Biodiversity and global health in Santarem, Brazil

Santarém is located on the western side of the state of Pará. Home to the vast Tapajós National Forest, the region comprises 25 municipalities, over one million people, and covers 722,358 square kilometers. Santarém is the largest city in the region.  It is an urban center located at the confluence of the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers with a population of over 250,000.

Evidence of human life dates back more than 11,000 years in the territory of current day Brazil. When the Portuguese arrived in the year 1500, the territory had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million. They were divided into nations, including the Tupis, Guaranis, Gês, and Arawaks. Today Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country both in terms of landmass and population and boasts the world’s seventh-largest economy.

Soy and rice production are major industries in the area. The social and environmental impact of a growing agribusiness sector, are central concerns for governments, businesses, non-profits and whole communities of people. Land tenure is also a very polemic issue, illustrated by competing claims for the same tracts of land. Many individuals, sometimes entire communities, relocate to Santarém from rural areas in search of jobs. These newcomers often graft themselves onto the city by building homes at the margins of outlying neighborhoods. Poverty at the city’s periphery is characterized by inadequate housing, poor health indicators, and limited educational opportunities.


Learn about the program opportunities available in this Amizade site.

Programs designed for one or two weeks in Brazil


Contact our office for this opportunity.


Contact our office for this opportunity.


MPIE students in Brazil

Opportunities for Summer 2023

Multilateral Partnership for Interprofessional Education (MPIE)

Brazil Team


The main themes associated with our programs in Brazil:

• Arts & Music
• Construction & Maintenance
• Disability Services
• Education and Teaching


As you or your loved ones prepare to serve with Amizade in Brazil, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that we have an exceptionally strong safety record and ability to respond to any emerging challenge.

Amizade’s Safety Record and Emergency Considerations
Center for Disease Control: Brazil
US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs: Brazil 


The Basics:

Review the Amizade Brazil Site Handbook.

BBC Profile

Recommended Reading

Steven Alexander (2007) Santarém: Riverboat Town. Missouri Partners Publishing

Kenneth Maxwell (2003) Naked Tropics: Essays on Empire and Other Rogues. New York and London: Routledge.

Joe Jackson (2009) The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power and the Seeds of the Empire. Penguin Books.

Selections from Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn, The Fate of the Forest: Destroyers, Developers and Defenders of the Amazon (1990)

Selections from Stephen Nugent and Mark Harris’s edited volume Some Other Amazonians: Perspectives on Modern Amazonia (2004)

Selections from Cynthia Radding, Landscapes of Power and Identity: Comparative Histories in the Sonoran Desert and the Forests of Amazonia from Colony to Republic (2005).

Special Topics Resources-Health Care in Brazil

Khazan, O.: What the U.S. Can Learn From Brazil’s Healthcare Mess. Atlantic. 2014

Gómez, E.: In Brazil, Health Care is a Right. CNN. 2012

Berkman, A., Garcia, J., Muñoz-Laboy, M., Paiva, V., and Parker, R.: A critical analysis of the Brazilian response to HIV/AIDS: Lessons learned for controlling and mitigating the epidemic in developing countries. American Journal of Public Health. 95(7):1162-1172, 2005.

Stay Engaged!

Global Citizen Resource Guide


Bridging Healthcare and Culture in the Brazilian Amazon: A Perspective on the MPIE Program

Bridging Healthcare and Culture in the Brazilian Amazon: A Perspective on the MPIE Program

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Reflection: Facilitating virtual service-learning programs in a pandemic world

Reflection: Facilitating virtual service-learning programs in a pandemic world

This blog is written by Amizade’s Brazil site liaison Daniel…



Get in touch with our site liaison to inquire about more opportunities in Brazil.



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