History of the Intermed Practicum

Some of the earlier courses added a practicum component. The first practicum was a 2-week extension up the Amazon following a pressure packed one week course in Curitiba, in the south of Brazil, 2000 kilometres away! In 1999 following a course in Texas a practicum was held in Nicaragua and in 2000 in Guatemala.

Since 2004 a practicum has been added to the Australian-based course. A joint practicum with YWAM (South Australia) was held in East Timor in 2004. Twelve participants, with 3 support staff were based outside of Dili, and worked in various programs with Christian, government and secular non-government organisations in towns and villages.

In 2006 the practicum was conducted in association with Partners International in Indonesia (Nias and Banda Aceh) while in 2007, 2008 and 2009 the practicum was conducted in Vanuatu, in partnership with local church and mission groups. In 2010 and 2011 the practicum was held in Timor Leste. There was no practicum in 2012 but in 2013 and 2015 the Practicum returned to Vanuatu. Short reports on these last two Practicums are presented below.

The Practicum then became a core subject in the accredited Graduate Diploma in International Health and Development until that program was discontinued in 2020. Students enrolled in the Graduate Diploma were able to do the Supervised Practicum in partnership with other organisations. Two students completed their Practicum requirements in North India.

The Learning Outcomes for the Practicum for those doing the Graduate Diploma were to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the key cultural and professional issues associated the provision of health care in a specific less resourced and more disadvantaged context

  • Demonstrate the necessary organizational and vocational skills to plan and execute the practicum with professionalism, contextual sensitivity, interpersonal competency and autonomy

  • Reflect critically on their personal and vocational development, especially in regards to the benefits and challenges of working in a multi-disciplinary health team with national partners in a specific less resourced and more disadvantaged context.

  • Demonstrate an awareness of cultural and ethical issues in the provision of health care and/or education to individuals and groups in a specific less resourced and more disadvantaged context.

Practicum 2013: Vanuatu

The 2013 Intermed Practicum took place from 30 August to 16 September in Vanuatu. The team of 12 (including 9 participants and 3 team leaders) travelled to Luganville (Espiritu Santo) and worked with a local organisation called Camp Shining Light who facilitate medical teams, building teams and high school teams to engage in mission.

After a brief period of orientation and clinical review of some principles taught in the Intermed Summer School, the team was ready to start! We attended local worship services with Camp Shining Light staff, and set up clinics they had arranged prior to our arrival. We worked in 3 main locations: Luganville, Tutuba (an island off the coast of Luganville), and the west coast (Sulemauri and Tasiriki).

We had the opportunity to assess and manage ailments for locals who may have limited access to health care. We were also invited to tour Luganville's Northern District Hospital, and held community evaluations focussing on gender roles, energy sources, income sources and other determinants of health. An inventory was maintained and statistical information kept for future reference.

The Practicum is always an intense time, and focuses on practically reinforcing the knowledge, skills and attitudes advocated in the Intermed summer intensive. Be prepared to be challenged, grown, humbled, and greatly encouraged by this experience! The next Intermed Practicum is scheduled for 2015.

Practicum 2015: Vanuatu

A smaller than usual team of six (two leaders and four participants) travelled to Vanuatu from 16 October to 2 November 2015 working again with the Camp Shining Light ministry. This team already had considerable experience so less time was spent on clinical skills review and we were soon conducting community assessments and running health clinics in a number of nearby communities some were very busy clinics. We also travelled to a more remote location for 3 days/ 2 nights to conduct community assessments and run clinics.

In summary we attended church on the three Sundays, and enjoyed a sumptuous feast on the last Sunday; ran 11 Clinics, saw 448 patients and recorded 569 conditions/ diagnoses; conducted a number of village health and development assessments and ran health promotion activities on dental health, hand hygiene and CPR skills; travelled to nearby villages, to an island a few kilometres from the CSL base, and travelled about 3 hours to a more remote village in the mountains. And yes, there were times at the beach with swimming and snorkelling!














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