Monthly Archives: March 2014

Evolution of Global Health Education – High School Edition

Working with the PIH | Engage National Team, our research focuses on the existence and possible advancement of global health curricula at the high school level.  The methodology of our research – the final project of which will be a case study – is interview-based. We have been exploring the ways in which three current high school teachers are incorporating global health issues into their curricula. The aim of our project is to create a picture of the models and structures behind each teacher’s global health curriculum, in order to explain the development, implementation, and advancement of their curriculum within their respective schools.  The valuable knowledge these teachers have shared with us will hopefully serve to inspire and empower fellow high school teachers interested in global health, and open the discussion on the broader expansion of these curricula.

The three public high school teachers interviewed for this case study project include: Jeffrey Shea, a Social Studies teacher at Belmont High School in Massachusetts, teaching a “Global Leadership” elective course to 11th and 12th grader students; Matthew Cone, also a Social Studies teacher, teaching two elective courses titled “Global Issues” to 10th through 12th grade students at Carrboro High School in North Carolina; and Bradley Lewis, an Advanced Placement Statistics teacher who teaches mostly 11th and 12th grade students at Bainbridge High School in Washington.

Thus far, we’ve conducted first-round qualitative interviews with each teacher, focusing on the teachers’ process of curriculum development and implementation, as well as the content of the curriculum itself.  The responses we received from each informant far exceeded our initial expectations, and fueled our excitement and passion for this project.

One teacher provides insight on how to incorporate global health issues into a rigid Advanced Placement curriculum… Another talks about the his global health unit, during which he brings his entire class on a field trip to Partners In Health… And the other describes the way in which his course has empowered and inspired his students, particularly minority students, who previously had self-ascribed low expectations. Most notably, however, is the fact that all three teachers stated how this topic meets their students’ passion for learning about injustice, and desire to learn about the world: giving us great hope regarding the potential for change underlying the expansion of global health curricula at the high school level.

The fact that none of the teachers teach an entire class dedicated solely to global health reflects the interdisciplinary nature of global health, and therefore its ability to be easily integrated into a broader curriculum. We believe the foundational knowledge that a global health high school curriculum could provide to students would inspire and prepare a new generation of young leaders to take on major issues facing our modern world.

We believe in the power of collective movement building, and think that high school students are often an underestimated, underutilized group filled with passionate individuals yearning to make a difference in the world. For this reason, we hope this research has the potential to inspire other high school teachers to educate a new contingent of movement builders: young leaders with the potential to advance the goal of establishing health as a human right.

We are still in the midst of interviewing and gathering our research data. But, we are excited to share our results and some ideas for the future of expanding global health education and critical discussion amongst high schoolers in the U.S.


Post was written by Kristine Quiroz and Victoria Oliva.

Kristine is a Junior at Harvard University studying Anthropology and Global Health and Health policy. Born and raised in Southern California, Kristine enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and film/video editing. She is excited about her work thus far with Partners in Health, and hopes to continue doing global health work into the future.

Victoria is a junior at Tufts University majoring in Community Health and Anthropology. She is from Amherst, Massachusetts and enjoys photography, traveling, and playing piano.  She is really excited to be interning with Partners In Health this semester and plans to pursue a study of global health in the future. 

PIH | Engage: Forward Progress

It’s only been about 2 months since my last post about PIH | Engage, but our progress on the spring campaign seems exponential. Early in 2014, teams across the country sat down at community “retreats” to lay out a gameplan for the spring, setting ambitious yet realistic goals and devising the timeline, roles, and sets of work necessary to make their ideas a reality. We’re approaching a crucial moment for PIH | Engage: in just a few months, the yearlong campaign will wrap up and we’ll head into a summer of reflection, re-grouping, and rebuilding for next year. The question for these retreats was: how will communities meaningfully demonstrate the significant power they’ve built through months of organizing and hard work? 

The power that we’ve built:

PIH | Engage teams have built up to this moment through many small campaign successes. Just in terms of people power, the movement has grown to more than 430 members! A personal fundraising push around the holidays resulted in more than $26,000 in December alone, and events across the country have brought our total beyond $52,000 to date.

