Introduction

PLEASE NOTE: This course is offered through GetSmarter, which provides cohort-based learning, personal coaching services, and access to a premier certificate from HarvardX.

Join a global health community to analyze how power structures shape the response to disease, and the approaches taken all over the world in the fight against Ebola, HIV/AIDS, MDR-TB, and the burden of mental health.

With your own professional context in mind, engage with a toolkit of six social theories from a biosocial perspective, used to understand the interrelated biological and social factors found in complex global health challenges.

The course takes you on a contextual journey through the spread of Ebola, HIV/AIDS and MDR-TB, as well as the burden of mental health globally. By analyzing case studies from around the world, including Liberia, Rwanda, Haiti, Tajikistan and Russia, you’ll find opportunities to integrate key learnings into your own practices. Along the way, you’ll inspect the roles that foreign aid and governing structures play in facilitating healthcare solutions across the globe. As the mark of a transformative experience that delivers deep learning and meaningful connection, an ongoing project culminates in the design of a health intervention for real-world application that — when combined with your premier HarvardX certficate — serves as a powerful statement of your commitment to reducing healthcare disparity. 

What you'll accomplish:

  • Use a biosocial framework to illustrate how social factors influence the spread of disease
  • Deconstruct health challenges through social theories to identify restrictions and challenges
  • Analyze health challenges from historical and socio-political perspectives to understand underlying power dynamics
  • Reflect on how the assumptions characterizing the AIDS movement can be identified and addressed in other contexts
  • Recommend ways to adapt healthcare models from the case studies for new contexts
  • Evaluate how ideologies, the framing of problems, and the choice of metrics shape health policy
  • Design a global health intervention for implementation in a particular context, drawing on the theories and cases explored throughout the course 

Meet The Author

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer

Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Paul Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and the Co-founder of Partners In Health. Dr. Farmer began a lifelong commitment to Haiti in 1983. He has written extensively on health and human rights and the role of social inequalities in distribution and outcome of infectious disease. In addition, Dr. Farmer has been developing novel, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings around the globe.

Anne E.  Becker

Anne E. Becker

Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Becker is the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Becker combines clinical, ethnographic, and epidemiologic methods in her work. She has researched eating pathology, suicide, and other youth health risk behaviors in Fiji and is currently conducting a mental health research capacity building project and novel school-based youth mental health pilot intervention in central Haiti. Dr. