About this courseSkip About this course
This introductory global health course aims to frame global health's collection of problems and actions within a particular biosocial perspective. It develops a toolkit of interdisciplinary analytical approaches and uses them to examine historical and contemporary global health initiatives with careful attention to a critical sociology of knowledge. Four physician-anthropologists - Paul Farmer, Arthur Kleinman, Anne Becker, and Salmaan Keshavjee - draw on experience working in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Americas to investigate what the field of global health comprises, how global health problems are defined and constructed, and how global health interventions play out in both expected and unexpected ways.
The course seeks to inspire and teach the following principles:
A global awareness. This course aims to enable learners to recognize the role of distinctive traditions, governments, and histories in shaping health and well being. In addition, rather than framing a faceless mass of poor populations as the subject of global health initiatives, the course uses ethnographies and case studies to situate global health problems in relation to the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
A foundation in social and historical analysis. The course demonstrates the value of social theory and historical analysis in understanding health and illness at individual and societal levels.
An ethical engagement. Throughout the course, learners will be asked to critically evaluate the ethical frameworks that have underpinned historical and contemporary engagement in global health. Learners will be pushed to consider the moral questions of inequality and suffering as well as to critically evaluate various ethical frameworks that motivate and structure attempts to redress these inequities.
A sense of inspiration and possibility. While the overwhelming challenges of global health could all too easily engender cynicism, passivity, and helplessness, learners will observe that no matter how complex the field of global health and no matter how steep the challenges, it is possible to design, implement, and foster programs and policies that make enormous positive change in the lives of the world’s poorest and suffering people.
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact email@example.com and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- How to frame a global health problem with a biosocial perspective
- How to use a toolkit of analytical approaches to examine global health initiatives so as to identify and implement effective interventions
- How to evaluate the ethical frameworks that have underpinned engagement within global health
Meet your instructors
Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain$150 USD
Official and Verified
Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course
Support our Mission
EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally