MPH@GW’s Global Health focus area is designed for professionals who are committed to improving public health on a global scale by researching public health issues; implementing programs to address, prevent and reduce disparities in health care; and effectively communicating health news to the public and increasing awareness across borders.
The world is becoming more and more interconnected as the ease of travel and communication across countries and culture improves. This global connectivity means that a national health crisis can quickly turn into a global health crisis if not managed and addressed appropriately. With a global health degree, you can bring relief to underserved populations around the world. Global health is playing an increasingly important role in national and international security, and it greatly impacts our global economy.
What Is Global Health?
Global health is broadly defined as the area of study, research and practice that not only seeks to improve population health nationally and internationally but also seeks to achieve health equity worldwide. Professionals tackling global health issues develop, implement and evaluate policies to improve the health and well-being of underserved populations in low- and middle-income settings.
The Milken Institute School of Public Health’s Department of Global Health works to close the gap between science and policy, both in Washington, D.C., and internationally, through cutting-edge research and scholarly service activities.
— Annie Leverich, Digital Advocacy and Fundraising Manager, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Fields of Interest
If you choose to focus on global health, you may work for organizations or agencies that concentrate on the following areas:
- Global Health Diplomacy: Advancing the nation’s health care agendas through strategic diplomacy, and conversely, improving diplomatic relations through collaboration.
- Sexual and Reproductive Health: Designing, implementing and measuring programs that address challenges involving family planning, abortion, maternal health and gender-based violence.
- Global Health Communication: Studying human behavior and its complexities in order to strategize how health policy, research and news is accurately and effectively communicated to the public.
- Health Equity: Preventing and reducing disparities in public health and health care by creating programs, interventions or policies that address contributing political, social and economic factors.
- Violence Against Women and Girls Prevention: Understanding the impact violence against women and girls (VAWG) has on the health of the survivor, her current or future children, and communities in order to bring about awareness and prevention.
To explore some of the major concepts and terminology global health professionals regularly use and encounter, read our 15 Terms to Know in Global Health blog post.
Career Paths and Salaries
Graduates with a focus in global health are working for international agencies such as the World Health Organization, USAID and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Below is a list of potential careers in global health and corresponding salaries:
Graph illustrates the May 2015 median annual wages for occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for health educator ($61,610), health service manager ($94,500), epidemiologist ($69,450), health and safety engineer ($84,600), clinical laboratory technician ($61,300), policy analyst ($93,000), communications and advocacy officer ($59,430), occupational health and safety specialist ($70,210).
Read our blog post, 25 Careers for Master of Public Health Graduates, to further explore potential career options.
Employment of health educators is expected to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is a faster growth rate than the average for all occupations. The growing demand for community health workers stems from increasing efforts to reduce health care costs and improve outcomes by raising awareness about healthy habits and behaviors.
Graduates from Milken Institute School of Public Health who have focused on global health have pursued careers at various organizations, including:
- Abt Associates, Clinical Research Associate
- International Vaccine Access Center, Johns Hopkins, Communications and Advocacy Officer
- Council on Foreign Relations, Global Health, Economics and Development Researcher
- UN World Food Programme, Project Manager
- The Manoff Group, Project Officer for Nutrition and Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)
- Social & Scientific Systems Inc., Research Analyst
For additional information related to global health, read these posts:
If you choose the Global Health focus area, you will complete 9 to 11 credit hours and select from the following courses:
PubH 6099: Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
This course has been designed to give students a practical overview of key sexual and reproductive health challenges in low- and middle-income countries and insight into how to design and measure programs to address those challenges (namely family planning, abortion, maternal health and gender-based violence). We have developed the course from the perspective of applied researchers working within an organization that implements sexual and reproductive health programs and services. The course is structured in three sections. Section 1 provides an overview of sexual and reproductive health conditions relevant for low- and middle-income countries. Section 2 discusses intervention strategies appropriate to these sexual and reproductive challenges. The final section covers monitoring and evaluation approaches to assess program effectiveness and impact in this field. Reading and coursework will provide students with practical tools to design and measure their own program strategies. Students will complete a series of assignments building to a final project proposal designed to address a specific sexual and reproductive health problem in a county of their choosing. These assignments will make use of foundational skills developed in previous MPH@GW coursework identified in the course prerequisites.
PubH 6099: Researching Violence Against Women and Girls
This course will provide a detailed overview of the intersection of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and public health, given the demonstrated and significant impact that violence has on the health of the survivor, her current and future children, and communities. Through readings, lectures and assignments, students will become acquainted with the set of rigorous methods and best practices for conducting applied research on VAWG. The course draws from Researching Violence Against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists (Ellsberg & Heise, 2005), which was crafted by the collective experiences and insights of many international researchers and advocates. The class will build on methods learned in other public health courses and will cover ethics, qualitative and quantitative research design, and monitoring and evaluation interventions specific to VAWG, culminating in the development of a full research proposal. After completing the course, students will be able to conduct research that is fully grounded in the principles of scientific inquiry and generate knowledge that can be used for social change.
PubH 6430, Global Health Communication Interventions
This seminar provides students a foundation in key behavior change and communication theories relevant to global health communication interventions. Case studies in lectures and readings illustrate the application of theory in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health communication programs. Skills attained will enable students to apply theory to public health practice within a global context. In addition, students will practice essential communication skills for public health practice.
PubH 6514, Preventing Health Disparities
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding of how social, political, and economic factors contribute to disparities (e.g., racial/ ethnic, gender, geographical) in health and health care and how to use evidence-based approaches to prevent or address health disparities. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to understand, define, measure, and develop methods to address health and health care disparities. This course will review theoretical frameworks and methodological tools for students to conduct research and develop interventions to reduce health disparities. The main objectives for this course include examining personal attitudes, acquiring knowledge, and gaining the skills to evaluate, discuss, and develop the programs/interventions/policies designed to prevent or address disparities in health and health care.
PubH 6399, Global Health Diplomacy
This course introduces students to the concept of Global Health Diplomacy, starting with historical case studies of how diplomacy has been used to advance health agendas, and conversely, how health issues have been used to improve diplomatic relations between countries. We introduce students to formal health diplomacy, multi-stakeholder health diplomacy and informal health diplomacy, and provide comparative studies of how different countries have devised health diplomacy strategies. This course will challenge students to read and interpret health related agreements, negotiate a position, and assess the policy context while trying to advance a health agenda.
PubH 6121, Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
Epidemiologic methods for the study of environmental and occupational health problems. Epidemiologic exposure assessment methods and methods relevant to cohort, case-control, cross-sectional, and cluster investigation studies. Sources of and evaluation of biases and confounding, as well as survey and questionnaire design.
PubH 6133, Social Dimensions of Climate Change & Health
Explore the drivers of climate change and outcomes with particular focus on health dimensions. Will address drivers, obstacles, vulnerabilities, inequality and adaptation as well as technical and social solutions.
If you are ready to earn your global health degree online with MPH@GW, request information below or contact an Admissions Counselor at 1-855-674-2849 or via e-mail.