Stanford University
Center for Innovation in
Global Health  

Global Health Medical Student Courses

LAW 723: Sanela Diana Jenkins International Human Rights Speaker Series: Health and Human Rights

Winter Quarter, 2013. W, 5:30 - 7:00. Professor Michele Barry, Stanford Medical School; Professor Richard Steinberg, UCLA Law School and Visiting Professor, International and Comparative Area Studies, Stanford; Dr Helen Stacy, Program on Human Rights and Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford.n nThis course focuses on the relationship between global health and human rights. The course will feature leading human rights scholars and practitioners from around the world. We will examine the conceptual linkages between global health and human rights and explore both the promise of the field and the challenges inherent in implementing its norms on the ground. Health and human rights are interrelated in multiple ways: human rights abuses have negative health consequences; health policies and programs can enhance or hinder human rights; and health outcomes are improved by fulfilling the full range of human rights. Stanford students may enroll in the course for 1 Unit credit based upon attendance. The Series is also open to the Stanford community and the general public. This course is cross-listed with INTNLREL 110IPS 271POLISCI 204 and POLISCI 304.

MED232: Discussions in Global Health

T, 5:15-7:05, Fall Quarter 2013. The goal of this interactive series is to encourage students to think broadly about the variety of activities encompassed within global health and the roles of various entities, including NGOs, governments, and healthcare providers.  Case studies will be used to examine a broad range of topics in global health including challenges in building health systems, caring for patients in developing countries, infectious disease control, philanthropy, organizing medical responses to natural disasters and other large-scale health crises, biosecurity, and biodesign, as they relate to global health. For more information, contact Allison Rhines. Read the full Discussions in Global Health Syllabus here.

PEDS 223: Human Rights and Global Health

This course surveys the newly emerging field of human rights and global health. It targets the intersection of medical science, anthropology, culture, economics, law, and politics. The course begins with the essential background into the field of human rights, and the recent emergence of health as a human right. Our point of entry is the pioneering work of Dr. Paul Farmer and Partners in Health and the challenge he and his organization have posed to the conventional wisdom about approaches to combating poor health and disease worldwide. The special focus of the course is the "big three" infectious diseases: tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Attention will also be devoted to the subjects of emerging infectious diseases, as well as to clean water and sanitation and malnutrition and famine. Students should come away from the course with an understanding of the major research topics and controversies in the field, as well as the major organizations, journals, and websites devoted to its study. Syllabus is available on coursework.

3 units (Bert Patenaude)

Computer Science 379L, Political Science 337T, Law 498

M/W 2:15-4:05, (Peterson Building) - enrollment limited to 24. In this new course, Design of Liberation Technologies, small interdisciplinary project teams will design mobile applications for health, in conjunction with partners working on HIV programs in Kenya
and Malawi. We will collaborate with Nokia Research Africa, FrontlineSMS:Medic, and the University of Nairobi. Collaboration with these groups will provide access to settings for design and their needs and values will be the touchstone for measuring the success of the projects Learn More »

3 units (Joshua Cohen, Terry Winograd)

MED 108Q. Human Rights and Health

(S,Sem) Stanford Introductory Seminar. Preference to sophomores. History of human-rights law. Topics such as: the health status of refugees and internally displaced persons; child labor; trafficking in women and children; torture; poverty, the environment, and health; access to clean water; domestic violence and sexual assault; and international availability of drugs. International conventions on human rights as background for social and political changes that could improve the health of groups and individuals. Optional opportunities to observe at sites where human rights and health are issues.

3 units, Win (Laws, A)

AFRICAST 151B: Plagues and Politics: Critical Links Between Politics, Economics, and Infectious Diseases in Africa

Infectious diseases have long been associated with regions of poverty and political instability; factors such as international travel, bioterrorism, and global markets may affect the health and security of all nations. Exploration of the complex interactions among politics, economics, and infectious diseases. How do infectious diseases impact the policies and economic growth of a country? How do governmental policies and economic investments influence the proliferation, control, and outcomes of these diseases? Related themes include: the tension between the economic health of a community and the personal health of citizens; the role of the individual versus the government in taking responsibility for health and health-related actions; and the extent to which rich countries can and should help poor countries combat preventable illnesses. Course is part of a collaborative effort among the Stanford Program on International and Crosscultural Education (SPICE), Center for African Studies, Program in Human Biology, School of Education, and School of Medicine to create infectious disease curriculum materials for U.S. high schools. Students contribute to the curriculum development by performing research and developing multimedia projects.


