Global Health Scholars Program
Towards Global Health Equity: Opportunities and Threats
Fall 2014 - Spring 2015
In 1997, the U.S. Institute of Medicine defined global health as "health problems, issues, and concerns that transcend national boundaries, may be influenced by circumstances or experiences in other countries, and are best addressed by cooperative actions and solutions." Global health was thus portrayed as going beyond prior understandings of communication and accords regarding health issues between governments to refer to the health needs of people across the world, irrespective of borders.
The idea of global health is inevitably tied to the trend of globalization: the growing political, economic, social, and cultural relations among individuals, communities, and countries that occur as business interests, people, goods, ideas and values travel around the globe. Not only are money and goods globalized; but so are people, their health problems (and their underlying determinants), and global health governance.
According to some analysts, the globalization of medicine and public health is a promising development, allowing for diffusion of technologies, ideas, and values, with enlightened self-interest and altruism converging as all nations cooperate in areas of surveillance, research and intersectoral action. Others suggest that transnational governance bodies together with corporate interests exert enormous and excessive influence over global and domestic social and economic policy making, with international health policy, in turn, dominated by a market-led paradigm that fosters privatization and overlooks the underlying determinants of disease. Even its proponents recognize that a more globalized public health is unable to fend off all the deleterious effects of diminished social safety nets, unequal economic prosperity, and the environmental, work-related, and social problems of unfettered economic growth and decline.
As international health continues to be reconceptualized as "global health," new challenges and potential solutions arise, and a number of new questions arise as well:
- Who bears responsibility for preserving and protecting health within and across countries? How should these entities be held accountable?
- What should be the role of international entities in shaping domestic and local policies concerning health and well-being?
- Should global health efforts be universal or targeted?
- Do economic stability and/or growth need to precede public health development?
- What is the relationship between the distribution of power and resources - within and between countries - and patterns of morbidity and mortality?
- Why are health indicators deteriorating in some regions/countries of the world whereas other have made great strides in reducing mortality and disease in recent years?
- What is the contribution of trained clinicians to improving health? What other skills are needed in addressing international health problems?
- What constitutes success in global health?
The Global Health Scholars Program (GHSP) is a comprehensive six month-long program created to inspire those medical, premedical, and public health students who are interested in pursuing internationally-oriented careers in the health professions. This year, the Global Health Scholars Program curriculum is designed to examine the ongoing evolution of international health in the context of globalization. Through critical analysis of the literature, peer discussions and conference calls with vocal advocates for global development and change, scholars will be given the opportunity to cultivate personal insight into this exciting field. The curriculum will place particular emphasis on exploring emerging challenges, potential solutions, and issues of global health governance in the changing landscape and scope of international medicine and public health. Throughout the program, the scholars will be encouraged to apply what they learn through advocacy projects, creative writing exercises, and peer education.
Topics Within Future Challenges
- Meeting the Millennium Development Goals: obstacles and new major global health challenges ahead
- The changing scope of Global Health: aging, chronic disease, and mental health
- The impact of climate change, population growth, and the environment on health
- The continued impacts and challenges of communicable diseases: the emergence of multi-drug resistant diseases, and new epidemics
- New solutions: the potential of health IT to improve outcomes in developing countries
I. Conference calls with leaders in the field
- Scholars will speak with international leaders in the field via conference calls throughout the year.
II. Reading and discussion of journal articles and books
- Reading assignments specific to monthly modules will be circulated.
- Scholars will contribute commentary, discussion, or reflection for each monthly assignment to the GHSP blog.
- Scholars will participate in monthly small-group conference calls to discuss their reactions to the literature via once-monthly conference calls.
- Mentors will be in communication with scholar at least once every two months to check in, discuss the reading, and offer guidance about all things global-health-related.
III. Advocating in local community and education of peers
- Each scholar will be encouraged to conduct at least one advocacy- or education-related event during the program on a topic of interest related to the program’s theme.
IV. Publishing opportunities
- Each scholar will be invited to submit at least one article on a topic of interest related to the program’s theme to The New Physician, Global Pulse (AMSA’s Global Health Journal), Medical Student International (IFMSA’s Journal), Lancet Student, or another credible publication.
V. Attendance at National Convention
- Attendance at National Convention and participating in GHSP programming is highly recommended for recognition of completion of the program. Scholars will be recognized for their accomplishments at the Global Health Mixer and a discussion of roles in AMSA global leadership for the following year will take place.
Every scholar will be assigned a mentor, who will help guide you through the program’s requirements and expectations. These mentors bring with them experience in the elements of research, advocacy, clinical care, activism, and practice relevant to global health. The Global Health Scholar is also expected to utilize the many resources and people available within AMSA. Any questions regarding specific requirements, timeline, or general access to resources should initially be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who Should Apply?
Health professional students with a focused interest in global health issues and in applying a scholarly approach to global health disparities are encouraged to apply. This program is designed to guide future leaders in global health and human rights, and thus aims to identify motivated, creative, thoughtful students. The Global Health Scholar must be a member of AMSA at the start of the program.