Students tackling the world's greatest health challenges: Global health courses
Learning to appreciate the dynamics of global health decision-making is a key focus of the McMaster Health Forum’s efforts to prepare the health system leaders of the future.
Steven Hoffman, a former Forum Fellow and now an adjunct faculty with the Forum, teaches two global health courses that offer senior-level students the opportunity to consider critical factors and catalysts that influence global health decision-making processes and governance. Developing the ability to navigate the academic and grey literature related to global health, and applying it to solve real-world problems, is an essential outcome of both courses.
Global Health Advocacy (HTH SCI 4ZZ3) aims to foster an understanding of the complexity of today’s most pressing global health challenges and the ways that various actors work to overcome them. Global health is not studied as an altruistic goal, but rather as a complex domain of political praxis with an ever-expanding cast of players, divergent interests and hidden agendas. The focus is on the factors that drive global health decision-making and the various advocacy tools used by individual champions, civil society organizations, national governments and United Nations agencies to effectively influence it. Students in the course are empowered to reflect upon how they can most positively and confidently advocate within the global health sphere if they choose to do so in the future.
Global Health Governance, Law and Politics (HTH SCI 4LD3) surveys contemporary issues and debates in global health governance from an interdisciplinary perspective. Theory converges with practice as students examine the historical development of global health, its regulatory framework (e.g., global health law, human rights and ethics), principal coordinating mechanisms (e.g., multilateral organizations, partnerships and diplomacy) and emerging challenges to its effective governance (e.g., multinational corporations, corruption, globalization, trade and intellectual property). Canada’s global health statecraft is also explored. Throughout the course, students draw on evidence to develop informed insights on the actions that global health leaders can take to address the increasing disorder of the sphere in which they operate. Readings will be drawn from many different fields, including economics, history, law, medicine, political science and philosophy.
Students in the two courses prepare essays on a variety of global health issues, that are published in a series called Student Voices.