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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Matthew Sparke
G H 101
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Global Health: Disparities, Determinants, Policies and Outcomes

Provides an introduction to global health, including: the burden and distribution of disease and mortality; the determinants of global health disparities; the making of global health policies; and the outcomes of global health interventions. Offered: jointly with GEOG 180/JSIS B 180; W.

Class description

IF YOU NEED AN ADD CODE FOR GH 101, PLEASE EMAIL KATIE WAKEFIELD (katiew74@u.washington.edu) PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT THE CLASS DOES COUNT FOR A WRITING (W) CREDIT.

This course introduces global health by putting its contemporary definition, determinants, development and direction as a field into a broad global context. It is open to students from all disciplines.

The class is divided into four core topics: i) the burden and distribution of disease and mortality; ii) the determinants of global health disparities; iii) the development of global health policies; and, iv) the outcomes of global health interventions. All are examined in relation to wider patterns of global interdependency, highlighting how both global health disparities and global health policy responses are themselves shaped by global ties and tensions.

1. We describe the burden of disease and mortality in multiple dimensions; by geography, social class, race, and examines patterns of health and welfare disparity among all of these dimensions. Changes in disease patterns over time are also addressed, understanding the associated role of global social, political, and economic changes.

2. We examine the social, political and economic determinants of health disparities. Particular attention is paid in this respect to the ways in which global interdependencies that do not appear immediately related to health (e.g. the ties of global trade, of global finance, and of global governance) nevertheless play a role in explaining unequal experiences of sickness and health.

3. We explore ways in which different concepts of globalization shape distinct approaches to policy. We trace how health policy takes different forms in changing political-economic environments including discussions of primary health care systems (e.g. inadequate investment, health workforce migration management); disease specific policies (e.g., child survival, AIDS treatment); and economic policies (e.g. World Bank & IMF Structural Adjustment Programs, pharmaceutical patent protections). The course focuses on the most important and consequential of these with view to helping students better understand the terrain of global governance in which any new global health policy is necessarily developed.

4. The fourth part of the class examines the outcomes resulting from the ways in which new global health policies change patterns of health practice and intervention globally. In this way the class circles back to the basic question of definition with which it began, thereby evaluating the degree to which policy responses to global health disparities are taking global health further away from the fields of tropical medicine and international health from which it first developed.

TEXTBOOK ALERT: FOR 2013 WE WILL USE A READER (FROM PROFESSIONAL COPY AND PRINT ON THE AVE) AS THE MAIN TEXT FOR THIS CLASS. IT WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER JAN 7th.

Student learning goals

i) Comprehend the basic patterns and causes of global health disparities

ii) Understand the evolution of major responses to the world health situation over the past century, including primary health care, child survival, and the changing mix of biological, technical, socioeconomic, and political approaches

iii) Identify the agendas, structures, assumptions, and impact of international aid, including who makes decisions about priorities and health related policies

iv) Discuss how health policy has been developed since 1950

v) Compare and contrast the effectiveness of specific global health interventions

General method of instruction

Lectures, movies, guest lectures, quiz sections, group work, individualized evaluation

Recommended preparation

The class is open to undergraduates from right across campus, and is designed to help them connect work in their Major (if they have chosen one already) with the work of Global Health.

Class assignments and grading

Reading, class participation, research project organized around a modified application to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria TEXTBOOK ALERT: FOR 2012 WE WILL USE A READER (FROM PROFESSIONAL COPY AND PRINT ON THE AVE) AS THE MAIN TEXT FOR THIS CLASS. IT WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER JAN 7th.

Midterm, final, and country-based global health research project presented in the form of a modified application to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Link to class syllabus
Last Update by Matthew Sparke
Date: 01/01/2013