AIEA Thematic Forum on Global Health

Improving the Quality and Value of Short-term Student Experiences in Global Health: An AIEA Thematic Forum

Lehigh University
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 
December 5-6, 2017

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Thousands of students participate each year in short-term global health activities, yet these programs have been the object of growing criticism focused on lack of real impact and the potential for harm. This affects both the volunteers and the host communities, making the risk for sponsor organizations a growing concern among administrators, educators, and legislatures. Leaders involved in short-term international health experiences have developed guidelines for best practices, yet research suggests that most programs do not follow them. And potential volunteers, host partners, and college and university officials wanting to know which organizations to approve or recommend do not have useful sources to identify the best (or the worst) programs.

Led by Lehigh University professor Judith Lasker, author of Hoping to Help; the Promises and Pitfalls of Global Health Volunteering, this forum brings together speakers representing the cutting edge of research and practice in this field and provides an opportunity for attendees to formulate strategies to ensure the highest quality opportunities for students. It is of urgent relevance to staff and faculty in international education, study abroad, global health and development studies, pre-health advising, graduate health professional schools, and service learning who want to provide the most valuable experiences for their students and the most value to host communities. 

Registration fee is $50. 

About Lehigh University

Lehigh University Maps and Directions

Recognized among the nation’s premier research universities, Lehigh University offers a rigorous academic program and dynamic campus environment for more than 7,000 students.

Founded in 1865, the university has four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and the College of Education. The university offers more than 100 undergraduate degree programs and 13 master’s and doctorate-level programs.

Lehigh is home to nearly 700 faculty members, 64 percent of whom are tenured. Ninety-nine percent of tenure-track faculty hold a doctorate or the highest degree in their field. The university is renowned both for its wide-ranging interdisciplinary programs and for its commitment to providing research experiences for students. More than 1,000 Lehigh undergraduates take part in research each year, with dozens receiving grants in support of their own work.

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About Our City

Lehigh is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, a vibrant and historic community located a short drive from New York City and Philadelphia. The city of Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by a small group of Moravians, a Protestant religion, giving it the nickname The Christmas City. 

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, it was known as an industrial hub, home to Bethlehem Steel. After the steel factory closed in 1995, the city reinvented itself as a destination for arts and culture, a transformation best illustrated by ArtsQuest’s SteelStacks, an arts and music venue located at the heart of the former Bethlehem steel plant. It’s also home to high-tech manufacturing and a hub of entrepreneurship.

The Lehigh River divides the city into the North Side, with historic buildings from the original Moravian settlement and quaint cobblestone streets, and the South Side, a bustling multicultural community anchored by Lehigh University. Both have plenty of restaurants and shops, and three bridges span the river, making it easy to walk between the two different but complementary downtowns.

City of Bethlehem

Discover Lehigh Valley

Local Tours

Christmas in Bethlehem

Christkindlmarkt Christmas Market

Conference Speakers

Judith Lasker, Ph.D.
NEH Distinguished Professor of Sociology
Lehigh University

Cheryl Matherly, Ed.D.
Vice President and Vice Provost for International Affairs
Lehigh University

Jessica Evert, M.D.
Executive Director
Child Family Health International Chair, Global Health Competency Sub-Committee
Consortium of Universities for Global Health
Clinical Instructor
UCSF School of Medicine

Eric Hartman, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Center for Peace and Global Citizenship
Haverford College

Shailey Prasad, M.D., M.P.H.
Executive Director, Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility 
University of Minnesota

Sarah Stanlick, Ph.D. 
Director, Center for Community Engagement, and Professor of Practice in Sociology and Anthropology
Lehigh University

Noelle Sullivan, Ph.D. 
Assistant Professor of Instruction in Global Health and Anthropology
Northwestern University

Tricia Todd, M.P.H. 
Interim Director, Health Careers Center
University of Minnesota