Students will be putting their public health knowledge to the test nearly 10,000 miles from Los Angeles this summer — in the rural Ugandan district of Mpigi.

Students from all degree programs are eligible to participate in the annual public health immersion program, which began last year under the leadership of Heather Wipfli, PhD, assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and associate director of the USC Institute for Global Health.

The USC team again will work with local university students and other partners to lead a public health workshop during a weeklong youth soccer camp June 6-17. The camp is run by Wipfli and her 13-year-old son, Ray, through his nonprofit, Ray United FC.

Last year more than 1,000 Ugandan youth attended the program. Integrated with soccer trainings and scrimmages, public health lessons led by the university students ranged from dental hygiene to sanitation practices, and stressed the importance of physical activity as a contributor to preventive health and wellness.

The students developed pre- and post-assessments which they administered to the youth to evaluate their baseline knowledge and learning from the experience. That data informed recommendations regarding maternal health, HIV/AIDS, nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, diarrheal disease and health systems management — and helped shape activities to come in this year’s camp.

The students also brought donated camp materials including bags, shirts, hygiene supplies and public health workbooks they developed themselves. After the camp, they remained in Uganda for an additional week to visit health centers and organizations working to learn more about healthcare delivery in the country.

Students must submit an interest form to participate in the program. Course credit may be available to undergraduates and students looking to meet practicum requirements may be able to extend their trips.

To learn more and submit an interest form, visit

— Larissa Puro