Ideal for students in fields of Medical Anthropology, anthropology of food, religious studies, Pre-Med students, and other persons from any variety of research and applied fields who are interested in CAM, alternative healing, spirituality.
Health & Healing is available in 4 week program or in the Ethnography Field School 7 week program.
Participants in the Maya Health and Healing Program do individual or team research in an ongoing ethnographic study of medical pluralism in the context of tourism driven globalization. This research project is an investigation of how Maya negotiate their own contradictory beliefs and attitudes about the efficacy of Maya healing practices and Western allopathic medicine. Specifically, the research program focuses on how Maya individuals and families envision health through practices of food preparation, consumption, and natural home remedies, choose among different types of healing and medical practitioners when ill, and experience illness in terms of spiritual and/or biomedical dis-ease.
Student Researchers are trained to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in one of three areas of this ongoing investigation in medical and cultural anthropology:
- Healing Practices: Students do ethnography of healing through observation and interviewing of healers (herbalists, midwifes, bone-setters, massage therapists, allopathic doctors, and spiritualist healers or Hméen)
- Health and Food: Students do ethnography of food through fieldwork on food culture, that is practices and beliefs based in production, preparation, consumption, and sociality of food
- Sickness and Belief: Students do oral history and ethnographic interviewing to elicit, document and analyze stories about illness that reveal choices, attitudes and beliefs about the efficacy of western medicine versus Maya spiritual healing
Costs for Maya Health. Healing, Belief
four week program, option for a seven week by enrolling in Ethnography Field School
Dates: 2014 Session ONE Friday June 8 to Thursday July 3
2014 Session TWO Tuesday July 8 to Monday Aug 4
2014 Seven Week Option Available by enrolling in Ethnography Field School
2013 Health & Healing Session 1:June 9 to July 7
2013 Health & Healing Session 2: June 30 to July 27
Start Time: Program starts at 1pm. Plan your travel to arrive by noon at OSEA on start date.
End Time: Plan travel based on departure from Piste after 12pm noon on end date.
Location: Pisté and Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, México, and surrounding Maya Indian communities
Find Cancun on Google Maps— —
Find Pisté & Chichén Itzá on Google Maps
Credits: 6 credit hours, at undergraduate or graduate level. “Maya Health and Healing”
Total Cost: Tuition plus Room & Board
Tuition & Fees: $1700
Room &, Board: Option A. $1000 Single Room in Posada Olalde, 3 meals (2 with Maya family)
Option B. $750 Homestays with Maya family, Limited Availability (3 meals)
Tuition & Fees Include:
Transportation to & from communities located within a specific perimeter of Pisté and Chichen Itza to visit regionally reknown healers each of whom has a unique specialization; these include Yaxuna, Dzitas, Yokdzonot, San Francisco, Xcalacoop. These include non-invasive eye surgery, bone-setting and massage, midwifery, spiritual healing, divination, herbal remedies and traditional curing. There are other healers, midwifes, hmeeno'ob, yerbateros of some fame located at greater distances. Travel to work with particular healers located in communities at greater distance from Piste or that involve special transportation may require additional may involve out of pocket expenses if not conducted as part of the OSEA research project.
Airfare, Transportation to/from Pisté at start/end of program, lodging before and after program start/closing, incidentals and personal items, non-program travel, research supplies and equipment
Program is open to: undergraduate majors and graduate students in any social science, art, culture, communications, and applied research fields; persons who have completed a BA, MA, or other higher degree but are not currently enrolled in a degree program.
GPA of 2.5 for coursework taken to date
Completion of Sophmore year of college, university, or equivalent institution
Minimum 1 year of college level Spanish or 3 years High School Spanish, or demonstrated proficiency
No prior coursework or knowledge in Maya language is necessary
Home-stays provide linguistic and cultural immersion. Families are carefully selected based on the Program Director’s 24 years of experience in the community of Pisté. Participants are required to purchase a hammock for sleeping in homestays. The cost of a true Yucatec hammock made for daily sleeping use (versus one bought in a tourist context) varies between $35 to $60. A special hammock shopping trip to a nearby town is organized during the first days of the program.
