On to my second post and now midway through my second week in the PIH office, it seems we have just begun to scratch the surface of the vast, rather chaotic and disjointed wealth of information regarding global health education programs. Using the CUGH database as a foundation, our first goal is to chronicle the growth of global health education by pinpointing when each program in the database was established. Since this data has never been compiled, I had rather few tools at my disposal. After digging through several hundred university websites and launching a volley of emails, I have slowly started adding to the database.
In the meantime, I have also played around with the existing database, looking at the distribution of global health education (both geographically and by type of degree). Although these visualizations don’t reveal any earth-shattering conclusions, they do suggest some interesting preliminary trends.
Figure 1 breaks down global health education by type of degree, illustrating the heavy concentration of global health degrees, certificates, etc. at the graduate and professional level (while a rather anemic 41/207 programs at the undergraduate level). However, many leaders in the field of global health have pointed to the undergraduate level as the crucial locus for global health education. This is due, in part, to the inherent interdisciplinary nature of global health, which undergraduate programs are ideally situated to address. Perhaps, looking forward, a greater emphasis on undergraduate global health education must emerge.
Figure 2 points to a heavy concentration of global health programs on the East Coast and California. Containing many of the nation’s more prestigious, well funded academic institutions, it seems they may have played an integral role in establishing the legitimacy global health education (more to come on that later). Like I said, nothing too mind-blowing, but certainly a start as we find the direction we want to take this work.
The data used for Figure 1 and Figure 2 is from the 2013 CUGH Global Health Programs Database. According to their website, the data contains information current as of February 2013. All information was drawn directly from the program websites, and may not be comprehensive. The database only contains programs that have an explicitly stated “global health” focus either within the degree title or as a track title within the degree. “International health” programs were not included.
By Tyler Boyd
Tyler is a biochemistry and American studies double major at Middlebury College in Vermont. Hailing from outside Chicago, he enjoys graphic design and is interested in travel and global health. He is excited to be working on this project this month and into the future.