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Upcoming Trips/Cultural Immersion Courses for 2017

Spring Break:  China – graduate nursing students only

Travel Dates: March 2017
Estimated Trip Cost:  TBD
Contact Person:  Dr. Fuqin Liu

April, 2017:  Netherlands - graduate nursing students only

Travel Dates: April 5-15, 2017
Estimated Trip Cost:  TBD
Contact person (s) Dr. Anne Koci

Summer 1 (Maymester) NURS 4902 Peruvian Cultural Immersion Elective
                                          NURS 6903 Peruvian Cultural Immersion Elective

Travel Dates:  May 16 -28th, 2017
Estimated Trip Cost: TBD plus credit hour expense for the elective
Contact person(s): Dr. Allison Huffman  (
                              Dr. Peggy Landrum

Focus TBD.  Attendance and participation in an International Nursing Conference will be required.  Will include visits to Peruvian Colleges of Nursing, patient care locations (acute care facilities and clinic/community).  Cultural experiences will include a visit to Machu Picchu and possibly a visit to an additional South American country.

Summer 1 (Maymester):  NURS 4902 Vietnamese Cultural Immersion Elective
                                            NURS 6903  Vietnamese Cultural Immersion Elective

Dates:  May13-23rd, 2017
Estimated cost:  TBD plus credit hour expense
Contact Person:  Dr. Vi Ho (
                           Dr. Joan Edwards

This elective focuses on Southeast Asian culture in general and the healthcare needs of the Vietnamese population. Students will explore the differences and similarities for Southeast Asians living in the United States as opposed to Southeast Asians living in their respective original countries. Students will gain awareness of health issues/beliefs and behaviors, common interventions, and resources utilized by the Vietnamese population.

Summer 1 or II:  NURS 4902 Spanish Cultural Immersion Elective – Houston
                              NURS 4902 Spanish Cultural Immersion Elective – Dallas

Dates: TBD
Estimated cost:  2 hour credit for undergraduate elective
Contact person:  TBD

Houston and Dallas are both communities permeated with the Hispanic culture and immigrants.  The focus of this elective will be on the Hispanic culture and the healthcare needs of this population. Differences and similarities will be discussed for Hispanics living in the United States as opposed to Hispanics living in Latin America. Students will gain awareness for health care issues including cultural beliefs which can strongly influence health seeking behaviors, nutrition, and accessing of health care providers.  Field trips will be a form of active learning included in this course. 

Summer III:  NURS 4902 Chile Cultural Immersion Elective -
                       NURS 6903 Chile Cultural Immersion Elective -

Travel Dates:    July 15-23rd, 2017
Estimated Cost:  TBD plus cost of elective credit hours
Contact Person:  Dr. Joan Edwards
                           Dr. Sandra Cesario

The elective will take place mostly within the city and surrounding area of Santiago, Chile.  Chilean health issues, nursing education, nursing practice and the use of evidence-based practice within the country will be discussed.  Students and faculty will attend and present scholarship at an international nursing/student nursing conference hosted by several of our Chilean Colleges of Nursing hosts. 


2016 Trips


The Vietnamese Asian Cultural Immersion course led by Dr. Vi Ho and Ms. Liz Libby was offered on the Houston campus as one of the Summer I courses. There were a total of 29 students enrolled.  

The course focused on the Vietnamese culture and the healthcare needs of this population in the U.S. The students were introduced to the language structure, various religions, food and nutrition. Health beliefs, health care practices, herbal treatments, common diseases, mental and psycho-social issues were also discussed. Vietnamese refugees and their immigration journey along with the patterns of adaptation to new life in the U. S. were presented through a panel discussion.

In conjunction with lectures presented by the experts, the student gained an awareness of issues surrounding the Vietnamese Asian culture and their health needs through group activities, fields trips, community site visits, and daily journals. The students’ in-depth knowledge of this population’s health and culture issues was further defined by their paper addressing those issues and proposed interventions.

The class ended with a Vietnamese typical luncheon and traditional music with a surprise visit by the Houston Associate Dean, Dr. Ainsle Nibert. 

“I feel that I know more about the Vietnamese culture and their health issues now after taking this course. I also feel more culturally competent when taking care of a Vietnamese patient”, several students commented.

INDONESIA:  A total of 25 (9 undergraduate students, 4 graduate students and 12 faculty and guests) participated in 10-day Indonesian Education Abroad elective courses in Spring, 2016.  Prior to the trip, student participants from the Houston and Dallas campuses explored health differences and similarities between Indonesia and the United States.  Groups of undergraduate students chose a specific health topic found in both countries and conducted an abbreviated literature review to identify current evidence-based interventions to improve health outcomes.  Topics were displayed as PICO posters at the 5th Padjadjaran International Nursing Conference 2016.  The conference was focused on “Improving Quality of Health Care through Transformative Nursing Education and Research for Sustainable Health Development”.  Graduate students also prepared PICO posters, but on an individual basis.  Ms. Kathryn Kramer, a PhD graduate nursing student, won 1st prize for her winning poster showing the value of a robotic “Virtual Sitter”.

This course fulfilled the 2-hour nursing elective requirement for the TWU Bachelor of Science – Nursing Major and a 3-hour elective for the graduate nursing program.  Two and one half days were spent exploring Bali and the Balinese culture, along with visiting a local health clinic to better understand the local health system throughout Indonesia.  The remainder of the time was spent in Bandung, Java, with several days spent participating in the UNPAD International Nursing Conference, in addition to experiencing Sundanese and Javanese culture and cuisine. 

PERU: TWU’s second year of Peruvian education abroad cultural immersion courses occurred in Summer 1 – May 17-29, 2016.  Six TWU faculty (Dr. Allison Huffman, Dr. Joan Edwards, Dr. Peggy Landrum, Dr. Susan Mellott, Dr. Judy McFarlane, and Dr. Sheila Haley) participated in the trip.  Student participants included 24 TWU nursing undergraduates, 2 TWU doctoral nursing students, and one undergraduate pre-physical therapy student from the University of Texas at Dallas. Activities included small group participation with two different universities in Lima, Universidad Maria Auxiliadora and Universidad Weiner, and one women’s hospital, Clinica Santa Isabel. Students shared their PICO research projects in addition to faculty and students providing information about the PICO process.  The “Second International Congress of Nursing: New evidence for quality care in nursing" was held on May 19th and 20th. TWU faculty speakers at the conference included Dr. Joan Edwards, Dr. Allison Huffman, Dr. Sheila Haley, Dr. Susan Mellott, and Dr. Judy McFarlane. TWU students also presented their PICO projects at the conference in interactive small discussion format.  

The second portion of the course took place on the northern coast in Chiclayo, Peru.  Students participated in a conference, “Evidence based nursing: A path to excellence in practice”, hosted by Universidad Senor de Sipan (USS) on May 23rd and 24th.  The conference included panels on patient safety and evidence based practice in which TWU faculty participated.  There were also presentations by TWU faculty and Peruvian healthcare leaders in Chiclayo. Again students presented their PICO research in interactive group forums. The last day in Chiclayo consisted of a community experience where students visited two local hospitals and later led a teaching project for adolescent girls at a rural high school, teaching about the female cycle through the use of cycle beads.  Cultural exposure and learning took place throughout the trip with many opportunities to practice Spanish and eat real Peruvian food.   Tours were part of the educational experience in Lima, Chiclayo, Cusco, and concluded with amazing Machu Picchu. It was magnifico!  A special thanks to Dr. Patrick Palmieri and Ms. Nataly Membrillo for their help and support with organizing the trip.

2015 Trips

VIETNAM -The Vietnamese Cultural Immersion Courses NURS 4902 and NURS 6903 took place May 26 – June 8, 2015 with arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on May 28th.  Thirteen undergraduate and graduate students participated, led by Dr. Vi Ho and Dr. Joan Edwards from Texas Woman’s University.  They were joined by Ms. Mary Laime, retired faculty from the TWU Houston campus.  Several healthcare related schools and hospitals were visited on the trip, including Binh Duong medical and nursing school in Binh Duong Province, Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh Medical and Pharmacy School, and Pham Ngoc Thach University nursing and medical school (the last three located in Ho Chi Minh City).  Students and faculty benefited greatly from opportunities to interact and network with Vietnamese colleagues, sharing similarities and differences in education and practice.  TWU student groups enthusiastically explained their PICO poster projects which highlighted health issues common in both the USA and Vietnam with evidence based-approaches from a recent literature research review to improve patient outcomes.  Simulation methodologies were also a hot topic.  Vietnamese faculty and students at all locations were eager to learn about what the 21st Century holds for the profession of nursing.  Dr. Joan Edwards shared information on this requested topic.  A high-light of the trip was the MOU signing ceremony with Pham Ngoc Thach University representative, Dr. Cao Van Thinh.


