Healthcare Changemakers FAQs

‌Get answers to common questions. For any questions not answered here, please contact the Social Innovation Colalboratory at or 651-962-6015.

You submit a proposal for the work you would like to do to the Biology Department and the Social Innovation Collaboratory. If you’re proposal is approved (see proposal details), you can complete the Experiential Learning Form from the University Registrar, obtain the appropriate signatures, and submit the form to the Registrar’s office in order to officially enroll in the course.

We ask that you include:

  1. A description of your proposed experience. Please include the organization you will be working with, the location of your work, the nature of what you will be doing, and the proposed schedule for this experience (i.e., how you will fulfill the 100 or 200 hours).
  2. A description of how your work will contribute to the Common Good. Please clearly explain how your activities and the activities of your partner organization contribute to the health care of underserved populations. This description will be important in determining whether your proposal qualifies for the Health Care Changemaker program.
  3. A letter of support from your partner organization indicating a willingness to support your activities.

For more details about the proposal, see the Health Care Changemakers webpage.

The minimum number of hours of on-site work is 200 hours for four credits (BIOL 478) and 100 hours for two credits (BIOL 476).

You must attend 2 prepartory workshops with Social Innovation Collaboratory staff, meet separately with your mentor and on-site supervisor, write regular reflection, complete readings, and submit a “changemaking reflection” including a paper and a blog or video.

Credit granted in this way is graded on an S/R (pass/fail) basis: to pass you must complete all course components satisfactorily. These criteria will be elaborated once you are successfully enrolled in the course.

Yes, but remember that summer tuition at St. Thomas is reduced by half.

No, it can be done in any semester. However, we do envision more students doing this work during the summer.

You have to set it up yourself, although there are many resources in the Biology Department, the Social Innovation Collaboratory, the St Thomas Volunteer Center, and elsewhere that can help you make connections.

You can work anywhere, as long as your focus is on health care for underserved populations.

Yes, to ensure your readiness, safety, and health while studying abroad, we require that you:

  • Are in good academic and conduct standing.
  • Register your international travel no later than two weeks prior to departure.
  • Review and plan to follow procedures relevant to students on the Office of Study Abroad website. You may also need to meet with OSA or other related offices prior to your departure (we’ll let you know).
  • Know that insurance (~$50/month) will be billed to your St. Thomas account via Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI).
  • Verify that no U.S. Department of State Travel Warning exists for your chosen destination. If there is a Warning, Alert or Caution for your destination, contact OSA. See Risk Assessment, Travel Warnings & Cancellation Policies
  • Verify the immigration/entry requirements for your destination country(ies). Students who are not U.S. citizens may have different requirements and may need additional time to secure their travel documents. Consult OSA with any questions.
  • Submit one copy of your passport (info page with photo and passport number as well as any visas obtained for this trip) to the Social Innovation Collaboratory.

If your proposal is approved for the Health Care Changemaker program, your credits will count as BIOL electives that are required for Biology BS, BA, and Global Health majors.

Any faculty member in Biology can serve as a faculty mentor. Dr. Adam Kay is available to serve as mentor for any applicant.

Experience in the health care system. An introduction to critical reflection on health care challenges. An opportunity to collaborate with underserved populations. A chance to get “real-world” experience that will shine on your transcript and resume.