From Penn Today:
Peru has the highest per capita COVID-19 death rate in the world, twice that of the United States. In the U.S., despite abundant availability of vaccines that could have driven that rate even lower, vaccine hesitancy, fueled in part by misinformation spread on social media, has kept millions from receiving the shots.
Rather than learning about these issues at an academic level of remove, the course format put experts and students from each country into conversation. Their on-the-ground experiences lent the course discussions both authority and up-to-the-minute relevance for the students, many of whom are or soon hope to be health care providers or public health workers.
Each week the class focused on a different disease, or a pair of similar diseases, one affecting the U.S. and one Peru. Both Levy and Ugarte-Gil presented on areas of their own expertise: Chagas disease and bedbugs for Levy and tuberculosis and hepatitis B for Ugarte-Gil. They also engaged more than a dozen other guest speakers, including Penn’s Stacey Trooskin, Gregory Bisson, Ricardo Castillo-Neyra, Kayleigh O’Keeffe, and Alison Buttenheim.