Guatemala Public Health Program

Tampa Preparatory School has collaborated with Duke, Harvard and Global Public Service Academies (GPSA) to create a transformative interdisciplinary experiential education program that speaks directly to Tampa Prep’s mission. This program for rising 10th - 12th grade students combines classroom learning with an eight-day trip to rural Guatemala. Students will have the opportunity to go beyond and make a real difference in the lives of others.

Informational Meeting for 2017-18 trip: January 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 2205.
2017-18 Summer Course: May 29 - June 1, 2018
2017-18 Travel Dates: June 2 - 10, 2018

Questions? Contact Trip Coordinator Mrs. Laura Bridges-Pereira at


While on this trip, students will participate in service learning opportunities as they work in rural healthcare clinics. In this capacity, students will facilitate several medical interventions and screenings (oral vaccinations, measuring infant height and weight, measuring blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and complete important cultural and language training. This program is open to all students, but will be of particular interest to students pursuing the STEM and Global Studies concentrations.

Students will explore the differences between public health availability here in Tampa versus public health availability in Guatemala and other parts of the world. Students will come to understand the importance of health screenings in the developing world and which bigger health problems can be detected with these screenings. In terms of health conditions, we will focus on the major health concerns faced by people in rural Guatemala: diabetes, malnutrition and preeclampsia. Students will also participate in cultural awareness seminars, both before and during the trip. While on the trip, students will have the opportunity to study either Spanish or the local Mayan dialect.


Accepted applicants will follow an introductory curriculum, developed by Duke University in conjunction with Mrs. Stacia Hottle and Mrs. Ginger Chapman, specifically for high school students working in the developing world. The curriculum will consist of one week of pre-trip summer school sessions at Tampa Preparatory School and a post-trip reflection session while in Guatemala. In the pre-trip sessions, students will be trained and assessed in: community and social issues in Guatemala, cross-cultural understanding and basic medical interventions like measuring blood pressure, auscultation, vaccinating, measuring infant height and weight, etc. The post-trip sessions are to evaluate and reflect the students’ Guatemala experience.


GPSA for Health's Xela program is an intensive service learning experience for students with an interest in helping others and those pursuing career paths such as medical doctor (MD), nurse (RN, LPN), pharmacist, biomedical engineer (BME), dentist or other health occupations.Participants not only learn more about healthcare, but they also get to know a new and different culture. The students’ GPSA experience begins in their arrival city: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA airport). Shortly after their arrival, the students will travel as a group, including GPSA staff, to Xela. Though Xela is the center of activity for the program, students live and work with a college leader in groups of five or six with a host family in pueblos outside of Xela. Living with a host family creates a perfect atmosphere to practice Spanish and learn and experience the Guatemalan culture. For their clinical service, students are divided into teams led by trained pre-medical college students or faculty members. Students learn to facilitate several medical interventions and screenings and complete an important introductory cultural and language training. The language training is intense (two hours, one-on-one per day) and focused on Spanish. Fluent Spanish speakers will study one of the local Mayan languages.


All participants will earn 0.5 Science credit (this does not count as the graduation requirement, but does count as an elective). For the STEM concentration, requirements of regular club participation and the off-campus event attendance will be considered fulfilled for the year following completion of the program. For the Global Studies concentration, participation in one study abroad program and the off-campus event attendance for the year will be waived with completion of this program.

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