Date of Graduation

Summer 8-16-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

First Advisor

Dhrubajyoti Bhattacharya

Abstract

Although the United States is a developed country that spends billions of dollars for its healthcare sector, there are still many risk factors that highly influence our country’s respectively high infant mortality rates. Infant mortality rates are affected by a range of social determinants of health, low birth weight, and racial disparities. This paper addresses the United States’ and Cuban models of healthcare through a comparative lens to investigate the potential use of Cuba’s maternal and infant health practices to mirror similar preventative strategies that promote infant health. The field-based project with the Escuela Nacional de Salud Publica (ENSAP) drew from direct interactions with physicians, patients, professors, and site visits to a variety of community-based clinics and hospitals. Fieldwork experiences strengthened interdisciplinary skills and practices to promote action strategies for community health. The Cuban primary care/prevention-based model was found to be very beneficial and impactful in improving infant mortality rates. The United States can certainly utilize lessons learned from Cuba’s community-based health system to integrate public health methods into the medical care field at local, state, and national levels. The cooperative prioritization of maternal and infant health initiatives between social and political sectors in Cuba (Kath, 2007) is an aspect to be learned from by the U.S. in order to benefit maternal and infant health indicators that represent our country’s health development for current and future generations.

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