Program in Global Health and Health Policy


  • Director

    • João G. Biehl, Co-Director
    • Andrea L. Graham, Co-Director 
    • Gilbert Collins, Associate Director
  • Executive Committee

    • Ruha Benjamin
    • João G. Biehl
    • Amy B. Borovoy
    • Janet M. Currie
    • Noreen J. Goldman
    • Andrea L. Graham
    • Bryan T. Grenfell
    • Katja Guenther
    • Katherine Ho
    • Yibin Kang
    • Robert K. Prud'homme
    • Daniel I. Rubenstein
    • Thomas E. Shenk
  • Associated Faculty

    • Elizabeth Armstrong
    • Bonnie L. Bassler
    • He Bian
    • Mark Brynildsen
    • Angela N.H. Creager
    • Elizabeth A. Davis
    • Andrew P. Dobson
    • Lynn W. Enquist
    • Thomas Fujiwara
    • Zemer Gitai
    • John Groves
    • Elizabeth Harman
    • Brooke A. Holmes
    • Niraj K. Jha
    • Ilyana Kuziemko
    • Simon A. Levin
    • A. James Link
    • C. Jessica E. Metcalf
    • Celeste M. Nelson
    • Alexander Ploss
    • Deborah A. Prentice
    • Joshua D. Rabinowitz
    • Leon Rosenberg
    • Carolyn M. Rouse
    • Matthew J. Salganik
    • Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost
    • Eldar B. Shafir
    • Harold T. Shapiro
    • Peter Singer
    • Erik J. Sorensen
    • Keith Wailoo
  • Sits with Committee

    • Anne Case
    • Angus S. Deaton
    • Heather H. Howard
    • Daniel A. Notterman
    • Sebastian Ramirez
    • Paul J. Reider
    • Ignacio Rodriguez



Program Information

The interdepartmental Program in Global Health and Health Policy enables undergraduates to study the determinants, consequences, and patterns of disease across societies; the role of medical technologies and interventions in health improvements; and the economic, political, and social factors that shape domestic and global public health policy.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to undergraduates of all disciplines. Students apply to the program in the second semester of their sophomore year and are accepted if they have met the following prerequisites: submission of an essay describing the rationale for completing the certificate and plans for the junior and senior years; completion of an approved basic science course (EEB 210, EEB 211, MOL 101, MOL 214, MOL 215 or ISC 231-234) by the end of sophomore year; completion of an approved statistics course (ECO 202, EEB 355, ORF 245, POL 345, PSY 251, SML 101, SML 201, SOC 301 or WWS 200) by the end of sophomore year; a minimum grade of B in each of the prerequisite courses and a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0 overall; and a demonstrated commitment to the field of global health through completion of a health-related internship, volunteer work, campus activities, intellectual commitment, and/or community service.

Students who have placed out of departmental requirements and/or introductory-level courses with Advance Placement (AP) credit have the option of taking higher-level courses in lieu of the standard science and statistics prerequisites, with program permission.

Advanced science course options: EEB 309, EEB 314, EEB 327, EEB 328

Advanced statistics course options: ECO 302, ECO 312, ORF 405, SOC 404

Students who have not completed the prerequisites can apply to the program; however, waivers of the prerequisites are granted only in exceptional circumstances. Applicants should explain in their essay why they have not completed the prerequisites and how they plan to address the issue in their future studies.

Students who do not meet the minimum grade requirements at the time of application are still encouraged to apply. The program may accept a student with grades below the minimum requirements when the rest of the application is strong and thoughtfully written.

Program Requirements

To obtain the certificate, students must complete the following requirements:

Completion of GHP 350 and GHP 351 by the end of junior year.

Four additional health-related electives approved by the global health and health policy program, at least one of which is in an area outside of the student's department of concentration. Three of the electives must be completed during the junior and senior years.

An approved research-focused internship or independent research project during the summer between the junior and senior years.

A senior thesis written in the student's department of concentration that addresses or relates to global health and health policy in an interdisciplinary manner.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who fulfill the requirements of the program receive a certificate of proficiency in global health and health policy upon graduation.

Related Courses in Global Health and Health Policy. Courses that may be used to satisfy program requirements may be found on the program's website. If other courses in global health and/or health policy are offered, these may be added to the list of approved courses with program permission.


