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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Christopher J Murray
G H 415
Seattle Campus

Global Health Challenges

Introduces principal health problems of the world's populations, and major challenges to improving health globally. Explores interdisciplinary factors accounting for health patterns, ranging from either physiological basis to their economic, social, and political context. Prerequisite: MATH 124; either BIOL 180, STAT 311, or Q SCI 381. Offered: A.

Class description

This course introduces the principal health problems of the world's populations, and the major challenges to improving health at a global level. It is an inter-disciplinary exploration of the factors that account for these health patterns, ranging from their physiological basis to their economic, social and political context. Topics include: infectious diseases, injuries, risk factors, health system performance, and the role of international agencies in shaping the landscape of global health policy. Throughout the course, a heavy emphasis is placed on what we know and how we know about global health problems.

Student learning goals

Analyze systematically the evidence presented in published research on global health problems, potential solutions, system barriers and political/economic dimensions

Discuss the major causes of disease burden, the pattern and variability in health issues around the globe, as well as think critically about the magnitude and complex nature of global health challenges and ways to address them

Display knowledge of the world’s most significant diseases, including their causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention, and associated risk factors

Elaborate on specific topics such as: defining and quantifying health, measuring mortality and trends in adult and child mortality, diseases and risk factors in populations, the epidemiological transition, health inequalities, framework for health systems performance assessment, financing of health care

Explain and apply basic concepts of epidemiology, economics and health policy, mastered through the course’s readings and problem sets

Calculate and interpret important health statistics such as disease incidence and prevalence, maternal mortality rates and ratios, disability-adjusted life years, attributable burden, and avoidable risk, as a result of the weekly problem sets - a blend of qualitative and quantitative questions

General method of instruction

Instruction for this course is a combination of two lectures per week, plus a one hour quiz section taught by the course teaching assistant.

Recommended preparation

MATH 124 or equivalent, and at least one of the following or equivalent: BIOL 180, STAT 311 or QSCI 381

Class assignments and grading

There will be required weekly problem sets for the course. Problem sets will be graded on a scale of 1(worst) to 5 (best), with a 0 grade if no problem set is turned in.

Problem sets (25%), class participation (10%), an in-class midterm (20%), and a final (45%).


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.
Last Update by Sean P Lassiter
Date: 04/15/2009