AFRICAST 301A: The Dynamics of Change in Africa

Crossdisciplinary colloquium; required for the M.A. degree in African Studies. Addresses critical issues in African Studies by exploring intersections of the organization of power, structure of the economy, and patterns of social stratification. Interpretive debates on Africa's engagement with the slave trade, impact of colonialism, decolonization, democratization and civil wars, health and society, and Africa's engagement with globalization. The process of knowledge production and its social location, and the current state of knowledge.


ANES 207: Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of a comprehensive system of traditional Chinese Medicine developed over the past two millennia. This course reviews the history and theoretical basis of acupuncture for the treatment of various diseases as well as for the alleviation of pain. Issues related to the incorporation of acupuncture into the current health care system and the efficacy of acupuncture in treating various diseases are addressed. Includes practical, hands-on sections.


ANTHRO 248: Health, Politics, and Culture of Modern China (ANTHRO 148)

One of the most generative regions for medical anthropology inquiry in recent years has been Asia. This seminar is designed to introduce upper division undergraduates and graduate students to the methodological hurdles, representational challenges, and intellectual rewards of investigating the intersections of health, politics, and culture in contemporary China.


ANTHRO 277: Environmental Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ANTHRO 177, HUMBIO 114)

The changing epidemiological environment. How human-induced environmental changes, such as global warming, deforestation and land-use conversion, urbanization, international commerce, and human migration, are altering the ecology of infectious disease transmission, and promoting their re-emergence as a global public health threat. Case studies of malaria, cholera, hantavirus, plague, and HIV.


ANTHRO 282: Medical Anthropology (ANTHRO 82)

Emphasis is on how health, illness, and healing are understood, experienced, and constructed in social, cultural, and historical contexts. Topics: biopower and body politics, gender and reproductive technologies, illness experiences, medical diversity and social suffering, and the interface between medicine and science.


ANTHRO 334: Trauma and Healing

This course considers class and recent work on culture and psychiatry with an emphasis on trauma. We consider work on the main diagnostic categories like depression and schizophrenia, but also the work on dissociation, war combat, PTSD, and psychosis.


ANTHRO 337: The Politics of Humanitarianism

What does it mean to want to help, to organize humanitarian aid, in times of crisis? At first glance, the impulse to help issui generis a good one. Helping is surely preferable to indifference and inaction. This does not mean that humanitarian interventions entail no ethical ot political stakes or that they are beyond engaged critique. We need to critique precisely that which we value, and to ask some hard questions, among them these: What are the differences among humanitarianism, charity, and philanthropy? What of social obligations and solidarities? How does the neoliberal world order currently create structural inequalities that ensure the reproduction of poverty and violence? How does the current order of things resemble or differ from the colonial world order? This course examines the history of humanitarian sensibilities and the emergence of organized action in the "cause of humanity". In the early years of humanitarian intervention, political neutrality was a key principle; it has now come under ever greater analytical and political scrutiny. We will examine the reasons for the politicization and militarization of aid -- be it humanitarian aid in natural disasters or political crises; development programs in the impoverished south ("the Third World"), or peace-keeping. We will end with a critical exploration of the concept of human rights, humanity, and personhood. The overall methodological aim of the course is to demonstrate what insights an ethnographic approach to the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of humanitarianism can offer.


BIOMEDIN 156: Economics of Health and Medical Care (BIOMEDIN 256, ECON 126, HRP 256)

Graduate students with research interests should take ECON 248. Institutional, theoretical, and empirical analysis of the problems of health and medical care. Topics: institutions in the health sector; measurement and valuation of health; nonmedical determinants of health; medical technology and technology assessment; demand for medical care and medical insurance; physicians, hospitals, and managed care; international comparisons. Prerequisites: ECON 50 and ECON 102A or equivalent statistics. Recommended: ECON 51.


BIOMEDIN 251: Outcomes Analysis (HRP 252)

Methods of conducting empirical studies which use large existing medical, survey, and other databases to ask both clinical and policy questions. Econometric and statistical models used to conduct medical outcomes research. How research is conducted on medical and health economics questions when a randomized trial is impossible. Problem sets emphasize hands-on data analysis and application of methods, including re-analyses of well-known studies. Prerequisites: one or more courses in probability, and statistics or biostatistics.


