Although I believe that much of my learning pertaining to global health has been carried out by my travels and experiences, courses are what pushed me to pursue these activities. Below is a non-extensive list of courses I find relevant to my global health and well-being certificate. I hope you are able to get an understanding of what I was able to takeaway from each course and incorporate into my global health knowledge-base.
- PS 0550: Introduction to Global Studies
- HIST 1091: Global Health History
- AFRCNA 1310: Cultures of Africa
- PUBHLT 1002: Special Topics in Global Health
- SOC 1319: Immigration
- ENGLIT 0541: Literature and Medicine
- SOC 1445: Society and Environment
- ANTH 1797: Mountains and Medical Systems
- NUR 1136: Himalayan Wilderness 1st Response
Although this was the last course I ended up taking towards my global studies certificate, it offered a more branched out focus on global issues. I have always been so focused on global health that I admit to being ignorant to economic and political issues involving neoliberalism, free markets, globalization of technology, and even some climate issues. In this course I focused a lot of my efforts on understanding concepts that can still influence health such as commercialization decreasing working conditions and climate change forcing migration. If you are interested in a sample of work from this course in the papers & presentations section I have listed under Climate Change my paper on climate change responses differing in the Global North (Pittsburgh) and Global South (Mussoorie, India).
This was the very first course I took on global health during my college career as a freshman and was the most influential. With professor Mari Webel, I was able to learn the basics of tropical disease and their subsequent cures or lack there of in African countries. In this course my most notable piece of work included research on infant feeding practices in rural Jamaica and how they contribute to infant malnutrition. Aside from the history I was able to become aware of, this course helped me to realize the appropriate way to navigate primary health sources and utilize them in a productive way. Although this course was a challenge, I am thankful for it having peaked my interest in global health.
I have always had a particular fascination with the continent of Africa. From the first class in which we discussed how many people forget that Africa is an entire continent containing a multitude of cultures, countries, and languages, I knew that this was the perfect course to get a basic understanding of the history of Africa as a whole as well as becoming more familiar with some particular cultures within it. My most extensive essay during this course was one in which I explored the attitudes the Beng people of Cote d’ivoire had towards infants and how that effected their child-rearing practices. Although this is a small population, their unique view of infants as powerful, to be honored, and sacred led them to being the perhaps most well-catered to infants in the region. If you are interested in learning more please visit the link on the Papers & Presentations page titles Beng Culture.
This was actually a repeat course I took, Global Health History, but I took this abroad so we focused more on local issues. By implementing the Millennium Development Goals established by the WHO onto local issues, I was able to see the functioning of the global health system to address issues within different countries.
This was my favorite course of the entire abroad experience. In this class we not only listened to lectures about the immense immigrant population of Australia but we also took excursions to immigrant-run shops, mosques, and the claimed lands of indigenous peoples. A notable experience was one in which we visited a restaurant run by a man who invited refugees and asylum-seekers to work there cooking a food from their own culture to share with others. Here, these people not only made a salary, but were able to being some of their homes with them as well as being offered meals with the restaurant for themselves and their families as well. Another important topic was that of indigenous people. Australia has only recently begun to acknowledge their claim to lands, as they were at one point not even considered human but given the designation of “flora and fauna”. With this new acceptance and revitalization of pride in the aboriginal people of Australia, we were able to learn a lot more about their culture as well as their unfair history of discrimination and oppression. An essay I wrote in this course revolved round the response to war on terror targeting certain populations and negatively impacting their lives, to learn more visit the link War on Terror under the Paper & Presentations tab.
Although not a typical literature buff, I was very happy to learn that reading about expressions of health experiences both traumatic and healing in literature can help to gain a better understating of what someone has gone through. Not only can literature be informative but a way for people to cope during times in which their own or a relative’s health is poor. Especially in exploring Argentine literature, I realized that this was a very common and expressive topic in literature. With influences of Argentine attitudes towards health, I not only learned more about health experience sin general but those specific to people living in Argentina.
In this course, we were able to understand the basics of China’s health care system and how their rapid economic and commercial growth is negatively influencing their environment thus their citizens’ health. Not only could I see this in class, but through daily living in Shanghai, some days the smog would be so heavy that we were advised not to go outside or to wear a mask as many did on even the less sever days. This was something I especially experienced as I am used to running and being outside to exercise which became a burden if not impossible. It is easy to see that economic improvement is great for a country, but there need to be considerations of its negative impacts such as air and water pollution which is further amplified by the sheer population size of China.
In this course we were led by an instructor who pushed us to learn in the field with hikes and even a two-night hiking trip to experience the environmental and social implications of health in this region of the Himalayas. With speakers including those who spoke on cultures viewing health differently, the effects of climate change on the mountains and thus on community health, as well as the effects of religious tourism in the many sacred sites among the mountains on local communities, I was able to get an expansive understanding of current issues in the northern chain of the Himalayan mountains.
Perhaps the most exciting course of my college career, we combined classroom learning to understand the basic of injury and common disease with the hands on treatment of them. Although at times the independent nature and dealing with the unknown could be overwhelming, I am thankful for this opportunity to get comfortable with typically stressful situations. In relation to global health, this helped me to understand that regardless of the culture of the person seeking care, attention, respect, and patience are necessary for a positive outcome because at the end of the day ever patient is a human and deserving of fair treatment. I hope to move forward with further trainings to become capable in places where hospitalization may be impossible.