 PERU - Five TWU College of Nursing faculty (Dr. Joan Edwards, Dr. Sandra Cesario, Dr. Anne Koci, Dr. Peggy Landrum, and Dr. Allison Huffman) and 27 nursing students (24 undergraduates, one baccalaureate graduate, one PhD nursing student, and one DNP student) spent 11 days of cultural immersion in the Peruvian health care sector.  The experience began with a “Forum for the International Day of Nursing” on May 13th at the Peruvian Ministry of Health.  The forum was sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization, the Colegio de Enfermeros del Peru (Peruvian Board of Nursing and National Nursing Association), and the Peruvian Ministry of Health. This event was attended by 254 invited Peruvian, American and Cuban nursing leaders.

The next event (May 14th) was a “Coloquio International en Salud” held at Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN).  Texas Woman’s University (TWU) nursing faculty along with other speakers presented their areas of expertise identified as beneficial for the Peruvian nursing sector. In addition the TWU students shared their experiences and knowledge gained from constructing a PICO (Population/Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome) Project as a method of investigation.  Their presentations took place as part of Dr. Joan Edwards’ general session on PICOT, in addition to later in the afternoon with nursing student peers from Peru.   At the closing of the event all participants enjoyed traditional Peruvian music and dancing.

On May 15th the TWU contingent started the day with a visit to a community health clinic where participants gained an understanding of the delivery of primary care to vulnerable populations. Following this visit, the group participated in a forum at the Universidad de Ciencias y Humanidades (UCH).  TWU students were again invited to present their group PICO posters to all attendees.  TWU faculty presented research in their areas of expertise.

An invited guest participant, Jody Cesana, from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) also presented at each of the above events sharing AWHONN’s mission, vision, educational materials, and resources benefiting patients and specialty nurses. Ms. Cesana met with leaders of the Peruvian neonatal society where they engaged in discussion regarding future collaborations. With the help of a translator, Ms. Cesana shared a portion of the Neonatal Orientation Education Program (NOEP). 

The next stop of the immersion tour was Universidad Catolica Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo (USAT) located in Chiclayo, Peru.  During the first two days small groups of participants visited multiple sites including public and private community health centers and hospitals. Dr. Huffman and a contingent of TWU and Peruvian nursing students traveled to a young adolescent high school, where they used interactive methodologies to instruct adolescents on the topic of feminine hygiene.   The Lambayeque Board of Nursing also hosted a reception for TWU faculty and students at their headquarters in Chiclayo.  Plans for future collaboration were explored by faculty and the Board of Nursing officers the next day. 



Rotterdam University organized and hosted The International Nurse Practitioner Symposium. Three faculty (Dr. Rita DelloStritto, Dr. Anne Koci, and Ms. Morgan Bruno) and seven nurse practitioner (NP) students from Texas Woman's University (TWU) traveled to The Netherlands April 9-17, 2015 to attend this symposium in Rotterdam. The participants at the symposium included faculty and students from TWU and Rotterdam University, and faculty from Germany, Sweden, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The TWU faculty and students presented at the symposium regarding Benchmarking the Role of the NP Globally, Emerging Health issues, and Health Technology. Additionally, each TWU faculty and student experienced cultural immersion in the Dutch health care system by shadowing Dutch nurse practitioners in the clinical setting. Germany, Sweden, Ireland, and the United Kingdom are still in their infancy stage regarding their use of NPs in the health care systems. Each country presented their interpretation of the NP role and expressed a desire to learn more from the very active USA and Dutch NP programs.


CHINA - A graduate nursing course in "Women and Family Health in China: Millennium Transitions in Policy& Practice" was held March 13-24, 2015 in China. Drs. Judith McFarlane and Fuqin Liu were the lead faculty for this course. Students forged relationships with the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Women's Hospital of Zhejiang University, School of Medicine and the Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou as well as visited women's factory work sites in Tonglu county (hometown of Dr. Liu). Additionally, students received a special lecture from the Director of Health Policy for Hangzhou City. This ten-day cultural immersion experience helped students to have a better understanding of policy and practice in relation to the health of women and families in China.

2014 Trips

ST. LUKE'S INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL - TOKYO, JAPAN  On October 13, 2014, doctoral students from Texas Woman’s University Houston and Dallas campuses participated in a global exchange with PhD Nursing students from St. Luke’s University, a general teaching facility located in the Tsukiji district of Chuo.  Students from both universities shared research topics and discussed potential future research collaboration. Tours of both the hospital and university were provided.

The hospital first opened in 1902 as a medical mission facility by the Episcopal Church. The hospital is now one of central Tokyo's largest and most comprehensive medical care facilities. The hospital was able to remain open and continue its work throughout World War II providing care to atomic bomb survivors.

