Global Health Studies

Program Director, Global Health Studies: Kristina Talbert-Slagle, 2 Whitney Grove, Suite 401 (203 432-6058);


Rene Almeling (Sociology), Gretchen Berland (Medicine), Elizabeth Bradley (Public Health) (Chair), Leslie Curry (Public Health), Jane Edwards (Yale College Dean's Office), Carl Hashimoto (Yale College Dean’s Office), Kaveh Khoshnood (Public Health), Catherine Panter-Brick (Anthropology), Joanna Radin (History of Medicine), Mark Saltzman (Biomedical Engineering), Michael Skonieczny (Yale Global Health Leadership Institute), Stephen Stearns (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology), Kristina Talbert-Slagle (Public Health), John Wargo (Forestry & Environmental Studies), Marney White (Public Health)

Issues related to health are among the most important challenges facing societies, both domestically and globally. Finding solutions to health-related problems requires multidisciplinary comprehension of all dimensions of health, including biological and social determinants, economics and politics of health care systems and health care delivery, and ways in which health is understood by individuals, societies, and cultures.

The Global Health Studies program facilitates global health education for undergraduates at Yale. Although not a major, the program offers courses through an interdisciplinary framework that brings together the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Students choose a major in another department or program and expand their discipline with elective courses offered by Global Health Studies. Within their major, students may elect interdisciplinary concentrations and global health tracks to pursue an area of study that crosses conventional disciplinary and departmental boundaries. For details about course work, students should consult the director of undergraduate studies in their major.

Students desiring greater depth in the field are encouraged to apply to be a Global Health Fellow. Global Health Fellows are usually selected in the fall of their sophomore year although, in exceptional cases, juniors may also be accepted. Fellows complete an interdisciplinary course of study that includes required and elective courses and fieldwork (e.g., internships with NGOs, or field-based research either with faculty or independently with faculty guidance). In the summer after the junior year, fellows conduct their own independent global health fieldwork, for which they receive support in the form of course work, designated funding, and mentorship from an assigned global health faculty adviser. During their senior year, fellows are expected to incorporate their global health fieldwork and classroom experiences into their senior requirement and to develop a publication-worthy written product. 

To assist students in connecting classroom knowledge and skills with practical work in global health, the Global Health Studies program supports fellowships such as the Yale GHI: Field Experience Award, the Yale-Collaborative Action Project (Y-CAP), and the Yale College Fellowship for Research in Health Studies.

Qualified students may take graduate courses at the School of Public Health, subject to restrictions on graduate and professional school enrollment described in the Academic Regulations. Further information about these courses and other graduate offerings can be found in the School of Public Health bulletin. For information about the five-year B.A.–B.S./M.P.H. degree program offered jointly with the School of Public Health, see under Public Health.

* HLTH 390b, Practicum in Child Health and Development in Context of Sustainable Development Goals Nicholas Alipui

Exploration of the complex and multi-disciplinary nature of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation, with the facilitation of technical mentors at sponsoring organizations. Students will formulate and analyze a core set of priorities in child health and development; articulate corresponding strategies and a theory of change; and prepare projects under implementation by relevant organizations with a mandate in child health. Continuation of HLTH 380.  Prerequisite: HLTH 380 suggested, but not required. Consent of instructor suggested.

Global Health Studies Courses

* HLTH 081a, Current Issues in Medicine and Public Health Robert Bazell

Analysis of issues in public health and medicine that get extensive media attention and provoke policy debates. Topics include vaccination, the value of cancer screening and genetic testing, determinants of a healthy lifestyle, the U.S. role in global health, and the cost of health care. Enrollment limited to freshmen with a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in Biology or the equivalent. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.

* HLTH 155a / E&EB 106a / MCDB 106a, Biology of Malaria, Lyme, and Other Vector-Borne Diseases Alexia Belperron

Introduction to the biology of pathogen transmission from one organism to another by insects; special focus on malaria, dengue, and Lyme disease. Biology of the pathogens including modes of transmission, establishment of infection, and immune responses; the challenges associated with vector control, prevention, development of vaccines, and treatments. Intended for non–science majors; preference to freshmen and sophomores. Prerequisite: high school biology.  SC

HLTH 170a / AMST 247a / FILM 244a / HIST 147a / HSHM 202a, Media and Medicine in Modern America John Warner

Relationships between medicine, health, and the media in the United States from 1870 to the present. The changing role of the media in shaping conceptions of the body, creating new diseases, influencing health and health policy, crafting the image of the medical profession, informing expectations of medicine and constructions of citizenship, and the medicalization of American life.  HU

HLTH 230b / GLBL 223b, Global Health: Challenges and Responses Kristina Talbert-Slagle

Overview of the determinants of health and how health status is measured, with emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. The burden of disease, including who is most affected by different diseases and risk factors; cost-effective measures for addressing the problem. The health of the poor, equity and inequality, and the relationship between health and development.  SO

* HLTH 240b / GLBL 193b, Epidemiology and Public Health Marney White

A general introduction to epidemiology and the field of public health. Methods of epidemiological investigation, research, and practice. Emphasis on study design and the skills necessary for the conduct of mentored field research. Priority to Global Health Fellows.

