This cross disciplinary Master's Program in Global Health provides students with the broad range of competencies that are necessary for promoting global health equality and equity. The intersections between global and local health are influenced by a myriad of social and biomedical dynamics that need to be taken into consideration simultaneously in order for students, scholars, policy- and decision makers to fully understand all of the issues at hand. The courses therefore present and condense major global health challenges and their governance from the perspectives of biomedicine, public health, international relations, development economics, social work and anthropology into actionable steps. With frontline research as the point of departure, the program’s pedagogy aims to encourage students to think critically and work independently. The program equips students with practical skills and tools needed for mapping, analyzing and solving complex global health problems.
Work opportunities within global health will be found at a broad range of organizations engaged in promoting population health, such as local and regional public health units and authorities, ministries of health and social affairs, UN bodies and non-governmental organizations. Global health professionals perform a wide spectrum of tasks such as: collecting and analyzing population data on disease and health patterns, creating public policies for promoting healthy lifestyles, implementing human rights doctrines or improving access to health care and other societal services to vulnerable groups.
The first part of the program focuses on the global burden of disease and the globalization of health care. Students gain a basic understanding of major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, as well as global efforts to reduce health disparities. The role of Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights doctrines in work for health equality and equity, including their meaning in diverse settings, is presented. In the second part of the term, quantitative research methods used in epidemiology (including biostatistics) and qualitative research methods are taught and practiced for the purpose of building the skills necessary for validating the health status of populations. Public health ethics (basic principles of ethics to global health, international codes of ethics, and its applications) are discussed throughout this term.
The second term has two main themes: global health governance and global health economics. The first part focuses on multi- and international institutions, their mandates and how this relates to national and local authorities and communities. Health system models are compared and contrasted on their ability to promote health equity, development, and security. Various forms of governance as well as strategies to support collaborative practices for incorporating relevant stakeholders when planning for global health interventions are worked upon. The second part of the term concentrates on health economics. Micro- and macroeconomic theories and methods are taught and students learn how to evaluate health care programs in order to set priorities in the face of limited funds. The economic, environmental and social implications of different priorities are discussed in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Students’ competences in epidemiology and biostatics are deepened in the first course of this term. Specifically, social and environmental determinants of health are in focus and a large part of the course consists of workshops where students put their theoretical knowledge into practice in order to be prepared for the independent collection and analysis of data that is required in the fourth term thesis course. The second part of this term is a combination of theory and practice course, with a focus on disease prevention and health promotion in at risk groups. Methods for identifying at risk groups’ barriers to health and health care as well as for stakeholder capacity strengthening are thought in the theoretical part and are then practiced at a global health work place of student’s choice. In addition, sustainable program management is again brought up to maximize students’ future contributions to effective policy, enhanced practice, and improved and sustainable health outcomes.
The last semester of the program is devoted to an individual master’s thesis. Students plan and carry out a research study relevant to global health, and present the scientific work in writing and orally at a final seminar. A supervisor from one of the departments responsible for the program is assigned each student. However, students are encouraged to carry out their thesis work in a research group or a global health agency that is collaboratively identified with their supervisor and the course leader.