Global Health in Thailand: Humans, Elephants, & Disease

Global Health in Thailand: Humans, Elephants, & Disease — About

About Global Health in Thailand: Humans, Elephants, & Disease

The future health of our world’s population requires a generation of creative, motivated, strategic, expansive thinkers prepared to collaborate across disciplines and sectors to proactively address the causes of poor health in patients and populations. Thailand is an ideal location to gain an understanding of the intersection between animal health, human health, and the environment and the importance of culture in health by exploring common diseases in Thailand including one that is transmittable between humans and elephants.

Over two weeks in Thailand, you will learn the role of elephants in the Thai culture and how this influences a variety of factors that affect the health of both people and elephants. You will also visit different levels of care and learn about aspects of health in the human population. Throughout your time in Thailand, we will approach health through a “One Health” lens, exploring the many connections between the health of animals, humans, and the environment. Upon returning to the UofM, we will continue exploring global health through comparing and contrasting aspects of health in Thailand and Minnesota/USA over 7 weeks of class.

Housing & Meals

You will live in a hotel with other program participants—generally two to three per room. There will be a two night stay in a village with more rustic lodging. All meals, including a welcome and farewell meal, are included in the program fee.


Excursions include visits to three elephant facilities (camp, hospital, and center), a village with a two night stay, Chiang Mai University, Buddhist temples, a city public hospital, a city private hospital, and district and local clinics. These excursions are designed to facilitate students’ understanding of the context and systems that are in place to protect the health of the people, animals, and environment of Thailand. 

Group Flight

All program participants will be taking the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight, you will recieve information from the Learning Abroad Center regarding your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed. 

Learning Outcomes

Faculty & Staff

This course will be led by Dr. Karin Hamilton, a boarded public health veterinarian and Assistant Professor with the College of Veterinary Medicine and Pre-Health Student Resource Center. Dana Lovold, a public health professional and Consultant with the Pre-Health Student Resource Center, will be the co-leader.

About the Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad Center programs are: