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The View from Argentina

In a first, this year’s Simmons World Challenge students went abroad.

The annual Simmons World Challenge program is “designed to get students to think,” according to Associate Professor of Practice Karen Teeley of the School of Nursing. It engages sophomores from across the University in understanding a global issue. 

Fifteen students participated in this year’s Challenge which focused on public health and issues related to maternal health and nutrition. For the first time, the Challenge included travel: a trip to Argentina led by Teeley and Assistant Professor Cherie Ramirez of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. A significant gift from Katie McGrath ’90 helped make the trip possible. 

The course began on campus during the 10-day intersession in January, during which students learned about infant nutrition and healthcare from Simmons professors and external community organizations. In May, the students traveled to Buenos Aires. While in Argentina, they attended faculty-led lectures, went on excursions, and heard from area professionals about Argentina’s healthcare system and its history. 

Students worked in teams to brainstorm projects that might increase breastfeeding rates and improve infant nutrition. The results included proposals for a conference series, a mobile app, an educational website, and a toolkit for healthcare professionals who assist LGBTQ+ patients. 

“The goal was to identify areas where students could have an impact and work on projects that could live beyond the scope of the course by sharing them with community organizations,” said Ramirez. 

“We considered the city to be the classroom,” added Teeley, “and a learning experience regarding how infant and maternal mortality contribute to the overall health of a particular region.”

Emma Gottschalk ’20 interns in Simmons’ Office of University Communications.