School of Nursing Newsletter

International Travel: Cuba and Belize


In October 2015, five SON faculty researched opportunities for taking students to Cuba for a short-term study abroad experience. After months of communications with medical professionals and others who had visited Cuba with students, the small exploratory group received approval from the office of the SON director and the CHHS dean to undertake a six-day trip.

Cuba and Faculty PhotoIn May 2016 nine faculty and two administrators from CHHS traveled to Havana, Cuba, to explore the healthcare system, nursing education programs and the culture of Cuba. This included visits and presentations at the Revolution Museum; the government-sanctioned Cuban Institute for Friendship with the People; the Ministry of Health; the University of Havana nursing school; a “policlinic” (a community clinic requiring physician referral); the Psychiatric Institute; the Havana Orthopedic Hospital; and one of the few non-government-owned entities that provides a program for adults with Down syndrome. 

The Cuban revolution in 1959 resulted in mandates for a stronger education and healthcare system focused on prevention and primary care run solely by the government.

The CHHS group met at length with the University of Havana nursing school faculty and discovered that their students study nursing in curricula that are very similar. However, the Cuban students do not have a national licensing examination for practice. The Cuban nursing education program also provides a MSN focused on research, although there is at present no program available to train nurse practitioners.

The Cuban nursing faculty expressed a strong interest in having our students collaborate with their students on research projects. One possible topic would be a comparison of the U.S. and Cuban healthcare systems and community and cultural exploration of the Cuban culture. Currently opportunities for collaboration are being explored with administrators from the University of Havana to organize a short-term Cuban study abroad program for SON students during the fall ’17 semester.


Image of BelizeIn March 2017, 18 graduate and prelicensure nursing students will travel will travel to Belize during spring break to provide health care to some of the poorest people of Belize. Jane Fox, Susan Marshall and Stephanie Turrise are the faculty who will lead this expedition.