One of the joys of my Fulbright experience has been teaching graduate social work students at Stella Maris College. This is a women’s college with about 5000 students studying in undergraduate and graduate programs. I was assigned to teach a course in health disparities to second year graduate students in the MSW program. The class was based on a course that I teach at the University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work (KSSW), that examines health disparities and how community-based interventions are developed to eliminate these inequities. The disparities are based on socioeconomic status (income, education, insurance status, etc.), race/ethnicity, residence, or gender.
A highlight of the course was a videoconference session between the students taking the course at the KSSW and the students at Stella Maris. We were challenged by a somewhat inconsistent internet connection but managed to have a lively exchange of experiences and ideas between the students. Students from the U.S. were amazed at the challenging community field placements that the Stella Maris students had and were impressed with the passion that the students expressed for social work. The Indian students were interested in learning about the psychosocial oncology specialization and social work in hospices and cancer centers in the U.S.—an area of social work that is relatively undeveloped in India.