Undergraduate major: global health studies (B.A., B.S.)
Undergraduate minor: global health studies
Undergraduate certificate: global health studies
Graduate certificate: global health studies
Faculty: https://clas.uiowa.edu/global-health-studies/people/faculty
Website: https://clas.uiowa.edu/global-health-studies/

Education, research, and practice in global health places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide. Issues in the field include social determinants of health, health care disparities, infectious and noncommunicable diseases, environmental challenges, and human rights as well as economic development, health policy, and health systems.

The Global Health Studies Program examines the complex processes influencing health and disease locally and internationally. It considers not only the manifestations of significant diseases and public health and health care systems, but also the underlying forces and institutions—such as technology, politics, culture, legal structure, history, and economics—that collectively influence patterns of health and disease.

The Global Health Studies Program equips its students to:

  • identify the nature, magnitude, and distribution of factors that contribute to excess morbidity and mortality, including disparities in health status by gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, rural or urban location, and economic status;
  • understand how commerce, labor, food supply and sustainability, the environment, climate change and natural disasters, pharmaceuticals, international aid, human rights, and conflict may contribute to health status; and
  • be aware of and able to assess the appropriateness of intervention strategies to promote health and to address major health problems, particularly in low-resource settings, and be able to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of such interventions.

The program attracts undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from a wide range of disciplines, including international studies, anthropology, public health, health and pre-health sciences, health economics, nursing, environmental engineering, history, law, business, journalism, social work, and education.

The Global Health Studies Program is one of the academic units in the Division of Interdisciplinary Programs. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awards the undergraduate degrees, the certificate, and the minor; the Graduate College confers the graduate certificate.

Activities and Resources

University of Iowa global health studies faculty members conduct research at a variety of sites worldwide, including South India, Haiti, South Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Romania. Students in the program are eligible to participate in experiential learning activities at those locations, as well as at other sites. A variety of funding resources are available, including the Stanley Award for undergraduate and graduate research. Contact the Global Health Studies Program for details.

Associated Courses

In addition to courses offered by the Global Health Studies Program (see "Global Health Studies Courses" below), students may use the following courses to complete requirements for the certificate or minor.

Aging and Longevity Studies
ASP:1800Aging Matters: Introduction to Gerontology3
Community and Behavioral Health
CBH:5220Health Behavior and Health Education3
Economics
ECON:3760Health Economics3
English
ENGL:2560Topics in Culture and Identity (when topic is stories about HIV/AIDS)3
History
HIST:4100Historical Background of Contemporary Issues (when topic is crisis intervention by the CDC, WHO, and MSF)2
Occupational and Environmental Health
OEH:4240Global Environmental Health3
Public Health
CPH:1400Fundamentals of Public Health3
CPH:4101Introduction to Public Health3
Sociology
SOC:4900Selected Topics in Sociology (when topic is comparative health systems)3

Global Health Studies Courses

GHS:1029 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.

Introduction to intellectual life of the University; opportunity to work closely with a faculty member or senior administrator; active participation to ease transition to college-level learning.

GHS:1100 Contraception Across Time and Cultures3 s.h.

Methods and history of contraception and abortion; issues of unwanted pregnancy and birth control in fiction, film, and media around the world. Same as CLSA:1100, GRMN:1100, GWSS:1100, WLLC:1100.

GHS:1181 Ancient Medicine3 s.h.

Thematic examination of theories and practices of Greco-Roman physicians, which in turn became the medical tradition of medieval Islamic world and European medicine until mid-19th century; historical medical terms, theories, and practices. GE: Historical Perspectives. Same as CLSA:1181.

GHS:1700 Global Health Nursing3 s.h.

Complexity of health and nursing in a global context; overview of the biological, social, epigenetic, and environmental contributors to health and diseases in populations around the world and nursing's role in improving health; includes case studies of various global organizational and educational structures and systems relative to population health, selected infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and health effects of environmental change. Same as NURS:1700.

GHS:2000 Introduction to Global Health Studies3 s.h.

Global health as a study of the dynamic relationship between human health and social, biological, and environmental factors that drive the spread of disease; core areas of global health research that may include health inequalities, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, nutrition, environmental health, and health interventions. Same as ANTH:2103.

GHS:2080 The Cultural Politics of HIV-AIDS3 s.h.

