About the content
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.
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- 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
- Arthur Kleinman
- Paul Farmer
- Anne Becker
- Salmaan Keshavjee
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. The Harvard Corporation is its first chartered corporation. Although never formally affiliated with any denomination, the early College primarily trained Congregational and Unitarian clergy. Its curriculum and student body were gradually secularized during the 18th century, and by the 19th century, Harvard had emerged as the central cultural establishment among Boston elites. Following the American Civil War, President Charles W. Eliot's long tenure (1869–1909) transformed the college and affiliated professional schools into a modern research university; Harvard was a founding member of the Association of American Universities in 1900. A. Lawrence Lowell, who followed Eliot, further reformed the undergraduate curriculum and undertook aggressive expansion of Harvard's land holdings and physical plant. James Bryant Conant led the university through the Great Depression and World War II and began to reform the curriculum and liberalize admissions after the war. The undergraduate college became coeducational after its 1977 merger with Radcliffe College.
The university is organized into eleven separate academic units—ten faculties and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—with campuses throughout the Boston metropolitan area: its 209-acre (85 ha) main campus is centered on Harvard Yard in Cambridge, approximately 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Boston; the business school and athletics facilities, including Harvard Stadium, are located across the Charles River in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and the medical, dental, and public health schools are in the Longwood Medical Area. The endowment of Harvard's is worth $37.1 billion, making it the largest of any academic institution.
Harvard is a large, highly residential research university. The nominal cost of attendance is high, but the university's large endowment allows it to offer generous financial aid packages. The Harvard Library is the world's largest academic and private library system, comprising 79 individual libraries holding over 18 million items. The University is cited as one of the world's top tertiary institutions by various organizations.
Harvard's alumni include eight U.S. presidents, several foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, 359 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. To date, some 157 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists, and 14 Turing Award winners have been affiliated as students, faculty, or staff. In addition, Harvard students and alumni have won 10 Academy Awards, 48 Pulitzer Prizes, and 108 Olympic medals (46 gold, 41 silver and 21 bronze).
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