GHP 300 Gender and Illness Experience in the United States Today (also
ANT 386
GSS 347
) Spring SA

This course explores how gender is integral to constructions of health and illness. How do techniques of knowledge production in law, biomedicine, and public health rely on and invent ideas about gender difference? How is gender embodied in individual and collective experiences of suffering and affliction? How are such bodily experiences cross-cut by other conditions of social life, such as; culture, race, class, ethnicity, nationality and migration? The course combines readings in anthropology, literature, women¿s and gender studies, and critical theory to explore these questions in the contemporary context of the United States. Instructed by: A. Krauss

GHP 301 You Are What You Eat: Bio-Cultural Explorations of Food and Health Fall SA

Why are people committed to the "Paleo" diet in the 21st Century? Why do we apply the title "comfort" to certain foods? This class will use anthropology as a platform to explore how diverse health outcomes are connected to the foods we do (and do not) eat. While we will consider how food is implicated in individual health outcomes (such as malnutrition and chronic disease), we will also explore food and diet at an evolutionary scale. Shaping these explorations will be a sharp critical lens that considers how culture shapes our perceptions of food and health and how power intersects in our ability to so access those needs and preferences. Instructed by: J. Ham

GHP 303 Grassroots Power: Health and Social Change through Collective Action (also
URB 302
) Spring SA

This seminar provides a practical and theoretical toolkit for students interested in health disparities and social change. We will consider how critical perspectives on health, violence and the environment can create the grounds for broader social change. Through a multidisciplinary focus, we will look at how social change is conceptualized and assessed by experts, beneficiaries, and critics. Drawing lessons from the ACT UP, Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights and #MeToo, for example, we will examine how individuals and groups use technology and organize to change the status quo, reimagining ideas of justice and equity from the ground up. Instructed by: J. Nutor

GHP 304 Reproductive Technologies and the Politics of Life (also
GSS 352
ANT 376
) Spring SA

This seminar explores how reproductive technologies are involved in the government of biological and social life. Through readings in medical anthropology, critical social theory, and science and technology studies we will consider how reproductive technologies (both contraceptive and procreative) shape understandings of the body, personhood, modernity and nature, and how practices of biological reproduction are entangled with the social reproduction of race, class, gender, and ethnicity. Ethnographic studies include hormonal contraception, assisted conception, abortion, sterilization, stem cell science, adoption, and prenatal screening. Instructed by: A. Krauss

GHP 317 Health Psychology (See PSY 317)

GHP 322 Public Health in Latin America (See LAS 322)

GHP 327 Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations (See EEB 327)

GHP 328 Ecology and Epidemiology of Parasites and Infectious Diseases (See EEB 328)

GHP 332 Economics of Health and Health Care (See ECO 332)

GHP 335 Economic Evaluation of Global Health Policy (See WWS 335)

GHP 350 Critical Perspectives in Global Health (also
WWS 380
ANT 380
) Fall SA

Introduces disease and healthcare problems worldwide and examines efforts to address them. Via an interdisciplinary approach, identifies the main actors, institutions, knowledge, and values at play in the "global health system", and explores the environmental, social, political, and economic factors that shape patterns and variations in disease and health across societies. Topics include: development and governance of disease; technological change and public health; human rights and social justice; measuring health outcomes; and the shifting role of states, civil society, and public-private partnerships in healthcare delivery. Two lectures. Instructed by: J. Biehl

GHP 351 Epidemiology: An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective (also
WWS 381
EEB 351
) Spring

Focuses on the distribution and determinants of disease. Diverse methodological approaches for measuring health status, disease occurrence, and the association between risk factors and health outcomes will be presented via classic and contemporary studies of chronic and infectious illness and disease outbreaks. Emphasis on: causal inference, study design and sampling, bias and confounding, the generalizability of research, health policy and research ethics. Prerequisite: an approved basic statistics course. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial. Instructed by: J. Amon

GHP 354 Modern Genetics and Public Policy (See WWS 354)

GHP 375 Gender and Public Health: Disparities, Pathways, and Policies (See WWS 375)

GHP 400 Seminar in Global Health and Health Policy (also
WWS 382
MOL 499
EEB 400
) Spring

This course will examine four major topics in global health. Each topic will span two or three class meetings. The first session on a topic will feature a presentation by an expert invited from outside the University. Following the expert presentation, student discussants will lead a question/answer/commentary period. During the second and third class meetings for each topic, students will explore elements of the expert's presentation in greater depth as well as additional aspects relating to the topic of discussion. The student presentations will each be followed by student discussants. Instructed by: A. Mahmoud, T. Shenk

