Description of Course Goals and Curriculum
Critical Perspectives in Global Health is a survey course which explores health as a cross-sectional field, showing how different actors, institutions, technologies, and policies work to affect health outcomes worldwide. Professor Biehl covers the historical trajectory of the global health agenda from colonial medicine to modern-day, market-based healthcare systems, using case studies such as the Zika crisis and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s to emphasize how political and economic motives underscore policy making. A major goal of the class is to demonstrate how larger socio-political histories affect health by creating realities which make it difficult for individuals to execute healthy decisions, and impacts the accessibility and quality of care. Students actively engage in class, with lectures and precepts being primarily discussion-based, and through weekly reading responses. Additionally, students complete a take-home midterm exam, a small group project, and a final, independent research paper on a topic of their choosing.
Learning From Classroom Instruction
Lectures are arranged thematically and often involve small group discussions and Q&A. Key findings from the readings are highlighted and connected to broader course themes and students are called upon to share their opinions and receive a class participation grade. Professor Biehl is an enthusiastic and engaging lecturer and often utilizes many different forms of media such as documentaries and short video clips. There are also many guest lecturers who are experts in their respective fields and offer invaluable insight and perspective. Precepts build upon lecture material, and preceptors are not afraid to raise difficult questions.
Learning For and From Assignments
Students are encouraged to incorporate their home disciplines and personal interests as much as possible and present cohesive arguments rather than summaries of readings in weekly blackboard posts. The midterm is a take-home, essay based exam synthesizing course themes and readings, while the final paper allows students to apply what they have learned over the course of the semester to a topic of their choice.
The preceptors are very helpful resources for this class, as well as fellow classmates. Keeping up to date on current events, specifically those relating to global health and welfare creates a valuable perspective.
What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection
GHP 350 is the first core requirement for students pursuing the Global Health certificate. However, this course is a great option for any student interested in gaining a broad, qualitative overview of global health rather than GHP 351 which is a quantitative approach to the distribution and determinants of disease. It requires engagement with the readings, weekly discussion board posts, and thoughtful participation.