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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; Venice, Italy
  • Program Terms: May Session
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
May Session 2019 02/01/2019 02/14/2019 05/19/2019 06/08/2019
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Class Standing: 2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior Internships or Service Learning Available: No
Housing: Hotel/Hostel Type of Program: Faculty Led
Program Description:

Italy Comm Health 2018
Community Health History in Italy

Program Highlights

  • Rome: Unpack nearly 2,700 years of community/public health practices within this pulsating metropolis through the Forum, Rome’s key political/civic center; The Baths of Caracalla, Antiquity’s wellness epicenter; and Ostia Antica (optional), the ‘Pompeii of Rome’. Explore community health connections to the Colosseum and artwork in the Sistine and Vatican Museums. Free time to visit the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, St Peter’s and beaches of the Mediterranean.
  • Florence: Experience the rebirth of community/public health practices within the city known as the Birthplace of Renaissance through Mercy Museum, which chronicles the Misericordia’s charitable work since 1244; Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals’ current philanthropic endeavors; and the surprising connection between The David and community health. See the oldest operating pharmacy in Italy and observe the history/production of herbal medicine (Hlth 5100). Free time to visit Cinque Terre or Pisa.
  • Tuscany: Time travel through a ‘Medieval Masterpiece’, the town of Siena, and visit a former thousand-year-old hospital (now a museum) that set the standard for beauty, organization, and function in all of Europe. Enjoy a multi-course meal ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ at a sustainable farm amidst stunning panoramic landscapes dotted with vineyards and rolling hills. Free time to explore the town of San Gimignano, Tuscany’s ‘Medieval Manhattan’.
  • Venice: Study abroad aboard our private boat as we journey to the vestiges of quarantine quarters and world’s first hospital solely for Bubonic Plague patients. Exploration continues the MOSES project, a water technology designed to protect the city from serious flooding, then to the mental health museum where artifacts used in treatment, patient handicrafts, and an 18th-century apothecary are housed. Free time to explore Venice’s ‘a-MAZE-ing’ car-free city, the glass-blowing mecca of Murano or insanely colorful Burano islands.

Program Overview

Cities: Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena and San Gimignano
Estimated Program Fee: $5,999
2019 Dates: May 19–June 8, 2019



Our course commences in Rome, travels to Florence, and culminates in Venice as we explore historical aspects of community/public health through innovative methods, such as dynamic classroom settings appropriately titled, ‘Walking’, ‘Creative’, ‘Floating’, ‘Nature-based’, and ‘Healing’. The Walking Classroom is our primary mode of transportation as it empowers us to ‘learn at every turn’ while maximizing our educational experience that hinges on factors that affect a community’s health, such as:

  • Social and cultural, which encompass religion, traditions/beliefs/prejudices, social norms, economy, socioeconomic status, and politics.
  • Physical, meaning the natural/built/esthetic environment, community size and geography
  • Community Organizing and Individual Behaviors

Our walking classrooms lead us to explore remnants of the factors that impact community health through:

  • Ostia Antica, known as the “Pompeii of Rome”, a surprisingly preserved site of the first Roman colony dating back to 4th century B.C.
  • The Forum, Rome’s key political/civic center, where we unpack aspects of community/public health history via vestiges of antiquity that whisper and shout their stories
  • Baths of Caracalla, the wellness center of antiquity that housed an open-air swimming pool, a gym, vendors, and a library.
  • Tiber Island, where we cross the oldest bridge (62 BC) in Rome to visit the remains of the Temple of Jupiter in the basement of a working hospital! We meander along the Tiber River and see a health-related artifact (Aesculapius) that attests to beliefs from antiquity as well as learn about environmental concerns.
  • Colosseum, where imagination takes flight/fright/fight as we ponder the battles ensued therein and the political motives surrounding them

Our creative classrooms lead us to explore the factors that impact community health through:

  • Sistine Chapel, no better place to look up than here where masterpieces of Michelangelo abound
  • Vatican Museum, houses centuries of the Popes’ art collection as we employ visual literacy to read history. See art from the Baths as well as the works that greatly inspired Michelangelo!
  • Mercy Museum (Florence), where we trace the history of the Misericordia’s charitable work since 1244, including their prominent role in the plague and cholera outbreaks. See the first ambulance (hint—it isn’t what you would think!)
  • Foundation for Photo/Art in Hospitals (Florence), witness the philanthropic power of one individual’s behavior that has impacted every...single... continent! Engage your creativity and become a contributing photographer.
  • The David: Art + religion + politics + beauty—all carved in 6 tons of marble!

Our floating classrooms lead us to explore the factors that impact community health through:

  • Venetian Islands, where our boat travels to vestiges of quarantine island of Lazzaretto Nuovo with museum and a remnant of the world's very first hospital established solely for Bubonic Plague patients on Lazzaretto Vecchio.
  • MOSES project, a water technology designed to protect the city from serious flooding and subsequent irreversible damage
  • Insane Asylum Museum of San Servolo, now stands on the island of a former psychiatric hospital as we view various artifacts (e.g. restraining devices, hydrotherapy) historically used in treatment of mental illness. We also tour an 18th-century apothecary.

Our nature-based classrooms are designed to augment personal health activities in that they are geared toward relaxation in close proximity to the natural environment. They include

  • Mediterranean Sea—Roman Empire’s vital trade link, also known for… beaches!
  • Fattoria Poggio Alloro—sustainable farm amidst stunning Tuscan landscape
  • Botanical Gardens—superb medicinal plant collections

Our healing classrooms feature the pharmaceutical practices that influence public health as Hlth 5100 students visit working pharmacies, production plants, and historical museums.

Key locales:

  • Santa Maria Novella—oldest operating pharmacy in Italy
  • Farmacia Santa Maria della Scala—world-famous Pope’s pharmacy
  • Aboca Museum/Plant—history and production of herbal medicine



  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Sophomore, junior, or senior status (You may apply during freshman year to participate upon completion of freshman year)
  • Must be able to walk a minimum of five miles per day (including stairs)

Course Information:

Earn 3 credits in HLTH 5100 or HLTH 4100: Historical Perspectives of Community Health through Culture & Art in Italy 

This course fulfills the Global Perspectives Liberal Education requirement

Course Topics Include:

  • Historical factors (e.g. quarantine, hospitals, sanitation) that have shaped community health in Italy and their influence on current aspects of public/community health in the USA
  • Historical/current role of social/cultural factors (e.g. religion, politics, traditions, economy, social norms), individual behaviors, physical factors (e.g. environment, geography) and community organizing along with their impact on community health
  • Visual literacy, which entails reading the arts to better understand their connection to aspects of public/community health
  • Role of the arts in philanthropy
  • Role of the built/aesthetic/natural environment on public/community health
  • Historical and current pharmacy practices (Hlth 5100 or instructor approval)

Course content is divided into three tiers consisting of pre-departure, in-country, and post-departure. Because time in-country is short, during the pre-departure tier, you will complete readings, quizzes, downloads (the internet is extremely slow in Italy) and other assignments pertaining to the topics and sites you will experience when in Italy. You will also plan your presentation, which will be delivered on location in Italy as part of the walking, rolling, or floating classrooms. When in country, you are expected to be attentive and show respect to guest professors/topic experts as well as course instructors. For the safety and well-being of our class, it is critical that you abide by course protocols, UMD policies, and contribute to group cooperation and cohesiveness. Additional assignments will be completed in-country and post-departure; however, the bulk of the workload is during the pre-departure tier as it builds the foundation for the course.

Program Leaders

Ladona Tornabene, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at UMD. She teaches courses in Public Health Education and Promotion. Dr. Tornabene is also a photographer who uses her art for philanthropic purposes. With great enthusiasm, she enjoys sharing her knowledge about Italy and helped establish this course in 2011. She is absolutely passionate about empowering others to discover and pursue what resonates between heartbeats!

