Fundamentals of Global Health

This course introduces the principles and scope of global health and health-related strategies important for an understanding of health and disease in a global context. Topics discussed in this interdisciplinary course range from global health governance and policy to the role of health systems, ethics and advocacy for research and development, to the effects of globalization and innovation in global health on major health outcomes.

Dr. K. (Kerstin) Klipstein-Grobusch
Associate Professor, UMC Utrecht
Quick overview
  • 3 weeks - 14 hrs / wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online
  • English
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Enrollment closes 07/10/2024 85 days left to apply
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Course description

What is global health? Which global health challenges do we face? What are key principles of global health? Who are the major actors in global health and how do they influence global health policy? What are the Sustainable Development Goals and how could they advance addressing major health challenges globally? What is the role of health systems, international partnership, ethical aspects, equity and advocacy for research and development? And what is the impact of migration, globalisation and innovation on health outcomes? These are some of the questions and topics that will be interdisciplinary addressed in this course by international faculty and participants.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

• Understand the health challenges of today’s globalizing world
• Apply what you learn directly to your own research
• Gain insights into methods used in global health research
• Find out how population health is affected by global trends

In particular, you should be able to:

• Describe and define the scope and principles of global health
• Describe health-related development goals and targets
• Understand basic health indicators
• Describe demographic trends and population growth
• Describe social determinants and inequalities in health
• Understand the theory of epidemiological transition
• Describe approaches to health equity
• Describe the use of mixed methods for global health research
• Describe legal frameworks for global health/global health governance
• Understand ethical issues in global health research

Course topics

• Global health governance
The roles and activities of key actors in global health governance will be introduced and analyzed. You will be acquainted with global health legal frameworks, such as the WHO constitution, the Alma Ata declaration and the Human Right to Health.
• Health indicators and burden of disease
The objectives and methodologies of burden of disease studies will be analyzed. You will learn about summary measures of population health and their calculation.
• Mixed-method approaches in global health research
This topic deals with the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods. We will discuss the application of these methods and introduce their designs.
• Social determinants of health
We will focus on the conditions that shape one’s health, such as where you are born, where you live and the type of work you do. In this learning unit, you will be asked to write an essay about the most important social determinants of health in your country.
• Health transition
This consists of three parts: demographic, epidemiologic and nutrition transition. This topic discusses the position of Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in the health transition and explains the implications of transitions for health policy.
• Migration and health
You will be familiarized with the reasons for human migration and learn about the effects of migration on health. This topic identifies the health status of ethnic and migrant populations, and provides possible explanations for poor health among ethnic minorities and migrants.
• Health equity
You will distinguish health equity from inequality and describe methods for measuring health equity. This topic further discusses the advantages and disadvantages of universal health coverage.
• Development strategies
This topic introduces previous development strategies and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It gives insights into the impact and shortcomings of the MDGs. You will also take a look at the Sustainable Development Goals beyond 2015.
• Health advocacy
Health advocacy attempts to bring health issues to the top of the political agenda. You will find out how health advocacy relates to awareness raising and behavioral change, and why it is a crucial tool to attain better health for all. This topic further describes how advocacy contributes to accountability in the health system.
• Sustainability and health
This topic is concerned with the question: How can we ensure health for future generations? Eradication of disease, sustainable drug development and innovation are issues to be explored.
• Ethics of global health research
Clinical research in a global context is accompanied by a range of ethical issues. This topic discusses the obligations of a researcher before, during and after conducting a trial.


To successfully complete this course, you need to actively participate in the discussion forums and complete the learning unit assignments, including:
• One collaborative assignment including a peer review
• One final collaborative PowerPoint and presentation in the form of a short video clip


To enrol in this course, you need:
• Preferably a Master’s degree, but at least a Bachelor’s degree (or the equivalent in medical education, public health, social sciences or related disciplines)
• Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing

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