Reimagine global health problems with some of the leading global health thinkers and actors through a case-based biosocial framework.
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This introductory course is an interdisciplinary view of global health. It aims to frame global health's collection of problems and actions within a particular biosocial perspective. It develops a toolkit of analytical approaches and uses them to examine historical and contemporary global health initiatives with careful attention to a critical sociology of knowledge. The teaching team, four physician-anthropologists, draws on experiences working in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Americas, to investigate what the field of global health may include, how global health problems are defined and constructed, and how global health interventions play out in expected and unexpected ways. The course seeks to inspire and teach the following principles:
A global awareness. This course aims to enable students to recognize the role of distinctive traditions, governments, and histories in shaping health and wellbeing. In addition, rather than framing a faceless mass of poor populations as the subject of global health initiatives, the course uses ethnographies and case studies to situate global health problems in relation to the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
A grounding in social and historical analysis. The course demonstrates the value of social theory and historical analysis in understanding health and illness at individual and societal levels.
An ethical engagement. Throughout the course, students will be asked to critically evaluate the ethical frameworks that have underpinned historical and contemporary engagement in global health. Students will be pushed to consider the moral questions of inequality and suffering as well as to critically evaluate various ethical frameworks that motivate and structure attempts to redress these inequities
A sense of inspiration and possibility. While the overwhelming challenges of global health could, all too easily, engender cynicism, passivity, and helplessness, students learn that no matter how complex the field of global health and no matter how steep the challenges, it is possible to design, implement, and foster programs and policies that make enormous positive change in the lives of the world’s poorest and suffering people.
Dr. Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor in the Anthropology Department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Victor and William Fung Director of Harvard University’s Asia Center. Dr. Kleinman is a pioneering figure in medical anthropology and author of numerous influential works. Trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Kleinman has devoted his life to understanding illness experience, mental health and stigma, and forms of care and caregiving globally with special focus on China.
Paul Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and the Co-founder of Partners In Health.Dr. Farmer began a lifelong commitment to Haiti in 1983. He has written extensively on health and human rights and the role of social inequalities in distribution and outcome of infectious disease. In addition, Dr. Farmer has been developing novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor setting around the globe.
Dr. Becker is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Becker combines clinical, ethnographic, and epidemiologic methods in her work. She has researched eating pathology, suicide, and other youth health risk behaviors in Fiji and is currently conducting a mental health research capacity building project and novel school-based youth mental health pilot intervention in central Haiti. Dr. Becker also served on the APA’s DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group.
Dr. Keshajvee is an Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Keshavjee is director of the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior TB specialist at PIH. He has led projects to treat MDR-TB in Tomsk, Siberia and MDR-TB and HIV in Lesotho. Dr. Keshavjee has also served as the chair of the WHO’s Green Light Committee
Initiative for MDR-TB.
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