Course Syllabus

Introduction to Global Health 101:

Disparities, Determinants, Policies & Outcomes

Course Syllabus for GH 101, GEOG 180, JSIS B 180


“It is in the context of global forces that the suffering of
individuals acquires its own appropriate context.”

--Paul Farmer



  • We describe the global burden of disease and mortality in multiple dimensions – by geography, social class, race, and gender – and examine patterns of health and welfare disparity among all of these dimensions. Disparities in both acute and chronic disease patterns over time are also addressed, exploring the associated role of global social, political, and economic changes.
  • We examine the social, political and economic determinants of health disparities. Particular attention is paid in this respect to the ways in which global interdependencies that do not appear immediately related to health – the ties of global trade, of global finance, and of global governance – nevertheless play a role in explaining unequal experiences of sickness and health.
  • We explore ways in which different concepts of globalization shape distinct approaches to policy. We trace how health policy takes different forms in changing political-economic environments including discussions of primary health care systems (e.g. inadequate investment, health workforce migration management); disease specific policies (e.g., child survival, AIDS treatment); and economic policies (e.g. World Bank & IMF Structural Adjustment Programs, pharmaceutical patent protections). The course focuses on the most important and consequential of these with a view to helping students better understand the terrain of global governance in which any new global health policy is necessarily developed.
  • The fourth part of the class examines the outcomes resulting from the ways in which new global health policies change patterns of health practice and intervention globally. In this way we circle back to the basic question of definition, thereby evaluating the degree to which policy responses to global health disparities are taking global health further away from the fields of tropical medicine, international health and national public health from which it first developed.

You will meet the objectives listed above through a combination of the following activities in this course:

  • View weekly video lectures and required reading
  • Complete the Global Fund Research Project
  • Participate in online discussions board conversations
  • Complete a midterm and final exam
Course Textbook

GH 101 Required Textbook.jpg

Reimagining Global Health: An Introduction

Edited by Paul Farmer, Arthur Kleinman, Jim Kim, Matthew Basilico
Berkeley, University of California Press, September 2013, ISBN: 9780520271999


Assessment of student work:

Midterm exam: 25%

Final exam: 25%

Research project: 40%

Participation: 10%

Research work: Global Fund Project

 All Global Fund assignments are always available to you under the 'Assignments' link on the navigation pane.

The research work and section participation will contribute 40% towards your final grade.Your major research project for Global Health 101 will be to write a modified Global Fund proposal.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria “was created to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need.” By following key components of this disease specific policy development process, you will learn about the wider mechanics effecting funding for Global Health while also developing knowledge about heath needs and systems in a poor country setting. Over the quarter you will complete a series of seven assignments that will culminate with a modified proposal for submission to the Global Fund at the end of the quarter. Each assignment will contribute to the final product and allow for consistent progress on your proposal throughout the quarter.

The grade break-down for Global Fund project and the 7 assignments: is as follows:

  • #1 Global fund orientation & country selection 5%

  • #2 Gap analysis 15%

  • #3 Goal setting 8%

  • #4 Economic context 9%

  • #5 Actors & agendas 8%

  • #6 Create online map using GoogleMyMaps 5%

  • #7 Proposal 50%

For those wanting extra-understanding about the development of the Global Fund, please read this article about its historic achievements, and this more recent piece on its contemporary crises.And for everyone, the website of the Global Fund itself remains  an indispensable and extraordinarily informative resource.

Late Work Policy

Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines—there will be no make up assignments or quizzes, or late work accepted without a serious and compelling reason and instructor approval.


Global Health 101 is divided into ten modules (one per week for ten weeks); the first short week of the quarter offers an introduction that is not a course module.

Introduction: Course Overview

  • Activity: create a personal profile and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

Module 1: Introductions/What is Global Health?                  

  • Lecture: What is Global Health? Introducing the field, class, and the global scale of health citizenship.

  • Lecture: Determinants of health and origins of Primary Health Care

  • Readings: Chapters 1, 3 and 4 of textbook, plus pages 355-358, The Declaration of Alma-Ata

  • Video: Child Survival, the Silent Emergency, WGBH/UNICEF

  • Assignment:

  • Discussion: How do the social determinants of health in the US that are highlighted by this documentary help us understand global health inequalities in the context of globalization?

Module 2: The Global Economy of Debt as a Determinant of Health 

  • Lecture: Debt, SAPs, and Impact on PHC

  • Lecture: Movie, “Life and Debt”

  • Readings:

    • Steve Gloyd, “SaPping the Poor: The Impact of Structural Adjustment Programs

    • Reread pages 84-110 of the course text

    • Matthew Sparke, “Money,” chapter 5 of Introducing Globalization

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #1.  

  • Discussion: How does the movie, Life and Debt, challenge the idea that individuals, communities, or entire countries are in command of their own health? What did you learn about the processes that prevent health and wellness in indebted poor countries?

Module 3: Globalization and the Verticalization of Global Health

  • Lecture: How do different understandings of globalization lead to different approaches to health?

  • Lecture: From PHC to SPHC and Vertical programs: The role of Unicef, WHO, USAID, CDC

  • Readings:

    • Matthew Sparke, “Health,” Chapter 9 of Introducing Globalization.

    • Gorik Ooms et al, "The 'diagonal' approach to Global Fund financing: a cure for the broader malaise of health systems?,"

    • WHO Maximizing Positive Synergies Collaborative Group, An assessment of interactions between global health initiatives and country health systems, The Lancet 2009; 373: 2137–69.

