Global Health

Doctor holding a stethoscope up to a globe

The Global Health Track is designed to increase students' awareness about international health systems, global diseases and assessment techniques for the specific health needs of countries at various stages of development.

Program Objectives:

At the completion of this track, students will be able to:

  • Gain a basic understanding of the relationship between demographics indicators to health and disease
  • Gain knowledge of various global diseases
  • Gain an introduction to the study of community and public health, primary care, health care for the underserved, epidemiology, as well as infectious and tropical diseases all over the world
  • Provide international experiences and training that expose students to diverse cultures and broaden their cultural perspectives
  • Learn how to communicate more effectively with the increasingly diverse patient populations students work with in the U.S.

Meet Your Global Health Director

Program Activities

Required First & Second Year

  • Attend lecture series
  • Participate in an 8-week Experiential Opportunity in the summer following first year
    • Students must submit a project proposal including scope of work, a timeline, objectives/goals, and the organization/on-site mentor with which the student will be working, including contact information. Project must be approved by Scholarly Concentration Director prior to student departure from the U.S.
    • Project to be completed abroad for a period of 8 weeks during the summer between first and second years
    • After project completion, students are required to submit a 4-6 page paper to include the student’s project scope, the role the student played in the project, any unexpected outcomes, and reflections on the experience

Required Third & Fourth Year

  • Scholarly Project will be related to Global Health (Scholarly Project Outline form can be downloaded HERE).
  • International Clinical Elective (4 – 8 weeks) or global health medical missions (2 weeks)
    • Opportunities for electives through affiliated sites: 26 different sites, in 21 different countries
    • Students also have the option to plan their own internships through non-affiliate schools and organizations

Other Activities

  • Publishing opportunities through working with track mentors 
  • Global Health workshops, seminars and conferences at IAD, PAHO and/or the World Bank
  • Special interest groups, such as Books without Borders, Global Health Group, Physicians for Peace student chapter, etc.
  • Medical Mission Trips to Haiti held each March and July
  • Surgical Mission trips with Operation Heartbeat

Lecture Series

Topic Areas for Years I & II (sampling)

  • Human rights:
    • UN Declaration of the Human Rights
    • The framework of Health and Human Rights
    • Ethics and human right: history of physicians in human rights protection and abuses
    • Law and human rights
  • Social determinants of health:
    • Basic economics and health
    • Poverty and health
    • Income inequality and health
    • Gender issues
  • Policy, trade, and health:
      WTO, World Bank, IMF, GATT, TRIPS, trade agreements
    • NGOs
    • Governments
  • Global burden of disease:
    • Water, nutrition, and child health
    • Infectious diseases
    • Non-communicable diseases, injuries and violence
    • Measuring population health
  • Health care delivery systems:
    • Western healthcare  models: insurance, payers, individual care
    • Community-based care
    • Participation and empowerment
    • Access to care and health: evidence-based research
    • Healthcare workforce
    • Public health model: vaccination, eradication, population approaches
  • The environment and health:
    • Natural disasters and disaster relief
    • Man-made disasters: global conflict, war, refugees, global toxin burden
    • Migration, travel, global interaction: epidemics, immigration impacts on global disease

Where to Find Information

*Other educational opportunities and activities to enrich students’ experiences may be added to the curriculum during the program, per the discretion of the Scholarly Concentration Director

Syllabus Reading List

Reading List: check with course director on the most updated list.

  • Global Health 101, 2nd edition, By Richard Skolnik.
  • Essentials of Global Health, Second Edition. By Richard Skolnik
  • Awakening Hippocrates A Primer on Health, Poverty, and Global Service. Edward O’Neil, Jr, MD.  2006.
  • A Practical Guide to Global Health Service. By Edward O’Neil, Jr, MD. 2006.
  • Green Parrots:  A War Surgeon’s Diary.  By G. Strada, 2005.
  • Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World.  By Tracy Kidder.
  • Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor. By Paul Farmer
  • AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame (Comparative Studies of Health Systems and Medical Care). By Paul Farmer
  • Investing In Development: A Practical Plan To Achieve The Millennium Development Goals.  By Jeffrey Sachs
  • The Oath: A Surgeon Under Fire. By Khassan Baiev
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. By Anne Fadiman
  • The Invisible PeopleHow the U.S. Has Slept Through the Global AIDS Pandemic, the Greatest Humanitarian Catastrophe of Our Time. By Greg Behrman
  • Human Rights in the World Community: Issues and Actions.  By Richard P. Claude, Burns H. Weston
  • Human Rights and Choice in Poverty: Food Insecurity, Dependency, and Human Rights-Based Development Aid for the Third World Rural Poor. By Alan G. Smith
  • Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health. By Meredith Fort, Mary Anne Mercer and Oscar Gish
  • Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, Updated Edition With a New Preface. by Paul Farmer
  • The Uses of Haiti. Updated Edition by Paul Farmer