Semester Project

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

Medicine and Healthcare in Cuba-Michael Goetsch

The topic of my research project this semester is healthcare. Cuba is reputed to have an exceptional healthcare system. Per capita, they spend a fraction of what we do in the U.S. and oftentimes have better healthcare outcomes. This difference is typically attributed to the Cuban focus on primary care. This semester, I will explore and investigate the Cuban healthcare system and conduct a comparative analysis between the U.S. and Cuban systems. Some of the questions I will seek to answer are: Does universal healthcare in Cuba equate to universal access? What is the average wait time before seeing a physician or other healthcare provider? How easy/difficult is it to see a specialist? Is primary care predominantly provided by physicians or do nurses and nurse practitioners play a role as well? What is the professional relationship between doctors and nurses in Cuba? What is the average wait time before having a necessary surgery? Is prescription medication widely available? Is it expensive or affordable? What is palliative care like in Cuba? How do Cubans view terminal illness, euthanasia, and assisted suicide? In the eyes of average Cubans, what are the best and worst aspects of the healthcare system?

In addition to the patient perspective, I would also like to learn more about the healthcare system from the perspective of the providers. What is the primary motivation for becoming a nurse or physician in Cuba? What is medical education like here? How long is the process? What does it cost? What is the licensing process like? Are Cuban nurses and physicians happy and satisfied with their professions here? Is continuing medical education required? How long is the average medical career here? What are the laws regarding patient privacy? I plan on interviewing doctors, nurses, and everyday Cubans as well as visiting hospitals, clinics, and a medical school to conduct my research. After three months, I hope to gain a holistic view of the Cuban healthcare system as well as an appreciation for its similarities and differences with the U.S. system.

 

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

History in the Making- Kyle Jones

On December 18th, 2014, President Barack Obama announced his intention to normalize relations between the United States and the Cuban Republic. In the words of one Cuban newspaper, “It is the most significant change in policy in more than 50 years.” Despite the excitement felt by Americans and Cubans alike, there is still a long road to be traveled with many obstacles before the embargo is lifted and before relations between the United States and Cuba are entirely normalized. While in Cuba I want to study the policy changes being made in the relationship between the governments of the US and Cuba. I want to learn what is the difference between Obama’s efforts and efforts made by past US presidents, as well as policy changes being made by the Cuban Government. I hope to possibly meet with and possibly interview staff from the American Interest Section here in Havana, as well as Cuban foreign policy experts and possibly Foreign Ministry staff. I also want to learn what the general mood is here in Cuba on the change, and how these changes will affect the lives of Cuban citizens for better or worse.

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Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

Cine Cubano- Thomas Kennedy Pope

My semester project will be an inquiry into the Cuban film industry through the point of view of a non-specific, random sampling of Cuban citizens. I hope to discover a few things during this project, including: the general idea of when Cuban cinema launched as an industry, and the characterization of early Cuban films; popular opinion of Cuban films today; a general comparison of the Cuban film industry against the mammoth American film industry; particular niches/genres of Cuban film and production values; and whether or not there is any government presence within the industry or the films themselves. In addition to street interviews, I intend to arrange one or two formal interviews with persons who either work in radio/television/film, or have a proficient to expert knowledge on Cuban cinema (I’ve already been provided with leads for these interviews). Lastly, I intend to generate a direct and personal opinion of Cuban cinema by viewing whatever popular Cuban films I can get my hands on—new or old—while here in Havana. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

The Cuban Woman- Rachel Boudreaux

My project will analyze the role women play in a very “machismo” centered Cuban society. I am interested in investigating the family dynamic within a typical household; if the woman’s role is the archaeic “in the kitchen and taking care of the kids” situation. I would also like to explore their postition within the workforce. My plan is to speak both with women close to my age and those that are more mature to gain a clearer understanding of the role that the average Cuban woman plays in her culture. I am hoping that by interviewing women of different generations, I will be able to see how the role of women in this country has changed over time, if at all. Finally, I am interested in understanding how Cuban society deals with the issue of domestic violence, including abuse, control, and forced silence from the perspective of women within that society.

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

The Melodies of Cuba- Shelley Campbell

Since our arrival to this island so near, yet seemingly so far from home, there has constantly been a melody in the air. Music holds the beat to the lifestyle here, flowing and bouncing through the streets, from the rooster’s call to the late night clubs. What I find fascinating is the enthusiam and warmth music brings to the society. During my Cuban adventures, I’m excited to discover the process, difficulties, and lifestyle of Cuban musicians. The struggling artist is relatable almost anywhere in the world, but I want to know how one is affected here. More importantly, I am interested in what Cuban music provides to all who are constanly enjoying it. I sense joy and pride in the people here—that their island can produce such beautiful, salsa provoking music so essential to every fiesta. I hope to learn of other aspects of the musical scene such as the types of instruments, how attainable they are, and the process of learning an instrument. I also want to look into the lively musical night life here and how music is a catalyst of energy, which is evident in the character of many people I have already met. Above all, I want to try to uderstand the impact, importance, and social characteristics of music in Cuba today.

