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Global Health Courses

Luwam Gebrekristos, MPH, doctoral student, Allison Groves, PhD, assistant professor, and Alex Ezeh, PhD, professor, at The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing in Nairobi
In May 2023, doctoral student Luwam Gebrekristos, MPH, along with Alex Ezeh, PhD, professor, and Allison Groves, PhD, assistant professor, participated in The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing in Nairobi. The Commission is co-led by Dr. Ezeh.

Drexel University offers many courses each term related to global health. Below is a list of select course offerings, representative of the types of global health courses taught at the university. Check out all of the course descriptions in the Drexel Catalog.

Through global health classes students learn to see the connections between health challenges in our home city of Philadelphia and health challenges all over the world: Learn locally and apply globally, learn globally and apply locally.

Global health classes cover such topics as climate change, human rights, maternal and child health, infectious disease, food, migration, and air pollution. Classes are taught through the lens of Drexel Dornsife's mission of health as a human right.

Learn more about Dornsife's global health programs for graduates (on campus and online options) and undergraduates. 

Please note that this list is a sample of graduate courses. Special topics courses may also focus on global health, and certain courses may not be offered every term. Certain classes may require prerequisites or have additional restrictions

Community Health and Prevention

Overview of Issues in Global Health
This introductory course covers the major issues and considerations involved in global health. It is a survey course that is designed to familiarize students with the major health issues across the globe, including general concepts such as determinants of health, the measurements of health status, as well as demographic and other global trends and their impact on the global burden of the disease. The course will also address specific health issues that affect much of the world’s population such as communicable diseases, malnutrition, water and sanitation, chronic diseases, injuries and environmental health challenges, as well as the factors that threaten reproductive and child health.

Global Health Ethics
Global health ethics is an emerging discipline, rooted in bioethics, but often recognizing the challenges of globalization, cultural diversity, social and economic inequities, and the broad scope of global health concerns. Often, global health ethics is considered a field of applied ethics, inquiry, and practice engaged in interprofessional, transdisciplinary and transcultural dialogue, rigorous analysis, and normative guidance. Global health ethics also engages with human rights discourses in analyzing the responsibilities and actions of both state and non-state actors.

Global Issues in Maternal and Child Health
This course covers maternal and child health (MCH) disparities in the developing world using a life course perspective. Course material includes three pedagogical principles. First, MCH issues outside the United States are sometimes very similar to domestic issues. Second, MCH issues in the developing world are sometimes drastically different than domestic issues. And, finally, case studies around the globe that MCH includes external factors beyond the individual level of the social ecological model. Emphasis will be placed not only on providing practice-based evidence of MCH disparities from around the world, but also evidence-based practice examples for prevention, intervention, and ultimately the reduction of global MCH disparities.

Migration and Health
This course provides an overview of the health issues experienced by immigrant and migrant populations, with emphasis on Latino im/migrants in the U.S. The course will cover theoretical frameworks to understand migration as a series of phases and to analyze the impact of individual, contextual, structural, and cultural determinants on im/migrants’ health across migration phases. Students will gain an understanding of migration and health theories, methodological approaches, and data sources to examine specific public health topics, such as health care access and utilization, HIV infection risk, and chronic disease prevention and control among immigrant and mobile populations. The course will also cover strategies and interventions to address the health needs of these populations.

Monitoring and Evaluation in Global Health Programs and Advocacy
This course focuses upon program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) challenges and considerations in a global health setting. The course presents a series of case studies and requires students to engage in considering how M&E systems in these settings can be developed using the CART principles, which seek to ensure that M&E data is credible, actionable, responsible (feasible and cost-effective), and transportable (generalizable). The course also presents the challenge of M&E in the context of advocacy campaigns.

Theory & Practice of CHP II
This course focuses on public health interventions, specifically how theory and research intersect in public health programming. It discusses individual and social theories of change to design interventions across several socio-ecological domains, from the intra-personal to the global level. Process evaluation and outcome assessment of interventions are covered.

Environmental and Occupational Health

Public Health Impacts of Global Climate Change
This course provides an overview of the public health impacts of a changing global climate. The course briefly reviews the scientific basis of observed and projected changes in the climate system. Then the course surveys the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on human health and adaptation strategies to reduce these impacts, including those due to heat waves, floods and storms, infectious agents and disease vectors, air pollutants, the food supply, occupational health, and population displacement and conflict. There is particular attention to vulnerable populations and differences in projected health impacts among populations.