CHINGEN 235: Chinese Bodies, Chinese Selves

Interdisciplinary. The body as a contested site of representational practices, identity politics, cultural values, and social norms. Body images, inscriptions, and practices in relation to health, morality, gender, sexuality, nationalism, consumerism, and global capitalism in China and Taiwan. Sources include anthropological, literary, and historical studies, and fiction and film. No knowledge of Chinese required.


EASTASN 217: Health and Healthcare Systems in East Asia (EASTASN 117)

China, Japan, and both Koreas. Healthcare economics as applied to East Asian health policy, including economic development, population aging, infectious disease outbreaks (SARS, avian flu), social health insurance, health service delivery, payment incentives, competition, workforce policy, pharmaceutical industry, and regulation. No prior knowledge of economics or healthcare required.


ECON 214: Development Economics I

Microeconomic analysis of markets and institutions in developing countries. Topics: the role of the household; health and nutrition; education; property rights; governance; and technology. Emphasis is on empirical tests of and evidence for theoretical models.


ECON 216: Development Economics III

Use of quantitative theory to understand various aspects of the growth and development process. Emphasis on family and demographic issues and their importance for development. Theoretical models of fertility and marriage decisions, and their empirical relevance. Unified growth theories: demographic transition and industrial revolution. Family institutions such as marriage payments and polygamy. The political economy of family-related institutions, e.g. the evolution of women's and children's rights. Female labor supply and development. Theories of disease and development.


GSBGEN 346: Comparing Institutional Forms: Public, Private, and Nonprofit (EDUC 377, PUBLPOL 317, SOC 377)

For students interested in the nonprofit sector, those in the joint Business and Education program, and for Public Policy MA students. The focus is on the missions, functions, and capabilities of nonprofit, public, and private organizations, and the managerial challenges inherent in the different sectors. Focus is on sectors with significant competition among institutional forms, including health care, social services, the arts, and education. Sources include scholarly articles, cases, and historical materials.


HRP 240: Rethinking Global Health (MED 230)

Challenges for those seeking to improve global health: contending with a dynamic balance between infectious and chronic non-communicable disease that differs across and within countries; issues relating to the proximate and more removed causes of disease and illness, including nutrition, infrastructure, governance, economic development, and environmental changes; diverse proposed responses with arguments for particular courses of action appealing to cost-effectiveness, egalitarian, and rights-based principles. Course goal is to begin to make sense of these challenging issues, requiring data and evidence derived via multiple methodologies, critical thinking, and sound reasoning. Prerequisite: course dealiing in global health, such as HUMBIO 129S, or consent of instructor.


INDE 255A: Health Policy, Finance and Economics I

Open to medical students and resident physicians. Introduction to basic concepts and current issues in health policy, health finance, and health economics. Goals are to promote understanding of the forces that shape healthcare; to integrate medical students with graduate medical education (residents); to motivate participants to pursue further scholarly activity in these subjects through coursework, graduate programs or research . Team taught by world-renowned experts in their respective fields. Prerequisite: instructor consent.


INDE 255B: Health Policy, Finance and Economics II

Continuation of INDE 255A. Open to medical students and resident physicians. Introduction to basic concepts and current issues in health policy, health finance, and health economics. Goals are to promote understanding of the forces that shape healthcare; to integrate medical students with graduate medical education (residents); to motivate participants to pursue further scholarly activity in these subjects through coursework, graduate programs or research . Team taught by world-renowned experts in their respective fields. For medical students 255A is not prerequisite to 255B. Prerequisite: instructor consent.


IPS 271: Sanela Diana Jenkins International Human Rights Colloquium (INTNLREL 110, POLISCI 204, POLISCI 304)

This one-unit seminar will comprise 10 international and domestic human rights scholars, judges and activists who have made significant contributions to international justice, women and children's rights, environmental rights and indigenous rights. It is open to all Stanford undergraduate and graduate students. Students in the seminar will be encouraged to present their ongoing research and to develop new research projects (individually and collaboratively). Students wishing to do significant research and reading in the context of the seminar may, in consultation with one of the instructors, sign up for independent study. Law students are first required to be enrolled in an International Human Rights in the law school in order to participate. Course requirements are attendance, participation, and assignments.


LAW 469: International Development

This class draws on current research to explore contemporary development debates. The course is structured around two inter-related questions: How do political institutions determine economic policy choices? And how do economic structures in turn affect political processes? The course bridges theory and practice to investigate micro- and macro-level political and economic processes shaping the prospects for development. Drawing on literature from many fields from behavioral economics to anthropology, the course uses case studies to illustrate how markets function, why seemingly inefficient institutions survive, and why governments sometimes adopt policies detrimental to development. Topics to be covered include: the political economy of corruption, the role of foreign aid, the efficacy of so-called governance reforms, and the relationship between democracy and development. This course is open to non-Law students.