    • Global Health 2035

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #2.  

  • Discussion: In Professor Sparke's chapter you read for this week, he discusses how places become sites of blame for the ill-health.  Describe his argument succinctly, and then discuss whether or not it resonates with you.  Do you agree with his assessment that places are both marginalized and then subsequently blamed, or do you think that factors like cultural mores, gender roles, and local politics are more impactful in creating (ill-) health, and thus negating Professor Sparke's argument?

Module 4: Global Health Targets & the Challenge of the Market

  • Lecture: Moving Targets of Global Health and the Enclaving of Interventions

  • Lecture: Drugs, TRIPS, and the Global Ties and Discontents of Biological Citizenship

  • Readings: Chapter 5, 6 and pages 326-327 of course text book

  • Assignment: Re-read to prepare for midterm. The study guide will be provided online.

  • Discussion: What are the key features of an effective rural health delivery model, as described by the Chapter 6 authors?  Why is the South-South collaboration model meaningful in this context?

Module 5: Global Health NGOs and the Challenge of Partnering

  • Lecture: International Agencies

  • Lecture: NGOs

  • Readings: Chapter 2, 7 & 8 in course text book, plus review chapter 3 again, especially pages 49-60.

Midterm exam: Wednesday, November 2nd from 6:30 - 8:30pm on the Seattle Campus in SIG 134.

Module 6: Health Systems Strengthening, the Question of Corruption, and Maternal Mortality

  • Lecture: Health Systems Strengthening and Question of Corruption

  • Lecture: Maternal Mortality and the movie: Dead Mums Don’t Cry

  • Readings:

    • Hogan MC, Kyle J et al. Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980–2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5. Published online April 12, 2010

    • Katerini T. Storeng, "The GAVI Alliance and the Gates approach’ to health system strengthening"

    • Laurie Garrett 2007, "The Challenge of Global Health"

    • Laurie Garrett 2012, "Global health hits crisis point"

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #3. Please upload and submit online by Sunday at 11:59pm PST.

  • Discussion: This week you watched Dead Mums Don't Cry, which, among other things, shows the limits of traditional birth attendants (TBAs), which were once a hugely popular global health intervention.  In watching the movie, what did you learn about the consequences of promoting TBAs over strong clinical services?  Are TBAs simply a way to deflect attention from the absence of robust health services?

Module 7: Health Care Reform

  • Lecture: “Health Care Reform”: PHC, Drugs and Workforce

  • Readings: Review chapter 7 and 11 of course text book

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #4. Please upload and submit online by Sunday at 11:59pm PST.

  • Discussion: No discussion

Module 8: Population Control and War

  • Lecture: Global Health and Myths of Overpopulation

  • Lecture: War, Imperialism and Global Health

  • Readings:

    • Review Chapter 8 of course textbook and the discussion of metrics

    • People’s Health Movement, “Terror, War and Health,” from Global Health Watch 2: An Alternative World Health Report, London and Cairo: Zed Press, 2008: 112-125.

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #5. Please upload and submit by Sunday at 11:59pm PST

  • Discussion: Describe how one or two course readings, lectures, or videos have helped you critically understand the political climate in your Global Fund country.

Module 9: Global-local Health

  • Lecture: Global Cities, Global Health and Seattle’s Curative Cosmopolitanism

  • Lecture: The Ties of Global (Bio)Capital

  • Readings:

    • Matthew Sparke, 2011, "Global Seattle: The City, Citizenship and the Meaning of World Class," in Michael Brown and Richard Morrill, eds. Seattle Geographies, Seattle: University of Washington Press and WGHA video

    • Chapter 9 of course textbook

    • Katharyne Mitchell and Matthew Sparke, "The New Washington Consensus: Millennial Philanthropy and the Making of Global Market Subjects"

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #6. Put the URL for your online map (created as Assignment 6) on the class map blog page. Please upload and submit online by Sunday at 11:59pm PST.

  • Discussion: No discussion

Module 10: The Future of Global Health (is You)

  • Lecture: Review for final; Slavoj Zizek, Ananya Roy on overcoming the limits of moralistic charity models that they all argue (but in very different ways) are overfocused on personal virtue.

  • Readings:

    • Chapter 12 of course text book.

    • Julio Frenk, Lincoln Chen et al, Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world, The Lancet, November 29, 2010

  • Assignment: Global Fund Assignment #7. Please upload and submit online by Wednesday, December 9th at 11:59pm PST

  • Discussion: No discussion

Final exam: Wednesday, December 14th from 6:30 - 8:30pm on the Seattle Campus in SIG 134.

UW Disability Statement

Access and Accommodations - Your experience in this class is important to us, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you experience barriers based on a disability or temporary health condition, please seek a meeting with DRS to discuss and address them. If you have already established accommodations with DRS, please communicate your approved accommodations to your instructor at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (this can include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or

Academic Integrity Statement

Students at the University of Washington (UW) are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic conduct, professional honesty, and personal integrity.

The UW School of Public Health (SPH) is committed to upholding standards of academic integrity consistent with the academic and professional communities of which it is a part. Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violations of the University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-120). We expect you to know and follow the university's policies on cheating and plagiarism, and the SPH Academic Integrity Policy. Any suspected cases of academic misconduct will be handled according to University of Washington regulations. For more information, see the University of Washington Community Standards and Student Conduct website.

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