This interdisciplinary course explores the field of global health (a.k.a. international health), particularly the serious health problems facing populations in resource-poor societies around the globe. The course provides an overview of the major initiatives and issues in global health, as well as in-depth case studies of three nations (Haiti, Mali, Egypt). Five major areas of focus include:
- a history and critique of the major international health agencies and their development initiatives;
- the political ecology of infectious disease;
- child survival;
- women's reproductive health; and
- men's health under "modernization."
The underlying purpose of the course is to develop students' awareness of the political, socioeconomic, ecological, and cultural complexity of most health problems in "developing" nations and the consequent need for anthropological involvement in the field of global health.
The course emphasizes three different anthropological approaches to global health:
- Anthropology in Global Health: This course will introduce the principles, methods, and approaches of applied medical anthropology in global health settings, whereby anthropologists attempt to develop effective public health education and intervention programs;
- Anthropology of Global Health Problems: This course will examine the ways in which anthropologists attempt to understand global health problems in a larger cultural, historical, ecological, and political-economic context, but without intervening to develop education/control programs. The importance of indigenous health culture, including ethnomedical understandings of and local solutions to public health problems, is emphasized; and
- Anthropological Critiques of Global Health: This course will examine the ways in which anthropologists have critically analyzed notions of health "development," and have pointed out the difficulties of developing effective, long-term, public health interventions for many of the most serious global health problems. The importance of evaluation — of the agencies themselves and of local intervention projects — is emphasized.
Required Texts: Four required texts are available at Shaman Drum, and are also on two-hour reserve at the SPH Library. They are:
- Robert Hahn, Anthropology in Public Health: Bridging Differences in Culture and Society
- Paul Farmer, AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame
- Katherine Dettwyler, Dancing Skeletons: Life and Death in West Africa
- Marcia Inhorn, Local Babies, Global Science: Gender, Religion, and In Vitro Fertilization in Egypt