PUBLPOL 307: Justice

Focus is on the ideal of a just society, and the place of liberty and equality in it, in light of contemporary theories of justice and political controversies. Topics include protecting religious liberty, financing schools and elections, regulating markets, assuring access to health care, and providing affirmative action and group rights. Issues of global justice including human rights and global inequality.


MED 253: The Impact of Multinationals Upon Global Health

(Same as GSBGEN 553) Open to medical, graduate, and undergraduate students. The role of global industries and multinational organizations in shaping the health of individuals around the globe. Explores the salient debates on the impact of industries such as food, tobacco, and aluminum; the role of global health initiatives and foreign aid industries they spawned; how the changing landscape of human health and disease is affected by these industries¿ historical legacies and future prospects. Illustrative cases and lectures with a distinguished roster of guest speakers including: Sir Richard Feachem, former director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on the link between the aid industry and health; FDA commissioner David Kessler on the tobacco industry evasion and its impact on health; Mark Cullen, Stanford Professor of Medicine, on Alcoa, an aluminum multinational taking on a health mission; Derek Yach, Director of Global Health at Pepsico on how Pepsi and the food industry can make an impact on health; CUNY Professor Judith Kimerling, author of "Amazon Crude," on the oil industry in the rainforest and its impact on human health.


OIT 522: Field Trips to Grassroots Innovators in Health Care: Improving Access & Outcomes for the Underserved

Some of the most impressive innovations in health care are developed at hospitals and other non-profit organizations by dedicated health care professionals (drs, nurses, administrators) who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and work hard to solve an important health care problem they face in their everyday patient encounters. Because of limited financial resources and because they often target underserved market segments, these innovations lack a validated business model and commercialization pathway. In this seminar we will gain hands-on experience of some of these grassroots innovations through field trips to a local public hospital (a candidate hospital is San Francisco General Hospital) and a non-profit product incubator ( We will then work in teams to identify and address the main barriers to commercialization for two specific innovations presented in these field trips: An electronic referral system to promote access to specialist care in underserved communities; A video game to promote healthy lifestyles in at-risk youth. We will learn and apply the brainstorming approach to come up with innovative solutions to overcome these barriers. On the last day we will meet key executives in both organizations to present our recommendations.


STRAMGT 381: Leading Strategic Change in the Health Care Industry

This seminar provides the opportunity for students to study the structure and dynamics of the U.S. health care industry, and some of the ways it intersects with the global health care industry. The U.S. health care industry represents over 15 percent of the nation's GDP and is rapidly changing as a result of government regulatory reform enacted in 2010. The seminar's aim is to develop participants' ability to create strategically informed action plans that are imaginative, inspiring and workable in this highly dynamic environment. The seminar's pedagogy involves informed debate to evaluate and hone well-researched views by the participants and instructors, as well as the writing and presentation of position papers by small groups of seminar participants on the key dynamics of the industry. In the course of the seminar discussions, we aim to deepen our understanding of strategic dynamics and transformational change at the societal, industry and organizational levels of analysis.\n\n\nAfter developing a complete picture of the structure of the health care industry and the strategic relationships among the key players - the strategic landscape -, the seminar will focus on how health care reform and other external forces will affect the strategic opportunities and challenges of four types of players in the strategic landscape: (1) Incumbents (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, hospital companies, insurance companies); (2) entrepreneurial startups (e.g., home monitoring, genetic testing companies, information services); (3) cross-boundary disruptors (e.g., health clinics, Wal-Mart, Cisco, Google); and (4) international health care providers (e.g. in Mexico, India, Thailand)\n\n\nFour student teams will be formed to focus on one of the four types of players. Each team will prepare a research paper focused on determining how their type of player can take advantage of the regulatory, technological, social, cultural and demographic changes, and who will be the likely winners and why. During the first round of discussions (sessions 2-5) all participants will take part in examining the different parts of the competitive landscape. During the second round (sessions 6-9), the different teams will present their research findings and perspectives about the strategic opportunities and threats which exist. As part of the second set of sessions, the instructors will bring in domain experts to further augment the discussion.


