236236 Early engagement toward lifetime commitments: Developing transformative undergraduate global health education programs

Monday, October 31, 2011

Elahe Nezami, Associate Dean for Undergraduate, Masters, and Professional Programs , Health Promotion and Global Health Programs, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Undergraduate students are becoming increasingly savvy about pursuing professional goals from the outset of their college experiences. Likewise, many more students are interested in working as agents of change toward creating a society that is one global community and contributing to that community as health professionals. Given the program specificity desired by today's students and the growing need for professionals trained to address health care and policy issues in a global context, universities have the opportunity to respond by developing formal global health education training programs. Students want to prepare for international work as health clinicians, researchers, aid workers, policy makers, epidemiologists, and health educators. To do so adequately, they need to gain knowledge across disciplines so that they have a comprehensive understanding of the factors affecting global health and wellness. By integrating course work in international relations, economics, public health, and international politics into a curriculum along with the basic science courses required for admission to health-related professional schools, institutions of higher learning will be graduating an entirely new type of student. These students will approach health challenges seeking not only to treat a disease and its symptoms, but working to provide culturally competent health interventions to educate populations and prevent the spread of a disease or ongoing health crisis. Undergraduate global health education programs are an important and far-sighted service that universities can offer to shape the health of our increasingly connected world.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Design undergraduate global health program curriculum. Assess an institution's preparedness and needs for developing undergraduate global health courses based on existing academic resources. Explain the impact of undergraduate global health education options to shaping the career goals of students. List potential career paths for students graduating from an undergraduate global health program. Demonstrate need for global health workers in the workforce. Explain importance of diversifying health curriculum to institutional administration.

Keywords: Global Education, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I founded and currently direct two undergraduate programs relating to global health and health promotion and disease prevention, in addition to a graduate program in global medicine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.