The Division of Community Engagement

Global Health Topics

The Global Health Program seeks to engage University of Alberta students to the realities of global health issues and the exercise of global citizenship. The following topics are used as the core focus for education:

Core International Health Topics

  1. Analysis of global health ethics in:
    • Government and government assistance (history, politics, economics)
    • Responsible corporate citizenry (multinationals, profit at all costs, pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies etc.)
    • Medical tourism
    • Individual learner and provider responsibility
    • International research (should provide benefit to population being tested)
    • Individual and organizational responsibility for degradation of the environment, consumption of non-renewable resources and associated health risks – being a global citizen
    • Ensuring human rights
  2. Health care organizations:  comparison of systems and health service organizations – policy-making and resource allocation
    • Public vs. Private
    • Global health governance
    • NGO’s
    • Multicultural (e.g. WHO, UNFPA)
    • International Financial Institutions, IFIs (e.g. World Bank)
    • Private foundations (e.g. Gates, Rockefeller, Carter)
  3. Global burden of disease:  examination of disease as a global issue
    • Disease burden:
      • Diseases with significant penetration with high societal cost, especially if preventable and/or treatable
      • Definition of terms within disease burden to help stratify needs, resources and level of development
    • Cost to Society:
      • Monetary, loss of productivity, individual suffering, comparative disparity between First and Third world countries regarding “market” costs
    • Overview of health indicators in Canada in comparison with developing countries
      • Mortality, incidence, prevalence, quality of life etc.
  4. Determinants of health inequities, disadvantaged populations, overpopulation, basic needs, political and societal stability, sanitation etc. under the following:
    • Basic epidemiology, social determinants, human rights, poverty
    • Demographics
      • The relationship of age, income, resources, health spending, literacy etc. to health and disease
  5. Basic health interventions and services:  elements of basic health care in developing countries
    • Primary health care
    • Water and sanitation
    • Immunizations, communicable disease control, essential drugs, laboratory diagnosis
    • Varying role of physicians and other health care workers
    • Educating health care providers and politicians
    • Gender equity
  6. Maternal and child health, family planning and population programs:  women’s health and family planning from a global perspective
    • Maternal mortality and morbidity
    • Women’s rights
    • Access to safe abortion, contraception
    • Integrated management of childhood diseases
    • Breastfeeding and marketing of breast milk substitutes, etc.
  7. Disease of specific international importance:  discussion of specific illnesses with high international implications
    • HIV, AIDS, TB
    • Malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, childhood pneumonia
    • Malnutrition
    • Trauma/surgical disease
    • Mental illness
  8. Cross-cultural issues:  impact of factors affecting medical encounters and doctor-patient relationships in Canadian practice
    • Medical beliefs
    • Traditional healers or healing
    • Religious beliefs
    • Language and communication
    • Family structures and decision makers
    • Gender
    • Age
  9. Travel medicine
    • Preparation and risk for traveler
    • Investigation and management of the returning traveler
  10. Response to international disaster
    • Anatomy and comparisons of disasters (earthquakes, weather calamities, war, famine etc.)
    • Stages of need and potential responses
      • Initial survival strategies by the collective victims and local medical/rescue systems
      • Search and rescue units
      • Immediate resource needs
      • National and international ongoing support
      • Rebuilding
      • Different national responses
      • Resource requirements
      • Médicins Sans Frontières
  11. Global Ecological Health
    • Consideration and activism towards saving the environment from further degradation, currently in a serious state with insufficient action
    • Global citizenship in which we work to ensure human rights and ecological integrity