Learn more about Medicine Introductory Courses

INDE 283I. Early Clinical Experience in International Family and Community Medicine

(Graduate students register for 283I.) For preclinical medical students; undergraduates by special arrangement. Interactive early clinical experience with physicians, community leaders, health care workers, and patients in Mexico, India, China, or Tibet. Emphasis is on community health from local and global perspectives. Social, political, historical, and economic backgrounds of the country and local region. Non-western attitudes, beliefs and practices regarding health care, including herbal and other complementary medicine; local institutions and infrastructure including schools, social services, and the public health care system; and policies that impact health and the provision of care. Prerequisites: conversational Spanish for Mexico; for medical students, completion of first year; for undergraduates, junior standing or higher. Undergraduates apply through International Alliance in Service and Education (IASE) for Mexico; Volunteers in Asia (VIA) for Asian sites. Medical students apply through the Center for Education in Family and Community Medicine.

Units: 6.0-12.0 

Med 93Q. The AIDS Epidemic: Biology, Behavior and Global Response

Preference to sophomores. How the discovery of the causative agent and the modes of transmission of HIV fueled a quest for prevention, treatments, and a vaccine. Discoveries in biology, biotechnology, epidemiology, and medicine during the last 20 years. Hypotheses about the origins of HIV as a human disease; the spread of AIDS and HIV; social, political, and economic consequences of the epidemic; and national and global responses.

3 units, (Katzenstein, D

Med 228.  Physicians for Social Responsibility

Social and political context of the roles of physicians and health professionals in social change; policy, advocacy, and shaping public attitudes. How physicians have influenced governmental policy on nuclear arms proliferation; environmental health concerns; physicians in government; activism through research; the effects of poverty on health; homelessness; and gun violence. Guest speakers from national and international NGOs.

1 unit, (Laws, A)

MED 242. Physicians and Human Rights

Weekly lectures on how human rights violations affect health. Topics include torture, domestic violence, regional conflict and health, sweat shops, rape, and war. Guest speakers.

1 unit, Win (Laws, A)

MED 253: The Impact of Multinationals Upon Global Health

Focus is on the ideal of a just society, and the place of liberty and equality in it, in light of contemporary theories of justice and political controversies. Topics include protecting religious liberty, financing schools and elections, regulating markets, assuring access to health care, and providing affirmative action and group rights. Issues of global justice including human rights and global inequality.


Med 262. Economics of Health Improvement in Developing Countries

Application of economic paradigms and empirical methods to health improvement in developing countries. Emphasis is on unifying analytic frameworks and evaluation of empirical evidence. How economic views differ from public health, medicine, and epidemiology; analytic paradigms for health and population change; the demand for health; the role of health in international development. Prerequisites: ECON 50 and 102B, and consent of instructor.

5 units

PEDS 220: Latin America's Millenium Development Goals and Children's Health

Open to MD, graduate, and undergraduate students.The status in Latin America of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for reducing global poverty and hunger by 2015 with respect to children and mothers. MDGs include reduction of extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction in child mortality, maternal health, and addressing infectious diseases. Focus of this seminar is on progress and remaining challenges in maternal and child health; the difficulty in measuring progress; and the need for the international development system to change its attention to the needs of those most diadvantaged in Latin America.


SURG 102/202 - Theory of International Humanitarian Surgery

Open to undergarduate, graduate and medical students. Focus is on understanding the ethics of international surgical aid, the role of surgery in International health, humanitarian theory, the role of students in the international health setting, and business and medicine in the social sector. Opportunities for international health service. Guest speakers include world-renowned physicians, CEOs, and public health workers.

4 units

SURG 231: Healthcare in Developing Countries: Haiti and Beyond

Lunchtime lecture series open to all students. Aims to answer the deceptively simple question: How can we improve health in the devoping world? Topics range from water sanitation to supply-side incentivization, from family planning to war zone surgery. Students gain useful skills for experience in international medicine. MD students are eligible to apply for a sub-internship in surgery at Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Dechapelle, Haiti.


SURG 250: Principles and Practice of International Medical Humanitarianism in Surgery (SURG 150)

Open to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. Focus is on understanding ethical theory behind humanitarianism (utilitarianism, global health equity, and basic human rights), the growing role of surgery in international health, and social innovation and business in the health care sector. Summer internship opportunities for international health service with subsidized travel for top students. Guest speakers include world-renowned physicians, CEOs, and social-medical entrepreneurs.


Learn more about Graduate Courses in Medicine


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