Complex historical shifts in cultural perceptions about HIV-AIDS in the U.S. and transnationally; controversies around HIV-AIDS and their links with questions of gender and sexuality; how HIV-AIDS subsequently became the basis of a transnational industry comprising nongovernmental organizations, donors, and activists across the global north and south, starting from 1980s in the U.S. when HIV-AIDS first emerged into public sphere as a gay disease; link between HIV-AIDS and ideologies of development or progress, neocolonialism, and emergence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and questioning (LGBTIQ) movements in many parts of world. Recommendations: background in gender studies, and completion of Rhetoric or at least one social sciences course. Same as GWSS:2080.

GHS:2110 Seven Billion and Counting: Introduction to Population Dynamics3 s.h.

How dramatic changes to the size of population has changed fundamental characteristics of populations and processes, such as food and water scarcity, climate change and biodiversity, rise of megacities, health and disease, migration, social networks, economics, environment, and household structure. GE: Social Sciences. Same as GEOG:2110.

GHS:2150 Natural Environmental Systems3-4 s.h.

Environmental chemistry and biology of air, water, and soil quality, air and water pollution, limnology, global atmospheric change, fate and transport of pollutants; hazardous substances, risk analysis, standard setting. Prerequisites: CHEM:1110. Same as CEE:2150.

GHS:2164 Culture and Healing for Future Health Professionals3 s.h.

Health professions increasingly focused on how to best provide health care to culturally diverse populations; introduction to key cultural and social influences on sickness and healing; worldwide examples. Same as ANTH:2164.

GHS:2181 The Anthropology of Aging3 s.h.

Comparative anthropological perspective on aging; ethnographies from diverse contexts used to examine intersections of kinship, religion, health, and medicine in later life. Same as ANTH:2181, ASP:2181.

GHS:2182 Africa: Health and Society3 s.h.

Cultural, political, and economic diversity of African societies from precolonial period to present day; relationship between lived experiences of African people and understanding of their societies from afar; why Africa, more than any other region, is associated with warfare, hunger, and disease; idea of "Africa" in the world today; shared misunderstanding of life on continent contrasted with everyday lives of people who are not so different from ourselves. Same as ANTH:2182.

GHS:2260 Hard Cases in Healthcare: Ethics at the Beginning of Life3 s.h.

Exploration of ethical impact that advances in biotechnology—including genetic, reproductive, and neonatal technology—are having in the medical arena and on humanity; consideration of the powerful influence that religion and spirituality have on most people's thinking about life and death. Same as RELS:2260.

GHS:2290 Food and Culture in Indian Country3 s.h.

Native Americans as original farmers of 46 percent of the world's table vegetables; examination of food as a cultural artifact (e.g., chocolate, tobacco); food as a primary way in which human beings express their identities; environmental, material, and linguistic differences that shape unique food cultures among Native peoples across the Western Hemisphere; close analysis of indigenous foods, rituals, and gender roles associated with them; how colonization transformed Native American, European, and African American cultures. Same as AINS:2290, AMST:2290, HIST:2290.

GHS:2320 Anthropological Perspectives on Human Infectious Disease: Origins and Evolution3 s.h.

Origin and evolution of important infectious diseases in human history; biological evolution of infectious agents and biocultural responses to emerging infectious diseases; primary focus on viruses and bacteria; selected world problems from an anthropological perspective; current dilemmas and those faced by diverse human groups in recent times and distant past. Same as ANTH:2320.

GHS:2415 Bioethics3 s.h.

Recent developments in biotechnology and medicine; designer babies and cloning, genetic screening for disease, distributive justice in health care, animal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Same as PHIL:2415.

GHS:2570 Introduction to Islamic Psychology3 s.h.

Psychology in Islamic civilization; the nature of the human being; pathology, illness, healing, and therapies in the Islamic tradition; Islamic models compared with Euro-American frameworks. Recommendations: basic knowledge of psychology and Islam. Same as IS:2570, RELS:2570.

GHS:3010 Identifying and Developing a Global Health Project2-3 s.h.

Preparation for an international experience (study abroad, service learning, volunteering, internship, or independent research project); addressing a global health issue in a systematic way. Same as IGPI:3011.

GHS:3015 Transnational Sexualities3 s.h.

How ideas about normative and nonnormative sexuality, gender/sexual identities, and related social movements travel across geographical, political, and cultural boundaries; potentials and limits of using conceptual frameworks (i.e., sexuality, gender, LGBT, queer) across the west and global south; how sexuality always intersects with race, class, nationhood, and transnational systems of power; power structures that shape gender/sexuality through a transnational approach; connection of inequalities within the United States with those across the world. Same as GWSS:3010.

GHS:3020 Proseminar in Global Health1 s.h.

Important health problems and issues of a global and interrelated nature that affect the developed and developing world.

GHS:3030 Global Health Conference1 s.h.

Annual research conference on major global health issues.

GHS:3035 Engaging in Global Health1 s.h.

How to become a participant in promoting health throughout the world; student peers and global health professionals share their experiences in global health; how professionals and volunteers work in a broad variety of settings; working with government-based programs, international organizations (e.g., UNICEF, World Vision), health care agencies, faith-based organizations, industry, and academic institutions; various ways to become engaged and be involved in global health.

GHS:3036 Ethics, Politics, and Global Health3 s.h.

Ethics of health care policies, delivery systems, and interventions examined globally and locally.

GHS:3040 Health in Mexico3 s.h.

Use of anthropological perspectives to examine disease, healing systems, and ideas about health and the body in Mexico and its diaspora; relationships between structural conditions and historical and political transformations; ideas about gender and race; chronic and acute disease in Mexico; conquest and disease; racialized bodies; sexual health; biomedicine; shamanism; immigration and health; pollution and narcoviolence; readings in English. Same as ANTH:3111, LAS:3111.

GHS:3050 Global Aging3 s.h.

Demographic factors that contribute to the world wide phenomena of population aging in context of WHO Active Aging and the United Nation's Principles for Older Persons frameworks. Same as ASP:3135, SSW:3135.

GHS:3060 Studies in Complementary and Alternative Medicine3 s.h.

Rotating topics related to complementary and alternative medicine.

GHS:3070 Hungry Planet: Global Geographies of Food3 s.h.

Societal and environmental implications of past, current, and future global food supply examined from a geographical perspective; focus on questions of who eats what, where, and why; transformative history of agriculture, modern agribusiness and alternative food supplies, geopolitical implications of food production, food scarcity and rising food costs, urban versus rural agriculture, the obesity epidemic versus malnutrition, and the future of food. Same as GEOG:3070.

GHS:3102 Medical Anthropology3 s.h.

Major theoretical, methodological approaches; international health and development; biomedicine as a cultural system; ethnomedicine; anthropology and AIDS, human reproduction, epidemiology, ethnopsychiatry. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101 or ANTH:2100. Same as ANTH:3102, CBH:3102.

GHS:3110 Health of Indigenous Peoples3 s.h.

Health problems and services for indigenous populations worldwide, from perspective of Fourth World postcolonial politics. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101. Same as AINS:3110, ANTH:3110.

GHS:3111 Geography of Health3 s.h.

Provision of health care in selected countries, with particular reference to the Third World; focus on problems of geographical, economic, cultural accessibility to health services; disease ecology, prospective payment systems, privatization, medical pluralism. Same as GEOG:3110.

GHS:3113 Religion and Healing3 s.h.

Historical evidence of religious healing in Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, and Shaman traditions. Same as ANTH:3113, ASIA:3561, RELS:3580.

GHS:3131 Health Care and Health Reforms in Russia3 s.h.

Societal changes and their continuing effect on the Russian health care system since 1991; guest lectures from public health, nursing, medicine, cultural anthropology. Same as SLAV:3131.

GHS:3150 Media and Health3 s.h.

Potential and limits of mass media's ability to educate the public about health; research and theory on the influence of information and entertainment media; theories, models, assumptions of mass communication in relation to public health issues. Same as CBH:3150, JMC:3150.

GHS:3151 The Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life3 s.h.

Examination of diverse understandings of birth and death, drawing on anthropological analysis of personhood, kinship, ritual, and medicine; how social inequality and new technologies shape human experience at life's margins. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101 or ANTH:2100. Same as ANTH:3151, ASP:3151.

GHS:3152 Anthropology of Caregiving and Health3 s.h.

Diverse understandings and practices of care around the world; focus on relationships between caregiving practices and health across the life course. Same as ANTH:3152, ASP:3152.