* HLTH 250a / E&EB 235a, Evolution and Medicine Stephen Stearns

Introduction to the ways in which evolutionary science informs medical research and clinical practice. Diseases of civilization and their relation to humans' evolutionary past; the evolution of human defense mechanisms; antibiotic resistance and virulence in pathogens; cancer as an evolutionary process. Students view course lectures on line; class time focuses on discussion of lecture topics and research papers. Prerequisite: BIOL 101104.  WR, SC

* HLTH 325a / GLBL 189a / LAST 416a, Methods and Ethics in Global Health Research Leslie Curry

Introduction to research methods in global health that recognize the influence of political, economic, social, and cultural factors. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method approaches; ethical aspects of conducting research in resource-constrained settings; the process of obtaining human subjects' approval. Students develop proposals for short-term global health research projects conducted in resource-constrained settings.  SORP

* HLTH 380a, Child Health and Development in Context of Sustainable Development Nicholas Alipui

Examination of the most critical issues and trends in child health, child survival, and child development, and the worldwide efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The course will draw on real situations and practical examples from the field to be solved through inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral approaches, in context of the interplay between local, national, and global priorities.

* HLTH 450b, Grand Strategy and Global Health Leslie Curry

Integration and application of the principles of grand strategy and problem solving to address large and persistent challenges in global health at both a conceptual and practical level. Strategic assessment of needs, resources, and constraints in the global health landscape; and critical analysis of diverse forms of data to inform and evaluate strategic responses to global health problems. Students deliver professional briefs and oral presentations for global health audiences. Open to juniors and seniors with prior relevant course work.  Prerequisites: Global Health Scholars must have completed HLTH 230, HLTH 325, and HLTH 240.  SO

* HLTH 481a / E&EB 461a, Studies in Evolutionary Medicine II Paul Turner and James Childs

Continuation of E&EB 460. Prerequisite: E&EB 460 or permission of instructor.  SC

* HLTH 490a, Global Health Research Colloquium Elizabeth Bradley

This course is designed for Yale College seniors or graduate students who are synthesizing data from global health fieldwork and preparing manuscripts that are suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.  Enrollment is limited to 18, and preference will be given to Global Health Fellows.  The course meets weekly, but the format of individual course sessions changes as described in detail in the syllabus.   Students will receive one-on-one instruction and mentorship from one of the course professors, participate in peer-review in small work groups, give a research-in-progress presentation, and develop a manuscript suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  Priority will be given to Global Health Fellows. Students must have completed global health fieldwork.  RP

Related Courses

* AFST 401a, Research Methods in African Studies Veronica Waweru

Disciplinary and interdisciplinary research methodologies in African studies, with emphasis on field methods and archival research in the social sciences and humanities. Research methodologies are compared by studying recent works in African studies.

* ANTH 386b / GLBL 393b, Humanitarian Interventions: Ethics, Politics, and Health Catherine Panter-Brick

Analysis of humanitarian interventions from a variety of social science disciplinary perspectives. Issues related to policy, legal protection, health care, morality, and governance in relation to the moral imperative to save lives in conditions of extreme adversity. Promotion of dialogue between social scientists and humanitarian practitioners.  WR, SO
Anthropology: Sociocultural

* ANTH 451a / WGSS 431a, Intersectionality and Women’s Health Marcia Inhorn

The intersections of race, class, gender, and other axes of “difference” and their effects on women’s health, primarily in the contemporary United States. Recent feminist approaches to intersectionality and multiplicity of oppressions theory. Ways in which anthropologists studying women’s health issues have contributed to social and feminist theory at the intersections of race, class, and gender.  SO
Anthropology: Sociocultural

* BENG 405b / EVST 415b, Biotechnology and the Developing World Anjelica Gonzalez

Study of technological advances that have global health applications. Ways in which biotechnology has enhanced quality of life in the developing world. The challenges of implementing relevant technologies in resource-limited environments, including technical, practical, social, and ethical aspects. Prerequisite: MCDB 120, or BIOL 101 and 102.

ECON 170a, Health Economics and Public Policy Howard Forman

Application of economic principles to the study of the U.S. health care system. Emphasis on basic principles about the structure of the U.S. system, current problems, proposed solutions, and the context of health policy making and politics. After introductory microeconomics.  SO

ECON 327b, The Economics of Poverty Alleviation Dean Karlan

Measures that succeed and fail—and why—in the fight against poverty in developing countries. Fundamentals of behavioral economics and their application to policy and program design. When and how to use experimental methods to evaluate ideas and programs. Interventions and policies that apply to households, small firms, and communities, with particular attention to microfinance, health, and education. After introductory microeconomics and econometrics.  WR, SO

* ECON 405a, Economics of Health and Health Care Amanda Kowalski

Economic principles and empirical methods applied to issues in health economics. Discussion of policies to address market failures in health care markets. Consumer behavior in medical markets, valuing medical improvements, and evaluating health insurance reform. Prerequisites: intermediate microeconomics and econometrics.  SO

* ECON 461b, Economics, Addiction, and Public Policy Jody Sindelar

Smoking, alcoholism, illicit drugs, and obesity studied from economic and policy perspectives. Focus on causes of and solutions to problems. After introductory microeconomics.  SO

ENVE 441a, Biological Processes in Environmental Engineering Jordan Peccia

Fundamental aspects of microbiology and biochemistry, including stoichiometry, kinetics, and energetics of biochemical reactions, microbial growth, and microbial ecology, as they pertain to biological processes for the transformation of environmental contaminants; principles for analysis and design of aerobic and anaerobic processes, including suspended- and attached-growth systems, for treatment of conventional and hazardous pollutants in municipal and industrial wastewaters and in groundwater. Prerequisites: CHEM 161, 165, or 163, 167 (or CHEM 112, 113, or 114, 115, or 118); MCDB 290 or equivalent; or with permission of instructor.  SC

EVST 255b / F&ES 255b / PLSC 215b, Environmental Politics and Law John Wargo

Exploration of the politics, policy, and law associated with attempts to manage environmental quality and natural resources. Themes of democracy, liberty, power, property, equality, causation, and risk. Case histories include air quality, water quality and quantity, pesticides and toxic substances, land use, agriculture and food, parks and protected areas, and energy.  SO

* EVST 261a / F&ES 261a / G&G 261a, Minerals and Human Health Ruth Blake

Study of the interrelationships between Earth materials and processes and personal and public health. The transposition from the environment of the chemical elements essential for life. After one year of college-level chemistry or with permission of instructor; G&G 110 recommended.  SC

HSHM 215b / HIST 140b, Public Health in America, 1793 to the Present Naomi Rogers

A survey of public health in America from the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 to AIDS and breast cancer activism at the end of the past century. Focusing on medicine and the state, topics include quarantines, failures and successes of medical and social welfare, the experiences of healers and patients, and organized medicine and its critics.  HU

* HUMS 076a / HSHM 007a, Epidemics in Global Perspective William Summers

Interaction of epidemic diseases and society. The response of government, medicine, and the public to the threat or actual presence of widespread contagious diseases. The notion of major epidemics as one of the key contingencies of history, critically examined through contemporary medical, political, and literary accounts. The changing responses of societies and governments to epidemics as well as the reasons for those responses. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  HU, SO

* MCDB 050a, Immunology and Microbes Paula Kavathas

Introduction to the immune system and its interaction with specific microbes. Attention both to microbes that cause illness, such as influenza, HIV, and HPV, and to microbes that live in harmony with humans, collectively called the microbiome. Readings include novels and historical works on diseases such as polio and AIDS. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.  SCRP

MCDB 290b, Microbiology Christine Jacobs-Wagner, Stavroula-Arte Hatzios, and John Wertz

Cell structure of microorganisms, bacterial genetics, microbial evolution and diversity, microbial development, microbial interaction, chemotaxis and motility, gene regulation, microbial genomics, host defense systems, infectious diseases, viruses, and industrial microbiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 101, 102, and 103, or equivalent performance on the corresponding biological sciences placement examinations; or one term of biochemistry, or cell biology, or genetics; or with permission of instructor.  SC

PLSC 248a, Political Economy of Health Care Peter Swenson

Political and economic factors that have influenced efforts to achieve quality, economy, and equality in the delivery of American health care since the early twentieth century; some attention to international comparisons. Medical licensing; drug regulation; malpractice law; provider payment and care management; guaranteed health insurance; emergence of the private, employer-based insurance system; recent legislative actions and controversies concerning the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Recommended preparation: introductory microeconomics.  SO

PLSC 257b, Bioethics and Law Stephen Latham

The treatment by American law of major issues in contemporary biomedical ethics: informed consent, assisted reproduction, abortion, end-of-life care, research on human subjects, stem cell research, and public health law. Readings include legal cases, statutes, and regulations. No background in law assumed.  SO

* PLSC 446b / EP&E 258b / SOCY 369b, Welfare States across Nations Sigrun Kahl

How different societies counterbalance capitalism and deal with social risks. Welfare state regimes and their approaches to inequality, unemployment, poverty, illness, disability, child rearing, and old age. Why the United States has an exceptionally small welfare state.  SO