International health agencies have been developing health programs for both affluent countries and deprived parts of the world and have set standards in combating world epidemic threats as well as chronic diseases. Global Health emerges as an interdisciplinary field incorporating both theory and social involvement and including disciplines such as medicine, epidemiology, sociology, economics, political science, ethics and more. It broadens the traditional medical outlook on health, considering environmental and social determinants that may afflict one’s health. It considers the gap between and within countries as underpinning the unequal distribution of resources and explores how health is impacted by ecological factors as well as those of class, race and gender.
Read an interview with Global Health alumna, Liza Mitgang, on her experience and how it prepared her for a career in public health.
Why Study Global Health at Ben-Gurion University?
Israel holds a unique position on the perspective of Global Health:
- It stands at the forefront in terms of bioscience and medical technologies, maintains a developed medical infrastructure and provides relatively generous healthcare coverage to its citizens.
- Israel’s demographic composition introduces a mixture of ethnicities and different national origins rendering it a microcosm of a globalized society.
- Israeli society features trends of secularism and religion, liberalism and conservatism at both the political and the cultural level presenting thus a blend of particularism and universalism.
- Located in the Negev desert, Ben-Gurion University is involved in the development of Israel’s southern periphery, and its health faculty is engaged in researching the impact of geopolitics on pollution, access to health services, and personal well-being. The Negev’s population, composed of dwellers of small development towns, kibbutz members, Bedouin villagers and city residents epitomizes Israeli unique social texture making the Negev and Ben-Gurion University an exciting place to live and study.
- Global Health courses at BGU provide students with a comprehensive learning experience that combines classes with guided tours to places that actually practice or demonstrate aspects of Global Health. Among the planned tours are visits to a variety of medical settings: from a clinic in a Bedouin town, to a large Israeli hospital, to an STD prevention program, to an open clinic for migrant workers and refugees in Tel Aviv.
- To familiarize students with the emergent field of Global Health in terms of leading theories and key debates.
- To equip students with the analytical tools to comprehend the social forces that shape “health”.
- To acquaint students with people and places that convey the actual story of Global Health.
Examples of Previous Courses:
- Health in the Age of Globalization
This course introduces students to key concepts and leading theories of Global Health. The main goal is to introduce students to the intersection of public health concepts and globalization theories. Topics will include: the study of Global Health from the perspective of public health, acquainting students with concepts such as health measurements, public participation and health economy, glocalization, world-systems and dependency. The course will tackle specific topics of Global Health, discussing the ways globalization impacts the distribution of health resources, poses new bioethical quandaries and alters our understanding of health. This course offers students learning tours to sites that exemplify in situ the themes learned in class.
- Altruism and Trade: The Globalization of Transplant Medicine
Transplantation medicine encapsulates many aspects of global health. In this course we will focus on the supply of organs for transplantations as trapped in a paradoxical position.
Eco health focuses on the integration of knowledge at the interface between ecological and health sciences. It incorporates different sciences, including natural, social and health sciences, and the humanities. This course examines how changes in the biological, physical, social and economic environments impact human health and public health. It deals with the sustainable health of people, wildlife and ecosystems by promoting discovery, understanding and inter-disciplinary thought.
- The Diseases that Changed the World: Infectious Diseases from a Global Health Perspective
From the Plague of the Middle Ages to the Spanish Flu of 1918, infectious diseases have had a critical impact on cultures and societies worldwide. Similarly, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria have played a crucial role in shaping the world of Global Health as we understand it today. This course provides an introduction to the study of infectious diseases and their role in Global Health from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.
- Cultural Psychiatry
Cultural psychiatry is concerned with the most critical questions in psychiatric theory, diagnosis, and practice, essentially related to the degree and type of variance in our species. We will attend to some of these questions by examining: definitions of normal and abnormal; magic and religion in treatment and diagnosis; meanings attached to death and suicide; the use of intoxicants and deviance; the social backgrounds of disorders such as anxiety and depression; the idea of ‘personality disorders’ in the West; the place of symbols in care and disease; and a broad discussion of ‘culture-bound syndrome.’
Click here to view the current course offerings and their syllabi. Note that the course selection may change in future terms.
Can’t spend an entire semester abroad but still interested in studying global health? The OSP also offers a summer program in Global Health.