GHS:3170 Visualizing Global Health Through Popular Fiction and Film3 s.h.

Prominent global health issues visualized through the lens of popular film and fiction; books and film will be used to explore how the public understands various global health topics such as human trafficking, emerging infectious diseases, post-apocalyptic societies, and population control.

GHS:3191 Sustainable Development: India and the Global Context3 s.h.

Introduction to development in India; critical examination of current discourses on domestic sociological, economic, and ecological environmental effects of the current model of development; taught in Mysore, India.

GHS:3192 Environment and Health in Modern India3 s.h.

Introduction to India's environmental and health traditions; major contemporary scenarios; taught in Mysore, India.

GHS:3326 Infectious Disease and Human Evolution3 s.h.

Infectious disease as a central and important role in evolution of modern humans; impact of important infectious diseases on human history through primary literature. Recommendations: evolutionary theory background or interest. Same as ANTH:3326.

GHS:3327 The Politics of Progress: NGOs, Development, and Sexuality3 s.h.

How nonprofit sector increasingly plays a significant role in countering socioeconomic inequalities in the United States and global south; role of nonprofit organizations in relation to governmental policies of development, transnational funders, and ideas of sexual progress; critics of development institutions' arguments that western ideas of progress impose and adversely affect groups they claim to empower, yet also may foster struggles for social justice that go beyond development policy; examination of transnational nonprofit sector in relation to gender/sexuality and how it impacts women and gender/sexual minorities around the world. Recommendations: background in gender studies or social sciences. Same as GWSS:3326.

GHS:3500 Global Public Health3 s.h.

Exploration of historical, current, and forecasted trends in global public health, the factors influencing health demographics in human populations, sources of health inequalities, and appropriate policy and intervention approaches for addressing global public health challenges. Same as CPH:3500.

GHS:3555 Understanding Health and Disease in Africa3 s.h.

Cultural, historical, and political framework for the delivery of health care services in African nations. Recommendations: junior or higher standing. Same as HIST:3755, IS:3555.

GHS:3560 Global Garbage and Global Health3 s.h.

Exploration of the fate of waste products as they are burnt, decomposed, landfilled, treated, recycled, reused, dumped on minority communities, or shipped abroad; definition of social and cultural aspects of garbage; students develop an understanding of the link between garbage, human health, and environmental health.

GHS:3600 Development in a Global Context I: Preparing for an Internship in Health, Gender, and Environment1 s.h.

Students work with a UI faculty mentor to articulate an international development project and apply to an international development organization for an internship; students are matched to an organization/project and begin preparation for their internship by communicating with onsite mentor/supervisor.

GHS:3700 Development in a Global Context II: Reflections on Real World Interventions2 s.h.

Students produce a research paper analyzing their personal internship in an international development program.

GHS:3720 Contemporary Issues in Global Health3 s.h.

Local and global dimensions of health and disease.

GHS:3760 Hazards and Society3 s.h.

Examination of the impact and societal responses to natural and technological hazards; using case studies from around the world, students explore relationships between extreme events, human behavior, disaster management, public policy, and technology to understand what makes people and places vulnerable to hazards. Same as GEOG:3760.

GHS:3780 U.S. Energy Policy in Global Context3 s.h.

Historical and contemporary aspects of U.S. governmental planning and policy on a wide range of energy issues in global context. Same as GEOG:3780.

GHS:3850 Promoting Health Globally3 s.h.

Major global health threats in the United States and abroad; impact of culture, history, economics on health disparities; approaches, programs, policies to remedy them. Requirements: junior or senior standing, or certificate student. Same as HHP:3850.

GHS:4000 Global Health Studies Service Learning: Local Health is Global Health4 s.h.

Service-learning projects with local community organizations; domestic opportunities which offer global health insights.

GHS:4001 Social Entrepreneurship and Global Health3 s.h.

Fundamentals of social enterprise and innovative approaches to improving lives and communities combined with a Global Health Studies focus on social determinants of health; student teams apply their knowledge and skills to projects which support the global health mission of a community partner. Recommendations: one approved global health studies course.

GHS:4002 Working in Global Health3 s.h.

Development of skills needed for careers in global health. Recommendations: junior or higher standing.

GHS:4100 Topics in Global Health1-3 s.h.