GHP 401 Global Health in Africa (also
ANT 480
AFS 401
) Spring SA

This seminar will examine the contemporary phenomenon of "global health" in Africa against the history and politics of health and healing. Topics include; colonial efforts to regulate race, gender, sexuality, and labor; African's responses to colonialism and missionization; the impact of colonialism on experience of health and healing; the training of African practitioners of biomedicine; the significance of healing practices to anti-colonial movements; and the relevance of these historical experiences to contemporary African public health and medicine. We will conclude with case studies of cutting-edge health issues in Africa. Instructed by: B. Brada

GHP 403 Race and Medicine (See ANT 403)

GHP 404 Science, Society, and Health Policy Spring SA

This seminar introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of science and society studies, which investigates how science both shapes and reflects social values, institutions, and policies. Drawing from diverse perspectives, including philosophers, historians, economists and scientists, the course will examine the relationship between science and society and provide critical tools and conceptual frameworks for addressing contemporary debates on how science should be practiced and disseminated for social benefit. The primary focus will be on the life sciences and health with occasional consideration of other areas of science and policy. Instructed by: Y. Ong

GHP 405 Energy and Health: From Exhausted Bodies to Energy Crises (also
ANT 481
) Spring SA

In this course we will examine how the production and consumption of energy are linked to questions of health. We will review how public health scholars, and academics from other disciplines have thought about energy. We will also examine what energy sustainability might mean in the face of repeated infrastructural failure and the concurrent loss of life. Finally, we will look to the past and present of nuclear energy, as a source of hope and a looming threat. Instructed by: B. Venkat

GHP 406 Health Reform in the US: The Affordable Care Act's Origins, Impact and Uncertain Future (See WWS 393)

GHP 407 Health and Human Rights (See WWS 453)

GHP 408 Public Health, Politics & Public Policy Spring SA

This course will explore health topics from the perspective of population health, politics and policy. Bridging domestic and international health topics and perspectives, the course will focus on controversial and complex health issues. The course will weave examples through various topics to demonstrate how politics and competing stakeholder interests can play a critical role in the public health and public policy response to health problems. The class sessions will be comprised of presentations by the instructors, visiting experts and students. Class discussion and presentation will be core elements of the course. Instructed by: K. Graff, H. Howard

GHP 409 Mortality at the Margins: Race, Inequality and Health Policy in the United States (also
AAS 410
) Spring SA

This course will critically examine the unequal distribution of disease and mortality in the United States along the axes of race, ethnicity, class and place. Through in-depth engagement with case studies, critical historical texts and public health literature we will explore why individuals from some race/ethnicities, class backgrounds, and geographies are more vulnerable to premature death and adverse outcomes than others. Student work will culminate in a policy memo and a presentation, allowing them to hone valuable skillsets for future participation in the research and policy processes. Instructed by: A. McGregor

GHP 410 Population Economics and Population Health (also
ECO 439
) Fall SA

The course will apply analytical tools in economics to investigate various economic and social consequences of population change and conversely the demographic consequences of economic growth. The course will emphasize both microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches. We will examine the economic determinants of population change and demographic behavior including household decisions, mortality (particularly infant mortality) and key forms of human capital investment including health, schooling and migration. Instructed by: J. Thuilliez

GHP 411 Issues in American Public Health (See AMS 306)

GHP 417 The Economics of Health Policy in Developing Countries (See WWS 407)

GHP 420 Born in the U.S.A.: Culture and Reproduction in Modern America (See GSS 420)

GHP 423 Molecular Basis of Cancer (See MOL 423)

GHP 425 Infection: Biology, Burden, Policy (See MOL 425)

GHP 427 Africa's Food and Conservation Challenge (See ENV 407)

GHP 433 Biotechnology (See MOL 433)

GHP 440 Drug Discovery in the Genomics Era (See CHM 440)

GHP 447 Neuroimmunology: Immune Molecules in Normal Brain Function and Neuropathology (See NEU 447)

GHP 450 The Physical Basis of Human Disease (See CBE 440)

GHP 457 Metabolic Engineering (See CBE 447)

GHP 458 Psychopharmacology (See MOL 458)

GHP 459 Viruses: Strategy and Tactics (See MOL 459)

GHP 460 Diseases in Children: Causes, Costs, and Choices (See MOL 460)

GHP 488 Law, Social Difference, and the Sustenance of Health (See HIS 488)