Today, St. Luke's International Hospital has 539 beds and sees 2,550 outpatients on an average day.  It serves the city of Tokyo and is an internationally recognized teaching facility for medical professionals including post-graduate resident physicians and nurses.



RADIATION EFFECTS RESEARCH FOUNDATION, HIROSHIMA, JAPAN  In Fall 2014, TWU entered a collaborative relationship with the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) to augment learning opportunities for doctoral students enrolled in an elective titled Historical Research in Nursing – Exploring Japan.  Dr. Sandra Cesario, Ms. Deb Unruh, and Dr. Adrian Melissinos led this experiential learning opportunity.  The elective study-abroad course was designed as an introduction to historical study in nursing, including methodology, significance, analytic techniques, and application.  Students examined materials in local archives and other sources prior to traveling to Hiroshima. The process of conducting historical research was illustrated by lessons learned following the WWII bombing of Hiroshima and their contributions to current understanding of radiation therapy, occupational safety, civil defense, environmental controls, disaster response, and ethics. Students had the opportunity to evaluate personal worldview, values, and the professional nursing role in the context of the global health community.

RERF was established on April 1, 1975, as a nonprofit foundation under Japanese civil law within the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministries of Foreign Affairs Health and Welfare and in accordance with an agreement between the governments of Japan and the United States. RERF was preceded by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) which was established in 1947 by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with funding from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. ABCC initiated extensive health studies on A-bomb survivors in cooperation with the Japanese National Institute of Health of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which joined the research program in 1948. A comprehensive review of ABCC work by the Francis Committee in 1955 led to extensive revisions in research design and laid the foundation for the population-based studies that continue today.

Following introductory information which included a lecture by Dr. Waka Ohishi (Chief, Department of Clinical Studies at RERF) and a facilities tour, TWU visitors were able to meet with 4 former Japanese ABCC-RERF employees.  Three of the employees had been nurses who attended to the A-bomb survivors. Their period of employment comprised of different segments of time between 1947 and 1989. The highlight of the study abroad experience was the opportunity to speak with these Japanese women, who had been in Hiroshima or Nagasaki at the time of the bombings and are now 90+ years old.  One of the outcomes of this course was to preserve the history they shared with us through group preparation and submission of a poster abstract for presentation at the History of Nursing Conference in September 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.


INDONESIA CULTURAL IMMERSION COURSES NURS 4902 AND 6903 Thirteen undergraduate and graduate nursing students participated in a 14-day Indonesian Cultural Immersion course. This course fulfilled the 2-hour nursing elective requirement for the Bachelor of Science – Nursing Major and a 3-hour elective for the graduate nursing program.

Participants explored differences and similarities of Indonesian healthcare issues as opposed to United States citizens and healthcare issues within the USA. Students gained an awareness of healthcare issues within the context of the Indonesian culture. Students were able to attend and participate in the University of Padjadjaran College of Nursing’s 4th International Nursing Conference, “Improving Quality of Life through Interdisciplinary Approach in Health Care Settings”, held in Bandung, Java, Indonesia (Texas Woman’s University collaborated with the University of Padjadjaran College of Nursing in development of the conference).

Presentations from Texas Woman’s University included:

  • Pain Assessment and Management in Nursing Practice (Dr. Joan E. Edwards)
  • Interdisciplinary Approach in Managing Community Health Problems: Lessons Learned in the United States (Dr. Sandra Cesario)
  • PICO Poster: In Pregnant Women and Women of Child Bearing Age, Will Increasing Daily Folic Acid Intake to 400 mcg or Greater Decrease the Incidence of Neonatal Mortality and Neural Tube Defects? (Simone Franks, Jacqueline Chan, Cecelia Diaz, Vivian Ayala, Wynesha Bush, Peggy Adams – TWU Jr 2 nursing students )
  • PICO Poster: For School Aged Children, Does the Implementation of School Based Antismoking/Tobacco Programs Coupled with Antismoking Media Interventions Increase Knowledge and Decrease the Prevalence of Smoking in Comparison With Those Not Exposed to Antismoking and Tobacco Campaigns? (Marissa Jones, Isabelle Rowdon, Howard Tseng, Cassidy Schaffner - TWU Sr 1 nursing students)
  • PICO Poster: (Janie Acebedo, Farah Siddiqi, Elizabeth Libby – TWU graduate nursing students)

Congratulations to TWU Jr 2 nursing students who were awarded 1st place out of approximately 45 Poster submissions!

page last updated 9/26/2016 1:19 PM