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Robert She and Christian Saavedra on their experiences with the Blum Cross-Border Initiative Summer

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Blum Summer Field Internship 

The internship is housed in the UCSD Center on Global Justice, which is focused on interdisciplinary, undergraduate, community-engaged research and training on regional poverty and its consequences.

Student from the GHP examine issues of health, illness and wellbeing at community organizations in the San Diego – Tijuana border region in collaboration with students from interdisciplinary practices on campus who have interests in environmental and urban challenges; engineering and technical problem solving; human rights and social justice; and the role of arts and culture in underserved communities.

Students receive a stipend to support their participation, which fulfill the Field Experience requirement. Students who enroll in a Blum Center workshop can count this experience as elective credit toward the degree.

To learn more about the internship, visit:

What do other GHP Students have to say about their Blum Experience?

Robert She (pictured above):

"I was lucky enough to be one of two Global Health students to take part in an eight week summer internship for Blum Cross-Borders Initiative. As the first group of UCSD researchers to pilot the expansion of UC Berkeley’s Blum Center, we were tasked to investigate pressing issues around the dynamic border region. I was able to uncover complicated health issues and see the urgent need of public health services in two underserved communities. We also made air quality measurements in areas around the border and looked at run-off contamination. We worked as an interdisciplinary team to holistically investigate the complex web of issues in which the inaccessibility of health care is linked to urban development, legal policies, as well as political ecology. I worked with other students majoring in engineering and international studies as well as professors of visual arts, political science, and cognitive science. They allowed me to directly apply my diverse global health coursework ranging from environmental science to the history of healthcare modalities. All in all, the research project has been an experience like no other. I hope I will be able to continue my work in public health with the Blum Initiative to realize practical service projects that tackle health risks and improve health care in San Ysidro and Los Laureles."

Christian Saavedra (pictured above):

The Global Health minor, now a component of the Global Health Program comes from a perspective of social concern on healing modalities, illness prevention, and health awareness. Since the minor is based on a global scale, and thus diversity, these health perspectives must be tailored to the regional interest of a particular culture. It is important for scholars to understand from this that in order to productively intervene in these health processes, those processes should be respected and seen as interdisciplinary to create the notion of global health.
Along with understanding this interdisciplinary relation of diverse health processes, several underlying factors are examined that influence health in different cultures extensively. In other words, global health can be examined from a biological perspective, in terms of nutrition, mental and physical illnesses, a cultural perspective based on healing practices, and a political perspective based on education, health care, environment, and political violence.
The first day experience on the field solidified the reasoning for including the Global Heath minor as a practicum for the BLUM Cross-Border Initiative. Some observations and statistics that heavily related to the practicum included: Increases in the population and, thus, waste production, the elevation as an environmental factor that allows rain to flow down a slope, and with few drainage systems, carry the waste it collects across canyons and homes to the border estuaries causing health problems, and the lack of utilities necessary for proper healthiness, such as water or electricity systems. Other factors that were seen along the way to the site were a presence of only a few hospitals and schools. This could correlate to lower health awareness and health care services available to the public. Still, the projects provided by Alter Terra encourage healthiness and liveliness at this site by working through the community and its government. From these observations and perspectives, the presence of the Global Health practicum gave an appropriate insight to the research study.

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