in local bakeries after receiving training and three years of on-the-job experience. Others who also received training have a contract to provide healthy lunches and snacks to the local high school students.
  • Volunteers from the U.S. have worked with local carpenters, teaching them new skills and techniques. They also donated tools for future training workshops.
  • Seamstresses have trained women to measure, cut, and sew clothing on donated sewing machines.
  • Volunteers have taught women to embroider flour sacks and create angels, flowers, and wreaths from paper and corn husks. These industries bring in extra funds to help cover family expenses.
  • Several of the women use the income to make monthly payments on their houses, built through Habitat for Humanity.