Harvard Summer Program in Kisumu, Kenya

Please note: The 2015 Kisumu, Kenya, program has been canceled.


Innovating for health transformation in Africa

Faculty: Thomas F. Burke, Roy Ahn, Ann L. Prestipino, Brett D. Nelson, Melody Eckardt, and Thomas Mote

Students in the Harvard Summer Program in Kisumu, Kenya, explore diverse approaches for using innovations and technologies to foster transformative and sustainable healthcare improvements in Africa. Closely mentored student teams design, develop, and test their own innovations.

African governments are searching for ways to harness the power of science, technology, and innovation to foster transformation in healthcare delivery. Their strategies are being significantly influenced by the forces of globalization. International development agencies are similarly rethinking their approaches in light of the opportunities provided by rapid advances in science and technology.

Understanding the greatest challenges and opportunities for change will lay the foundation upon which the students will explore diverse approaches for integrating and adopting innovations and new technologies into a healthcare delivery system. The six-week intensive program in western Kenya, will use an interdisciplinary approach and emphasizes the importance of teamwork in the design and implementation of innovations and technologies. It will demonstrate to the students that all innovations, as beneficial as they may be, must be integrated locally to be successful.

Watch a video where students in the Kisumu program discuss the innovations in healthcare they worked on.

Course of study

AAAS S-181s Study Abroad in Kisumu, Kenya: Innovating for Health Transformations in Africa (32791)

*** AAAS S-181s kisumu (32791) has been CANCELED. ***

Course credit

See Study Abroad Credit Information.


Thomas F. Burke, MD, FACEP, FRSM, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Chief, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Roy Ahn, ScD, Instructor in Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Associate Director, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Ann L. Prestipino, MPH, Senior Vice President for Surgical, Anaesthesia, Emergency Medicine, and Clinical Business Development, Massachusetts General Hospital

Brett D. Nelson, MD, MPH, DTM&H, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Director of Pediatric and Newborn Programs, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Melody J. Eckardt, MD, MPH, FACOG, Director of Maternal Health, Division of Global Health and Human Rights, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Thomas Mote, MD, Adjunct Professor, Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement, Butler University


Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

Students must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 29, 2015:

  • A completed online application that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
    • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)

    Program directors may ask for interviews.

    Students are notified of admission decisions by mid-February.


    There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The cost of the program is $0 and includes the following:

    • Tuition
    • Room and some meals
    • Excursions (including meals when appropriate)

    In addition to the program fee, students are responsible for:

    • A health insurance fee (waived if students have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
    • Transportation to and from Kenya
    • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
    • Any immunizations

    Suggested budget

    See a sample budget for estimated expenses.

    How to pay and funding options

    See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.


    A secure and comfortable housing compound.

    Additional information

    Emily DeRedon, ederedon@partners.org.

    Learn more about the program in the video and hear from students about their experiences in Kenya.

    Students with disabilities

    Students should contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.