Posada Lodging and Meals: OSEA partners with the Posada Olalde a Maya family-run posada that offers superior linguistic immersion and cross-cultural experience. Victor Olalde, owner and tour guide, has been a friend and collaborator of OSEA for over 20 years. He has significant cross cultural experience with OSEA students and tourists and he has often worked as the Student Liaison for OSEA. This experience helps make the Posada Olalde a particularly welcome place to stay. The Posada Olalde provide a comfortable experience with privacy, study areas, internet, immersion, and ease of a hotel. The Posada Olalde is ideally situated within 2 blocks of the OSEA Headquarters, one block from the main road of Pisté, and 20 minutes walking distance from Chichén Itzá.
The cost of Lodging and Meals are adjusted every year in accordance with the cost of living and the exchange rate with the Mexican peso (mxn). The prices are set in the fall of each year as an estimated price. The fluctuations in the exchange rate have forced us to establish a price verification of lodging and meals in April. OSEA reserves the right to slightly adjust the fee for room and board from $50 if the value of the peso to the dollar rises significantly more than half a point compared to the fall rate when the estimated prices were established. In the case of such a fluctuation, the change in cost basis will be communicated as soon as possible. In the case that such a change is warranted, participants are guaranteed that the additional funds are directly paid to homestay families, meal providers, and student lodging.
Mexican and other Latin American Nationals who are not Studying in the USA or Europe:
Special pricing for Mexican and other Latin American citizens is available. To be eligible you must (1) not have US citizenship or passport nor have a dual citizenship with the USA and an other country. (2) You must not have studied for or be currently enrolled in a high school, bachelors, masters, graduate certificate, or doctoral program in the USA or in any country of Europe. (3) You must be a citizen of and reside in Mexico, Latin America or other qualifying country with full time residency. (4) You must be able to provide proof of advanced levels of English proficiency of sufficient level to be able read and comprehend English language texts.
Mexican, Latin American and other qualifying nationals can receive up to a 55% discount on OSEA programs. Each program rate is different. Discounted rate to participate in Maya Health and Healing for credit is $900 plus the costs of food and lodging.
External Resources for Pre-Med and Medical Anthropology Students
"What is Shadowing a Physician?" From Univ Washington Med School
Online Directory of Medical Anthropologists, SMA
Society for Medical Anthropology Resources page
The Politics of Healing. A History of Alternative Medicine in the USA
"What is Naturpathic Medicine?" from American Association of Naturpathic Physicians
Course Syllabi in Medical Anthropology, provided by Society Medical Anthropology, AAA
As an allopathic doctor, "Why learn Cross Cultural Perspective about Health and Healing?"
The Centre for the Cross-Cultural Study of Health and Healing
Jonathan Ellerby PhD Comments on Cross cultural Healing Perspectives
Definition of Naturpathy by the National Center for Complimentary and Altnerative Medicine, at the NIH
Naturopathy—also called naturopathic medicine—is a medical system that has evolved from a combination of traditional practices and health care approaches popular in Europe during the 19th century.
Naturpathy History from Wikipedia
Non-western Medicine. article by Peter Worsley
What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)? by the National Center for CAM
* Direct OSEA Enrollment allows students from any university with any residence status or nationality to enroll directly with OSEA. Payment is made directly to OSEA as per guidelines described in the application process and on the OSEA website. Upon completion of the program the student receives an OSEA transcript and a transcript from its accredited partner the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán or UADY. In order to facilate the transfer of credits, students receive two copies of each transcript in two separate sealed envelopes in September following the completion of summer program. One of these sealed and stamped envelopes should be stored among your important papers and the second envelope is then hand-delivered by the student to the registrar of their university in order to comply with their rules for accepting transfer credits. Please note that your university may have a policy that requires the registrar to reject transcripts delivered in envelopes that have been tampered with or broken.