Use your technical electrical and biomedical engineering skills to improve healthcare delivery in a developing country.
RIT partners with Engineering World Health (EWH) to offer undergraduate engineering students the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program in Guatemala. Engineering World Health facilitates programs in developing countries where students in engineering and science put their technical and problem-solving skills into practice to repair medical equipment that saves patients’ lives. It is an opportunity for study abroad students to make an immediate impact.
To meet patient needs, many hospitals worldwide rely on donated medical equipment - but much of this potentially life-saving equipment arrives unusable, and after 5 years, nearly all of it is out of service. Infant incubators, oxygen concentrators, and patient monitors lay abandoned in equipment "graveyards." In addition, hospitals in developing countries face challenges accessing skilled technicians who can install, maintain, or repair medical equipment. As a result, equipment essential to diagnosing diseases, sterilizing tools, and performing surgeries can quickly fall out of service. Without working equipment, physicians and nurses cannot deliver quality health care, and patients suffer. Engineering World Health provides students with hands-on technical training to help support hospitals in need to support this global health challenge.
As part of the EWH program, you will be immersed in Guatemala’s language and culture while learning practical, hands-on engineering skills (no previous Spanish language is required). EWH provides intensive training that prepares STEM majors to repair and improve equipment and conditions in their partner hospitals.
- Repair and install medical equipment that will improve healthcare outcomes for vulnerable populations.
- Collaborate with international medical professionals and assist with training hospital staff on equipment use and maintenance.
- Develop hands-on skills and creative troubleshooting techniques.
- Experience Guatemalan culture by living in a homestay with local families, learning basic Spanish language, and participating in cultural excursions.
- Term: Fall RIT class, travel to Guatemala over winter break
- Travel Dates: December 26, 2023 to January 14, 2024
- Credits: 1-3
- BIME 395: ST: Engineering World Health
This fall course will prepare you for the repair work you'll do in Guatemala. You'll learn diagnostic and problem-solving skills in electrical and biomedical engineering and receive training on troubleshooting common problems with electrical and medical equipment.
During winter break, you’ll travel to Guatemala to work with EWH hospital partners in the Western mountainous and coastal cities of Quetzaltenango (Xela), Totonicapan, Retalhuleu, Mazatenango, and Coatepeque. During your three weeks in Guatemala, you’ll work with hospital staff, live with host families, and participate in cultural excursions. EWH will provide experienced staff members who will work daily with you.
Open to undergraduate and graduate engineering, engineering technology, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, and industrial design majors and others with instructor's permission. No pre-reqs. No Spanish language required.
Program Cost: A student budget worksheet that outlines all program costs is available here. Students can take a copy of the budget to a meeting with RIT financial aid to learn if aid would apply towards program costs.
COVID-19 & Study Abroad
The RIT Education Abroad office is constantly monitoring how COVID-19 is affecting international travel, with student safety as our top priority. While RIT no longer requires students to be vaccinated, we highly encourage study abroad participants to stay up-to-date with immunizations, boosters and social distancing polices. In fact, study abroad partners and vendors, travel providers and foreign governments may have different requirements and it is the students responsibility to understand and adhere to all requirements and guidelines.
RIT Students only