New Community Members

Dollars Raised


Our winter advocacy push focused on generating media around the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria replenishment conference. The Global Fund is an international financing institution that has brought unprecedented resources to fight these epidemics, and through submitting letters to the editor to our local newspapers, PIH | Engage called on the U.S. to pledge $5 billion to the Global Fund over the next three years.  At least 8 letters were published! In addition to these campaign victories, communities hosted many awareness-raising events, panels, film screenings, and social gatherings.

The community on Bainbridge Island, Washington hosted a “Soup Night” at a local bookstore with PIH guest speaker Jon Lascher.The community on Bainbridge Island, Washington hosted a “Soup Night” at a local bookstore with PIH guest speaker Jon Lascher.

The Washington D. C. group held a World Cancer Day happy hour.The Washington D. C. group held a World Cancer Day happy hour.

The team in Madison, Wisconsin bonded at their community retreat.The team in Madison, Wisconsin bonded at their community retreat.

Where we’re headed:

Now, the question is how PIH | Engage can display this power in a final campaign push. First, teams aim to host culminating fundraising events that rally entire communities around the vision of Partners In Health. Not only can these events raise substantial funds, they can engage a broad audience about the work of PIH and PIH | Engage. One idea that many communities have taken on: “Strides for Solidarity” walkathons where people walk in solidarity with community health workers, who often travel many miles over rough terrain to reach vulnerable patients. Community health workers are the cornerstone of the health care systems PIH works to build – we employ more than 8,000 CHWs across our sites. By the end of this year’s campaign, I’m confident that PIH | Engage will host more than 10 Strides for Solidarity walkathons.

Communities are also working to push forward an exciting advocacy campaign. As I write this, Congress is debating funding levels for next year’s federal budget, including key foreign aid programs that could bring millions to global health interventions. Congress gives less than 1% of the budget to humanitarian aid – we need to tell them to do better. PIH | Engage will engage with our legislators through in-person meetings, letters, phone calls, and emails and urge them to make global health a priority in next year’s budget. Specifically, we’re asking them to increase funding levels to $800 million for global maternal and child health, and $200 million for nutrition programs.

By the end of June, PIH | Engage organizers will have held dozens of meetings with Congressmen to discuss these issues. And, as you’re reading this, I hope you’ll join us! We’ve created an easy tool that helps you write a letter to your Senators and Representative in Congress in just 2 minutes:

Tell Congress

Sign this call to action now and share with your friends and family!

It’s taken a lot of work to get here, and I can already think of dozens of ways I’d like to change the campaign, our training, and our recruitment for next year. But thinking back to our launch in September, it’s incredible to have seen individual Community Coordinators grow into passionate, dedicated teams ready to host walkathons and meet with Congress! I can’t wait to see what we accomplish by the end of this campaign.

By Sheena Wood

Sheena works as the Community Organizing Assistant at Partners In Health. A recent graduate from Brown University, she enjoys reading about community organizing and global health, traveling, and eating dark chocolate. 

Back on the blog

So, I’m now realizing that it is quite challenging to maintain a blog that has some substance while also working a much more than full time job…

Yep, I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit. No excuses. I’m hopeful however, that I’ll be able to get some good content from a variety of sources up over the next couple of weeks. Some things that we’ll be discussing:

  1. The book “When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health”. I’m finishing up a deep dive into this fantastic book and hope to share a bit of a review and thoughts about how it connects to right to health movement building.
  2. NCDs. I’m hoping to have a couple of good friends write some posts that will survey how non-communicable diseases are expanding both epidemiologically and rhetorically in the field of global health and will look at a particular example in Peru for how NCD care can be wrapped up into primary care delivery.
  3. Updates from the PIH | Engage Campaign. We’ve made some good progress on both the fundraising and advocacy fronts and have learned a lot about how this collective movement building work can be done better. We’re excited by what all of this means for our plans for next year.
  4. More analysis on the ‘university engagement in global health research’. We are excited to merge an understanding of the growth of formal academic programs as well as extracurricular student organizations – both national and unaffiliated.

So, stay tuned for what I hope to be an interesting and productive conversation!