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 

Architecture Essay Paragraph- Talia Scarpelli

Behind the bold iron gates and cracking, colorful paint, Havana’s architecture tells a story. From one building to the next, the history of Havana unfolds, from Spanish colonization to the clean modernism of the revolution. The diversity in architectural styles reflects the diversity of the Cuban people as well, and preserves cultural identity. I would like to investigate this topic further and discover how the mixture of styles affect Cubans today. Additionally, I want to know more about how these historic structures are maintained. The environment of a city has tremendous influence on the people living there, so I am excited to learn the stories behind some of Havana’s more architecturally interesting buildings and the public works of art as well.

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 

During my time in Havana I plan to investigate the numerous aspects of employment in Cuba. I will conduct research on the entire process of obtaining and keeping a job. I am interested in the selection and placement process, the competitiveness involved, benefits and working conditions within different fields, and the freedom which individuals possess to change career paths. Not only do I wish to investigate the formal processes and rules which govern the workforce, but I also desire to explore deeper questions and sentiments related to the population’s day to day life at work. What type of relationship do employees possess with their bosses? How do they feel about the jobs they have been given after studying to work in another field? Is customer service important to them and/or does their management consistently stress it? Is there an incentive to work towards something higher and better? These questions, along with many more, will help me fully understand the big picture of employment in Cuba and gain an extremely personal insight into the lives of the workers that surround me. I will be careful to interview a variety of people from different backgrounds, ages, experiences, and fields in order to broaden my perspective and limit bias. Once compiled, my project will provide an overview of the Cuban workforce, including the opinions and thoughts of the people who make it up, as well as its general processes and rules.

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 

An important aspect in forming ideologies of a certain group of people is religion. Religion can be the hands that sculpt a society. Cuba being a socialist nation, building its principles on ideas from a somewhat communist philosophy, “shouldn’t” have religions. Most communist-like systems outlaw religion, and deem it unnecessary for a society. Cuba, however, has not outlawed religion and has a flourishing religious population. Some of the religious people in Cuba also have more than one religion and find nothing wrong with that. Since Cuba has a religious population, and other countries in the past who have had similar political ideologies have not, it seems noteworthy. What is its function in society? Exactly how diverse is the population? Of different denominations or of different religious sects all together? How did these religions arrive on the island? Are there any “Cuban” religions? If so how were they created? How important are the religions to sustaining communities? Do these religious groups have ties to groups outside of Cuba? Are there any tensions within or between certain religious groups? Governments position on religion? I plan on researching these questions and going even deeper into the world of religion in Cuba, to ultimately note different levels of diversity across the religious spectrum and its impacts on society.

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Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 

My project will be an in depth detail of monuments of significance in Cuban identity and culture in Havana and surrounding areas. I will discuss and identify for which reasons these monuments are important. Also, I will provide an explanation of where the monuments came from, how they were constructed, and who funded the production of the respective monuments. I will thoroughly evaluate the significance of each monument looking for any sort of controversial aspect or aspects, in order to further inquire as to the views that could be placed upon each individual structure by the citizens. After analyzing the significance and structure of each monument I will inquire as to analyze what different sort of opinions and views the people have over them. I am curious to see if there is a significant divide in views or feelings about these monuments by the people who are of significantly more educated backgrounds and those of the more common people, who have simply not been exposed to as much and are representative of a lower class.

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 

This semester in Cuba, one of my main goals is to become familiar with the scene of the Christian faith here. With Catholicism being the largest declared faith among the natives and over fifty different denominations of the protestant faith, my aim is to investigate the role of faith in a socialist nation. Traditionally, the instatement of a command control government does not allow the freedom of religion, but this has changed in Havana and its outlying provinces in the past twenty to thirty years. I would like to interview some of the elders in the churches to see what caused this change and how it has affected attendance, ideas, and the lives of everyday Cuban citizens. I also plan to speak with pastors and priests and question the doctrine of the church to see the differences between here and the United States, as well as to ask about censorship and freedom of speech from the pulpit. Lastly, I plan to explore some of the various aspects of a local religion called “Santeria.” I would like to understand the blend of two very different religions, Catholicism and African native religions, into one of the largest and most accepted faiths in Cuba. I believe that this trip will become a great opportunity for me to see how the church operates and how the people maintain faith in a socialist country.

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