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Programs in Education

MED 194/294: Critical Issues in Global Health

Photo credit: Annie Spratt, via

Course Description

*Due to overwhelming interest in the course, we’ve hit capacity and have closed enrollment. There is no waitlist. If you are interested in the course and didn’t get a chance to enroll when it was open, please consider taking the course next year.*

Offered Spring Quarter, 2024 | Wednesdays, 9:30-11:20am

In this course, participants will discuss and engage critically with current topics and pressing issues in global health through the lens of health equity and social justice. Topics include decolonizing global health, climate change, the health of indigenous populations, and other vulnerable populations, homelessness, and gender-based violence and mental health challenges.

Students will hear from and engage with experts in the field and debate critical issues in global health through course discussions. Three-unit students will investigate a global health equity challenge and present recommendations for effective interventions. Speakers represent a range of voices and perspectives.

They include: Dr. Madhu Pai, a global health leader, health equity advocate, and tuberculosis expert; Dr. Jim O’Connell, a Boston physician who has dedicated his career to caring for people living on the streets; Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, retired Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda to name a few. Participants will gain new insights into the health equity considerations critical to addressing contemporary challenges, explore diverse perspectives on key issues, and critically consider current and potential interventions through the lens of a global health practitioner.

Requirements for the course include attendance and participation in class discussions, a short capstone presentation, and a final paper.

This course will be taught by Dean Michele Barry, Director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health, and Dr. Geoffrey Tabin, Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Medicine and co-founder of the internationally renowned Himalayan Cataract Project. Course enrollment is open to medical students, graduate students, and undergraduate students (2-3 Units).

Eligibility and Requirements

This course is open to undergraduate students, graduate students, and medical students. All students will be expected to participate in discussions weekly. Students can take the course for two or three units. Students enrolling in the course for a third unit will be expected to give a short capstone presentation and submit a final paper.

This class counts as required coursework toward the following programs:

  • Global Health Scholarly Concentration for medical students
  • Human Biology Global Health Subplan Elective for undergraduate students
  • Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing (Ways) Requirement: Exploring Difference and Power (students must take the course for three units and for a letter grade in order for it to count)

Contact Us

Questions can be directed to the Course Manager Yosefa Gilon,