The University of Southampton

GLHE6001 Critical Issues in Global Health: Concepts and Case Studies

Module Overview

This module is delivered in a problem-based case study format focusing on specific countries or global region. It will expand on the concepts, theories and measures and illustrate the application using country or regional case studies. The module is taught by a team of multidisciplinary and research-active members of the academic staff within the University. It will examine best practice models in global health applying relevant theoretical and empirical/conceptual models of health/wellbeing and disease. GLHE6003 is available as an optional module for the MSc Public Health and other related programmes across the University. The module is complemented by an additional core module – GLHE6002 Methods and Analysis of Global Health Trends and Differentials which is methodological.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• This module will examine the concepts and critical issues in transnational population health and wellbeing and their determinants in a wider socio-behavioural, spatial, environmental and technological context. It will examine multidimensional concepts of health and explain how current and emerging demographic patterns and social change interact and affect health and healthcare outcomes worldwide. • Using relevant case studies, the module will examine the best-practice models and solutions including health promotion policy and multi-sectoral intervention strategies to reduce the burden of disease and premature mortality and associated risk factors determining both communicable and non-communicable diseases at the global level. It will discuss the complex relationship between global health, poverty and human development within the framework of UN Millennium Development and post-2015 Sustainable Development health-related goals. The module will address life course effects on health and broader structural factors determining global health such as modernisation, globalisation, migration, urbanisation and inequalities.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the key concepts and frameworks underlying the measurement and management of health worldwide
  • Identify emerging issues and critical challenges in transnational health and population development
  • Understand different trajectories of the mortality and health transitions worldwide and critically appraise the unresolved issues and (re) emerging complex challenges in global health
  • Explain the interaction of individual, household and community level risk factors and determinants of global disease burden and premature mortality attributable to both communicable and non-communicable diseases in both low and high income countries
  • Understand the complex relationship between poverty and global health within the population development context, including the UN MDGs and post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Grasp the relevance and logic of health across life course, associated biomarkers and early life interventions
  • Understand the interaction of socio-behavioural, spatial, environmental, political and technological factors determining inequalities and inequity in health care and health outcomes
  • Identify and evaluate cost-effective, sustainable, multi-sectoral intervention health promotion and policy strategies to reduce the global disease burden and premature mortality
  • Correctly use and critically evaluate sources of global health resources


Lecture 1: Global health: conceptual underpinnings and historical foundations Lecture 2: Millennium Development Goals and beyond 2015 Lecture 3: Demographic, epidemiological and nutrition transitions and their inter-linkages Lecture 4: Global burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases Lecture 5: Effects of global climate and environmental changes on health and wellbeing Lecture 6: Health across life course Lecture 7: Health inequalities in urban areas and cities Lecture 8: Stigmatization and barriers to health Lecture 9: Health promotion, governance and policy Lecture 10: Health care systems and financing Lecture 11: Health equity, ethics and rights Lecture 12: Dimensions of global mental health Lecture 13: Forecasting disease burden: assumptions and explanations Seminars Global health and growth Case study 1: Relationship between life expectancy and economic growth Case study 2: Health inequalities in emerging and transition economies Globalisation, (re)emerging communicable diseases Case study 3: HIV/AIDS, STIs & TB and the unfinished agenda Case study 4: Return of infectious diseases and prevention strategies Rise of non-communicable and chronic diseases Case study 6: Injuries, occupational health and accidents Case study 7: Lifestyle risk factors and global impact: smoking and alcohol Case study 8: Globalisation, food industries, diet and obesity Global health governance and security Case study 9: Globalisation of pharmaceutical industries Case study 10: Conflicts, wars, emergencies and human health risks Healthcare and health systems Case study 11: Healthcare systems, financing and service barriers in resource-poor settings Case study 12: Poverty and out-of-pocket expenditure impact on healthcare Case study 13: Strategies for universal health care: lessons and best practices Complex challenges in global health Case study 14: Urbanisation and health Case study 15: Challenges in designing and implementing multi-sectoral interventions

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

There will be 28 sessions including the tutor-led interactive lectures, problem-solving seminar/tutorials which will involve review of case studies and one computer workshop which will review global health database and study resources.

Independent Study71
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Evans R, Stoddart GC. (1990). Producing Health, Consuming Health Care. Social Science & Medicine. ,33 , pp. 1347-1363.

Lopez, Alan D., et al. (2006). Global and regional burden of disease and risk factors, 2001: systematic analysis of population health data.. The Lancet. ,367 , pp. 1747-1757.

Further useful literature can be found by consulting.

Murray CJL and others (2012). Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet. ,380 , pp. 2197–223.

Kindig DA. (2007). Understanding Population Health Terminology. Milbank Quarterly. ,85 , pp. 139-161.

Kathryn H. Jackobsen (2008). Introduction to Global Health. 

Marmot M & Wilkinson RG (Eds.) (2009). Social Determinants of Health. 

Kindig, DA, Stoddart G. (2003). What is population health?. American Journal of Public Health. ,93 , pp. 366-369.

Barry B Hughes, Randall Kuhn, Cecilia M. Peterson, Dale S. Rothman & Jose R. Solorzano (2011). Improving Global Health: Patterns of potential human progress Volume 3. 

Other. You will access to relevant study materials including lecture slides, selected reading and assignment details/electronic submission via Blackboard.

Koplan JP, Bond TC, Merson MH, Reddy KS, Rodriguez MH, Sewankambo NK, Wasserheit JN; Consortium of Universities for Global Health Executive Board (2009). Towards a common definition of global health.. Lancet. ,373 , pp. 1993-1995.

McDonald JT & Kennedy S (2004). Insights into the ‘healthy immigrant effect’: health status and health service use of immigrants to Canada.. Social Science & Medicine. ,59 , pp. 1613–1627.

Institute of Medicine (2002). The Future of the Public's Health in the 21st Century. 

Skolnik R. (2008). Essentials of global health. 

Wilkinson RG & Pickett KE (2006). Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation. Social Science & Medicine. ,62 , pp. 1768–1784.

Crisp N. (2010). Turning the world upside down: The search for global health in the 21st Century. 

Crimmins E, Kim JK, Vasunilashorn S (2010). Biodemography: New approaches to understanding trendsand differences in population health and mortality.. Demography.. ,47 , pp. S41-S64.

Montgomery M. (2009). Urban poverty and health in developing countries. Population Bulletin. ,64 , pp. pp.20.

Murray CJL and others (2002). Summary Measures of Population Health: Concepts, Ethics, Measurement and Applications. 

Ratzan SC, Filerman GL, LeSar JW. (2000). Attaining global health: Challenges and opportunities. Population Bulletin. ,55 , pp. pp.52.

Szreter S (2003). The Population Health Approach in Historical Perspective. American Journal of Public Health. ,93 , pp. 421-431.

Lindstrand A et al (2006). Global health: an introductory text book. 

Ewles, L. (2005). Key topics in public health: essential briefings on prevention and health promotions. 

Rockett IRH. (1999). Population and health: An introduction to epidemiology. Population Bulletin. ,54 , pp. pp.48.

Lim SS and others (2012). A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet. ,380 , pp. 2224–60.


Assessment Strategy

Commentary, 800 words (30%) Outline research report, 2 A4 side (20%) Full research report, 8 A4 side (50%)


MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary  (800 words) 30%
Coursework  () 20%
Coursework  () 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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