June 22, 2024

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Immersion and Study Abroad | Medicine, Health, and Society Website

5 min read

Immersion is… an opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue their passions and interests through experiential learning. Starting with MHS concentrations, students can explore opportunities like civil and professional development, creative expression, international internships, or research to take their studies to the next level.

Study Abroad

There are numerous programs of study across the globe that offer courses that can be used toward MHS elective credit. Some of these programs have a large quantity of classes already approved for MHS elective hours, while others have a smaller number. You can find all MHS-approved courses using the YES Study Abroad Course Search Tool. These courses have been identified as eligible for MHS in the past five years. However, there are always new courses being offered or courses not yet taken by students in MHS that can be submitted for review (see procedure below).

Please note:

 Procedure for course eligibility:

  1. Look through the study abroad program offerings on the GEO website.
  2. Identify the program(s) that appeal to you.
  3. Investigate course offerings in the program and determine which ones are MHS-approved or on GEO’s list of approved courses.

If you would like MHS credit hours for courses not yet approved by GEO:

  1. Research the most current course offerings of the program, including courses not yet approved for MHS credit.
  2. Identify courses that look appropriate to the MHS major that you might want to take.
  3. Submit a request to GEO that these courses to be given equivalency.
  4. Complete and submit a course variance request form to request that a course be considered for concentration area credit hours.
  5. GEO will send a formal evaluation request to MHS.
  6. MHS will evaluate your request and respond to GEO.
  7. GEO will notify you of the official decision.

Immersion Stories

Yulia Pleasant BA‘23

In the summer of 2022 as part of her Immersion experience, Yulia Pleasant participated in Northwell Health’s Healthcare Management Program, an internship that exposed her to the fields of finance, operations, and project management within hospital administration. Yulia was assigned to the cancer care service line and tackled various projects that sought to improve patient experience and maximize the Center’s efficiency to accommodate increasing patient volume. Working closely with administrators, physicians, and nurses, she created an improved, flexible system for matching nurses to patients as they arrived for chemotherapy appointments. She drew on the knowledge of healthcare systems, laws, and disparities she gained from her MHS major, which provided her with a thorough understanding of the complex economic and social forces that drive the American healthcare system. After graduation, Yulia began a full-time role in healthcare management at Northwell Health.

“I am so grateful to the MHS program at Vanderbilt for preparing me to start my career with a holistic understanding of the healthcare industry!”

Pedro Rosales-Diaz BA‘25

Pedro Rosales-Diaz is working toward majors in MHS and Latina and Latino Studies, and minors in biological sciences and French. Pedro recently published a collection of poetry entitled Dreams Through Shadow and Light. Of the collection, Pedro says it resembles a journey through his life up to date. The collection has three themes – Shadow, Glow, and Light. Shadow explores dark aspects of his childhood and the beginning of questioning society, where Glow honors the people who helped shape him into the person he is now. The collection wraps up with Light, focusing on love and the future. Pedro created this poetry collection to increase Latinx representation in the literary world as well as for personal closure. Writing was like therapy in which he channeled and processed his emotions, bringing him a sense of tranquility. His immersion project goal is to continue writing, with plans for two additional volumes of poetry to complete a trilogy. Upon graduation, Pedro is considering the MHS 4+1 MA program before attending nursing school to become a nurse practitioner.

Suman Mohanty BA’25

Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar Suman Mohanty spent her winter break supporting a community she loves through teaching and medicine. Suman, a second year MHS and child development double major and Spanish minor, traveled to the Dr. Isac Santra Balniketan Child Care Institution, an orphanage in Sambalpur, India, to teach children about health and hygiene. Suman said. “As an aspiring pediatrician and global health researcher, I find it critical to devote my time and energy toward advancing health education, healthcare access, and healthcare in general.”

The orphanage is home to nearly 80 children ranging in ages from three to 18. Suman taught two lessons each day, and also had the opportunity to play with the children and learn their traditional games. Much of what she taught the children revolved around the proper use of the supplies and good hygiene.

“These moments really highlighted the importance of health education. They just needed to know what they’re supposed to do if they’re sick or hurt so they could seek out help and get better.”

Karry Su Ba’23

Karry Su  was an MHS and biological sciences double major with a minor in data science. Through her MHS major, she explored different aspects of health and was particularly impacted by coursework in Professor Martha Jones’ Economic Demography and Global Health course. Karry’s Immersion project focused on Medicare utilization and chronic condition prevalence. These experiences sparked a curiosity to learn more about the U.S. healthcare system and initiatives aimed at improving patient health nationwide.

She interned at Lifepoint Health, a healthcare company based in Brentwood, TN. As part of the Population Health team, she learned about healthcare delivery models, value-based care, and accountable care organizations that develop initiatives to prioritize high quality care while also aiming to lower healthcare costs, primarily through managing a patient’s chronic conditions. Karry developed skills in healthcare analytics and learned to evaluate performance metrics at skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies. Through this internship, Karry received invaluable guidance from mentors at both Vanderbilt and Lifepoint, and she is eager to apply her newly acquired skills in her future graduate studies and career.


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