Summer Abroad Global Health Internships


Status: Full—Waitlist Open

Info Session: 2/7/18, 12:30pm,
International Center 2119,
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USA—Community Health & Native Healing in Hawaii

On Location

The Island of Hawai‘i is home to approximately 189,000 inhabitants. The biggest island of the archipelago state of Hawaii, it is also known as the “Big Island”. The great king Kamehameha, who united most of the Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1795, hails from Hawaii, giving the island chain its name. Most of the island’s economy is based on tourism, mostly based on the western coast, or agriculture.

According to the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community Report, “Access to healthcare services is limited by geography, lack of comprehensive public transportation and critical health shortages.” The Big Island’s population has the highest cardiovascular death rates in the state. It also has higher obesity and smoking rates and more adults suffering from diabetic complications than in the rest of the state. Lack of access to jobs for young people has led to a high rate of involvement in the drug trade.


Participants will be lodged at a local home in Kona. Lodging is chosen and screened by the CFHI Local Coordinator. Please note that the accommodations may or may not include facilities such as air conditioning, and internet. UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging


2 meals a day are included on this program.

Sample Schedule

Public Health rotations and NGO/school placements and site visits will start on Monday of the second week (after orientation week) and usually take place in the mornings for 4 to 6 hours on Monday through Friday for the remaining four weeks.

Once per week, students will meet with the program Medical Director to discuss their experiences.. A lecture on a health related topics will also be provided. Students can use this time to discuss particular issues of interest, review their progress or bring up any concerns they may have.

Program sites include but are not limited to:

Keakelahe High School

Kealakehe High opened its doors in August 1997, welcoming its first 9th grade class (class of 2001), with a student enrollment of 407 students. Currently, the enrollment hovers around 1,600 (9th-12th grade). The school is in the district of Kona on the island of Hawai’i and is built on 50 acres of land located in the Kealakehe “ahupua’a”. The “ahupua’a” is an ancient Hawaiian land division system which contained strips of land that extended from the mountain to the sea. Located in West Hawaii, Kealakehe serves a geographic district approximately 40 miles wide, encompassing the communities of Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Waikoloa, and Puako and is the largest geographic school district in the state. Over 77% of the student body is made up of underserved minorities, which include Hawaiians, Hispanics, Polynesians and Asians. 

Hope Services

This organization provides homeless support in both Hilo and Kona side of the island. The West Hawaii side has a homeless shelter in the Old Industrial area in Kailua-Kona with case managers that assist with obtaining resources. The organization also provides meals, laundry facilities, and for some clients, a building that houses them and more recently, containers converted to shelters. Both medical and BH specialists rotate there every Tuesday morning to provide services.

Excursions and Day Trips

Short excursions and day trips will be included during orientation week.

Orientation Week Sample Schedule

  • Welcome dinner and Luuau
  • Lecture about Hawaiian history and culture
  • Guided visit to Kohala Center for research and conservation
  • Guided visit to Mauna Kea beach
  • Community service project at local High School
  • Traditional Healing Workshop by the Pe’Ahe Education Group
Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Hawaii Island, Hawaii

Hawaii island the largest island located in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is the largest and the southeastern-most of the Hawaiian Islands, a chain of volcanic islands in the North Pacific Ocean. With an area of 4,028 square miles (10,430 km2), it is larger than all of the other islands in the archipelago combined and is the largest island in the United States. However, it only has 13% of Hawaii's people.

Hawaiian Currency: US Dollar
Language Spoken: Hawaii is the only American state to have two official languages: English and Hawaiian. However, a 3rd unofficial language is also widely spoken- Pidgin- which is a slang combining words from many aspects of island life and culture.

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