Ladona Tornabene, Ph.D., MCHES
UMD College: College of Education and Human Service Professions
Department: Applied Human Sciences
110 SpHC

Lisa Vogelsang has been an Assistant Professor (Adjunct) in the Department of Applied Human Sciences and has taught courses in Public Health Education and Promotion. She is a photographer who has both sold her work and used it philanthropically. Her wayfinding and Italian language skills have facilitated her leadership in Italy since 2011. Sharing how Italian history, art, religion, politics and culture has influenced health through the centuries with students brings her great joy!

Lisa Vogelsang, Ph.D.
UMD College: College of Education and Human Service Professions
Department: Applied Human Sciences (AHS)
AHS Dept. in 110 SpHC
AHS Phone for messages only: 218-726-7120

Karen Bastianelli is a board certified ambulatory care pharmacist and is an Associate Professor for the University of Minnesota-College of Pharmacy on the UMD campus. She is responsible for ensuring that students are competent and compassionate pharmaceutical care providers. In addition, Dr. Bastianelli provides Medication Therapy Management services to encourage patients to use medications as safely and effectively as possible. She has been recognized for her teaching and commitment to improving patient care.

Karen Bastianelli, PharmD
UMD College of Pharmacy
221 Life Sciences

Program Costs

Preliminary Cost Estimate | May Session 2019
Program Fee: $5,999​
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $2,695*
Estimated Total Cost: $8,694

Final cost estimates posted closer to program departure. Costs vary each year.
*Estimated out-of-pocket costs are dependent on items such as current airfare costs and individual spending habits.

If you do not see a cost estimate for the semester/term you intend to go abroad, the cost has not yet been determined. Please note cost estimates and fees may change depending on international economic factors. UMD Study Abroad delays the posting of final fees until enrollments, inflation, and exchange rates are determined in order to provide students with the most accurate pricing. We strive to post final fees by October 1 for Spring programs, March 1 for May/Summer programs, and May 1 for Fall and Academic year programs.

What’s included in the program fee?

  • Personalized advising
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Tuition
  • Housing (shared hotel rooms)
  • Breakfasts & some group meals
  • Local transportation
  • Field trips & entry fees
  • CISI international travel, health and safety coverage
  • Faculty leader support
  • Re-entry support

View the 2018 breakdown of costs (available upon Board of Regents approval.) The estimated cost does not include the $50 application fee. Financial aid is available if you take at least 6 credits total during May and Summer session combined. Credits taken on study abroad programs cannot be used in tuition banding. Scholarships are available!

Financial Aid 

Consult with One Stop to see how financial aid can apply to study abroad

  • Receive guidance about all things money related
  • Ask for estimates and budget samples
  • Learn when and how financial aid is disbursed
  • Ask about other scholarship opportunities & loan info


  • UMD Scholarship opportunities (Additional student teaching scholarships are available, contact Jim Sersha in the education department for further information.)

Travel Documents

A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of the program is required.

How to Apply

A $50 non-refundable application fee will be billed to your One Stop account upon submission of your online application. Apply early as space is limited! Provide the following program info when you apply:

Center Name: UMD Study Abroad
Education Abroad Term: May Session
Country: Italy
Program Name: Short-term: Community Health History in Italy

Apply Now - UMN Students

Apply Now Non-UMN

After you apply

  1. You'll get an email confirmation with a link to your application checklist
  2. Follow instructions to submit your application checklist items on time
  3. Your UMD study abroad program coordinator will review your app and monitor your checklist progress
  4. The program leader will confirm your acceptance
  5. Once accepted, you must complete the confirmation checklist to confirm your participation
  6. Once we receive your confirmation, your account will be billed

If you decide you cannot participate, you must login to the online application system and submit a "Cancel Request."

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