The World's Water
Worldwide, 25% of people lack safely managed drinking water services and nearly 50% lack safely managed sanitation services. Safe and sufficient water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) are key for health and human rights. WASH services are a critical component of responses to infectious disease epidemics and ensuring infection prevention in healthcare facilities. This course discusses a wide variety of topics related to WASH around the globe and the U.S. and will explore how WASH problems are compounded by emerging infectious diseases, climate change and rapid urbanization.

Global Air Pollution and Health
This course examines how air pollutants are emitted into or form in the atmosphere, how people are exposed to air pollutants, and how these pollutants contribute to the burden of death, disease and disability in human populations. Students consider inequities in the impact of air pollutants on human populations across the globe and learn about national and international efforts to solve air pollution as a global health problem.

Healthy Housing and Built Environment
The importance of housing and the built environment is recognized in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #11 to make places where people live inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. This course provides an overview how housing and the built environment affect health, with attention to pathways through which both harmful exposures and health-supportive opportunities affect populations. Students will be guided to contribute to the breadth of topics and perspectives discussed, to access and appraise relevant evidence, to reflect on social and historical factors that have led to place-based inequities, to juxtapose and compare plans with regards to their effects on health and health equity, and to articulate ways that health benefits of built environment change can be amplified.

Introduction to Urban Health
It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world's population will live in urban areas. Promoting population health and health equity is a key challenge, but also a key opportunity for cities and broader urban areas that surround them. This course is designed to provide an overview of urban health including theory, methodology, and empirical evidence. The course will explore urban health strategies, including programs and policies aimed at impacting the social determinants of health, and how these strategies affect health outcomes of populations in urban settings.

Public Health and Disaster Preparedness
This course will cover key topics in the evolving field of public health emergency preparedness. The practice of public health involves a range of skills and knowledge areas that are used on a daily basis to improve the health of communities. During or emergencies public health agencies have important roles to protect the health of the public that extend the skills and responsibilities of day-to-day public health practice.

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Disease Outbreak Investigations
The emergence of new pathogens and drug resistance, as well as increased transmission opportunities caused by globalization has led to a rising prevalence of new infectious diseases as well as reemergence of older diseases. This course will focus on the surveillance, identification, control, and prevention of selected infectious diseases of Public Health importance both globally and within the United States. Specific areas that will be addressed include the causative agents, the routes of transmission, the host responses, environmental factors, unique risk factors, outbreak investigations, surveillance and strategies for control and prevention. 

Infectious Disease Epidemiology
This course introduces epidemiological methods specific to infectious disease epidemiology within the context of the study of several major classes of infectious diseases with global impact on public health. Students will learn about techniques in outbreak investigations as well as surveillance and disease reporting. They will learn how biological characteristics of infectious diseases such as transmission and immunity alter the more familiar approaches to descriptive and analytic epidemiology developed in the chronic disease setting.

Epidemiology of Cancer
This course provides students with training in the methods and topics specific to the epidemiology of cancer. Students will learn about cancer surveillance, etiologic studies, therapy trials, and prevention/screening studies of cancer.

Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention
This course provides a forum for in-depth discussions of one of the main public health issues. Topics include the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), trends in coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and heart failure mortality/morbidity, well-established and emerging CVD risk factors, and major strategies for CVD prevention/control.

Health Management and Policy

Health Systems Policy Analysis
This course examines alternative approaches to structuring a nation's health system and reforming existing systems. Development of an analytic framework to explore health systems of different nations and performance evaluation of those systems.

Health and Human Rights
Health and well-being are intricately associated with fundamental human rights. This course covers direct links between public health policies, political circumstances, and social and economic conditions and their effects on health of individuals and populations using the human rights framework.

The Politics of Food & Gender
This course examines the global food crisis and community nutrition in context of maternal and child health. Using current events and news stories, students will be introduced to the complex and diverse nature of the politics of food and agriculture, and how these dynamics manifest in the health and well-being of young children and their families.

Maternal & Child Health Policy
This course provides an introduction and overview of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) policy at the local, state, federal, and global level, with attention to grassroots community-centered/-led programs and advocacy, all within a framework of identifying and defining the structural root causes that perpetuate inequities. Students learn about the principles of MCH policy and the impact of policy on maternal and child health.

Open yourself to global health opportunities with Drexel Dornsife. Request more information about our global health programs.

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