Connie Weil

My major interest is the impact of socioeconomic and environmental change on human health.  Related interests include relations between rich and poor countries, the political economy of health care, migration, and agricultural colonization.  I have carried out research in Bolivia and Costa Rica and have visited Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. My analytical orientation draws on both human ecology and political economy.  Although I rely on systematic data analysis, I try not to lose sight of the meaning of my work for real individuals.

During the 1970s, I lived for two years in a farming community of Quechua-speakers who had migrated from the Andes to the Amazon Basin. I studied the adaptiveness of their move in terms of morbidity and mortality, economic status, and environmental impact.  I continue to do research on Amazonian "development," coca farming and the international cocaine trade, and the implications of migration for health.  During the 1980s, I also carried out fieldwork in several ecological zones in Bolivia to try to characterize groups of people and places in terms of childhood mortality; experience and understanding of diarrhea; and knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to oral rehydration therapy, an inexpensive and effective way to prevent death from dehydration produced by diarrhea. In 1993-94, I did twelve months of fieldwork in the dry tropics of northwestern Costa Rica.  I investigated the observable and perceived accessibility and utilization of health care from the perspectives of health professionals working at different levels (from national to local) and of the residents of two rural communities.  I had a chance to do some follow-up research in both communities for a few weeks in 1998 and 1999.

My research has provided me with opportunities to travel, to live with people whose circumstances are very different from my own, and to do a lot of reading -- all of which I cherish.  Teaching has forced me to think more clearly about what I am doing and why it is worth doing, and I enjoy working with students. Visit my course Web sites at http://www.geog.edu/courses/4211/ and 5211/.

Educational Background & Specialties

Specialties

  • agricultural colonization
  • Amazonian "development"
  • coca farming
  • human ecology
  • international cocaine trade
  • Latin America
  • medical geography
  • migration
  • tourism
  • impact of socioeconomic and environmental change on human health
  • health and health care inequalities
  • geographic education
Courses Taught
  • Geog 3411/5411 - Geography of Health
  • Geog 3985 - Senior Project Seminar
  • Geog 4121 - Latin America
  • Geog 8001 - Proseminar: Nature and Society
  • Geog 8380 - Seminar: Medical Geography
  • Geog 4700 - Community Service Learning
Publications
  • Una Invitación a la Geografí­a de Salud. Weil, Connie, 1995.
  • Verde Es la Esperanza: Colonización, Comunidad y Coca en la Amazonia: Perspectivas Bolivianas. Weil, Connie, J. Weil, Los Amigos del Libro, 1993.
Awards
  • Academy of Distinguished Teachers, University of Minnesota
  • Fulbright Scholar Award
  • Morse Amoco/Alumni Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 1986