Saturday, November 13, 2010

Global health

Note:  This session turned out to be a presentation about how and why to develop courses and programs in global health, not about how to bring global health issues into ones own courses, as I was expecting.  She didn't give us any outline or goal for the talk at the beginning, so it took me a while to figure this out.

Aha - she (Heather Wipfli, USC) starts by asking us to write definitions.

  • Small audience but good ideas.


  • rural
  • babies and mothers
  • infectious diseases
  • vaccines
  • We (the rich) help others (the poor)
  • Help needed by helpless innocents, not prostitutes
  • fix and move on
Who does it:
  • community saviours/superstars
  • real (Hollywood) celebrities
Changing the perspective:
  • We are all getting older.
  • Chronic diseases  (cancer, cardiovascular, asthma, diabetes) kill most people even in low-income countries.
  • Epidemiology is changing
  • Global warming and environmental issues
  • Urbanization increasing but megacities not like NY and LA.
So how should we change our academic programs?

Need to shift student perspectives from medicine to global health.  Many universities have graduate programs in global health (mostly MSc and MPH), but the number of associated undergraduate programs is increasing rapidly.

Geoffrey Rose: "Sick individuals arise from sick populations."

Every factor is interrelated with many other factors and various levels, from domestic to international.

Mexico (70% overweight, 28% obese) consumes 665 servings of Coke per capita per year.

Students are highly motivated by these issues.  How can we integrate this into our courses?

Change of topic: using electronic games to teach.  The Redistricting Game (teaches about political boundaries).

For genetics:  discuss (have them suggest/investigate) gene-environment interactions that apply to immigrant populations.

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