Special topics related to global health studies.

GHS:4120 Global Maternal and Child Health3 s.h.

Interdisciplinary approach to health of women and children locally and around the world.

GHS:4126 International Perspectives: Xicotepec2-3 s.h.

Introduction to providing service to a community in a less developed country; student projects intended to improve community life in Xicotepec. Requirements: P3 standing. Same as CEE:4788, PHAR:8788, THTR:4265.

GHS:4140 Feminist Activism and Global Health3 s.h.

How female gender intersects with culture, environment, and political economy to shape health and illness; reproductive health, violence, drug use, cancer; readings in anthropology, public health. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101. Same as ANTH:4140, CBH:4140, GWSS:4140.

GHS:4150 Health and Environment: GIS Applications3 s.h.

Introduction to how geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial statistics are used in the study of patterns of health and disease in space and time. Same as GEOG:4150.

GHS:4160 History of Public Health3 s.h.

State-endorsed measures to avert or control disease in society. Same as HIST:4160.

GHS:4162 History of Global Health3 s.h.

Foremost problems of health and disease in colonial and postcolonial societies; topical approach. Same as HIST:4162.

GHS:4180 Climate Change and Health3 s.h.

Addressing global health issues affected by climate change through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing from medicine, human psychology, law, history, business, religion, and environmental science; exploring health and disease risk patterns as they vary around the world; examining the major social, economic, political, and related factors contributing to our changing climate and health and security threats; introducing the basic public health and human rights concepts and policies necessary for reducing morbidity and mortality rates among at-risk populations; preparing students to work internationally or domestically to address threats of a changing climate.

GHS:4230 Health Experience of Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees3 s.h.

Interdisciplinary exploration of the unique health concerns, challenges, and health care experiences of the diverse populations on the move around the world and new to this country; issues to be explored include four overlapping sections—broad overview (definitions, populations, and significant health challenges); health risks and needs of specific sub-populations; patterns of public and private resources and responses; and the local picture (Iowa and Midwest), programs, cases, and concerns.

GHS:4340 Global Health and Global Food3 s.h.

Practices, patterns, and policies that contribute to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in wealthy populations; environmental degradation, hunger, and malnutrition among impoverished populations; strategies to meet food and agricultural needs for the world; local/global aspects or perspectives on food/health concerns for Iowa and the international community. Same as HHP:4340.

GHS:4508 Medicine and Public Health in Latin America, 1820-20003 s.h.

Survey of major topics in modern Latin American history in relation to development of medicine and public health. Same as HIST:4508, LAS:4508.

GHS:4530 Global Road Safety3 s.h.

Road safety problem, data sources, research methods used in field, and how intervention and prevention programs are developed and evaluated; lecture, hands-on approaches. Same as CPH:4220, OEH:4530.

GHS:4600 Global Health and Human Rights2-3 s.h.

Requirements: sophomore or higher standing.

GHS:4605 Disease, Politics, and Health in South Asia2-4 s.h.

South Asia's long-term success lengthening lives and stopping disease, weighed against its continuing burden of infection, violence, pollution, and class-based suffering. Same as HIST:4605.

GHS:4900 Approaches to Global Health Studies3 s.h.

Global health as a study of the dynamic relationship between human health and social, biological, and environmental factors that drive the spread of disease; core areas of global health research that may include health inequalities, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, nutrition, environmental health, and health interventions.

GHS:4990 Independent Project in Global Healtharr.

Independent work completed under the supervision of global health studies faculty.

GHS:4991 Honors Thesis in Global Health Studies3 s.h.

Completion of honors thesis in consultation with a faculty mentor. Prerequisites: GHS:3010.

GHS:5000 Graduate Seminar in Global Health2 s.h.

In-depth discussion and analysis of rotating topics pertinent to global health studies.

GHS:5455 Health Insurance and Managed Care3 s.h.

History and theory of insurance, comparative health systems, health systems and networks, HMOs, public health insurance, care for uninsured; emphasis on public policy. Prerequisites: HMP:5005. Corequisites: PHAR:6330 or HMP:5410. Same as HMP:5450.

GHS:6550 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases3 s.h.

Underlying epidemiological concepts of infection disease, including causation and surveillance; prevention and control; case studies. Prerequisites: EPID:4400. Same as EPID:6550.