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  • Locations: Mona, Jamaica
  • Program Terms: Winter
  • Restrictions: UB applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Winter
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Open to: UB students only Language of Instruction: English
Minimum GPA: 3.0 Eligibility: Juniors, Seniors, Sophomores
Area of Study: Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Public Health Term: Winter
Credits: 3 Global Pathway UB Areas: Civilization and History
Program Description:

Behavior Driven Disease: A Global Epidemic

Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. It was a Spanish colony from 1494 to 1655, then under British rule from 1655 to 1962. Its history is rich and vibrant and is influenced greatly by a mix of different cultures – West African, British, Asian, and East Indian. This led to the creation of the national motto; “Out of many people we are one.” Jamaica still reflects its British heritage – the official language is English, although a local dialect called patois (a combination of many different languages) is quite common. The University of the West Indies, is located in the northern suburbs of Kingston, and was built on the grounds of two 300 year-old sugar plantations. Many remnants of stone buildings, aqueducts and other artifacts from this time period still exist.

University of West Indies
This experiential learning program will enable undergraduate students in health related fields to compare obesity prevalence (and accompanying behavior-driven disease) between a culture they would typically not know (Jamaica) and our culture in the United States. Students will spend 2 days in Buffalo reviewing and discussing basic concepts and theories, and then travel to The University of the West Indies (UWI) in Mona, Jamaica for 2 weeks. Using UWI as a base, we will visit different sites around the island, observe and interact with the population, and medical staff and patients at community health clinics and hospitals.
JamaicaCHB 210/PUB 211 is intended for undergraduate students majoring in health-related areas. These include, but are not limited to, Pre-medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Occupational Therapy, and selected areas in social sciences that emphasize behavior modification. In addition, this course has been approved to satisfy the UB Curriculum Global Pathway requirement for the Civilization and History UB Area.

The course is an intensive 3-credit elective that allows student participants to explore how lifestyle choices related to food intake and physical activity levels are linked to obesity from 2 perspectives – the United States and Jamaica.  The U.S. has one of the highest obesity rates in the world – approximately 37% of the adult population is obese. Jamaica’s rate is currently much less, but is rapidly increasing and is now a major public health concern.
The major objectives are to have the students identify and describe factors that contribute to the lower prevalence in Jamaica, but more importantly to elucidate circumstances that surround the recent precipitous increase in obesity and associated chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. To satisfy these objectives, students learn how the divergence of cultural and biologic evolution in western society has created an environment of abundance and comfort, leading to widespread overconsumption of food and physical inactivity. In Jamaica, participants will interact with faculty and students in health-related disciplines at UWI, explore markets and farms in the area to determine the availability and cost of fresh food, and visit various restaurants and other food outlets to assess nutritional value of prepared food. Through observation, immersion, and survey, students will explore daily physical activity patterns among individuals in different settings – urban vs rural – and make comparisons. Students will also engage and interact with obesity practitioners and patients during visits to community health clinics and hospitals.
Students are divided into groups of 4 and each group keeps a daily log and spend most evenings and nights reflecting on and documenting their experiences. A major requirement is to complete a comprehensive written paper that addresses each of four specific objectives. Additionally, each group is supplied with a GoPro video recorder and asked to create a short video presentation that tells the story of Jamaican lifestyle and the impact of changes over time on the sudden and precipitous rise in behavior-driven disease.

Please refer to the CHB 210/PUB 211: Behavior Driven Disease - A Global Epidemic Winter 2020 Syllabus. In addition, please read the Jamaica Winter 2020 Study Abroad Program Guide for more  information and note that this will be made available to students accepted to the program through the online application system.
For most of the program, students will stay in dormitories at the University of the West Indies. There will also be a single overnight stay away from the campus at a resort on the south coast of the island.
Estimated costs for this program can be found at the top of this page next to Budget Sheets by clicking on Winter.

UB students are encouraged to apply for study abroad scholarships. To learn more about the scholarships available to UB students, please visit our scholarships page.
Please contact the Faculty Program Director:

Dr. Harold Burton

Or contact:

Kathryn A. DeCecco 
Study Abroad Advisor 
Phone: (716) 645-2143 

Walk-in appointments at the Study Abroad Programs office are also welcome Monday through Friday, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. in 201 Talbert Hall. 

This program is currently not accepting applications.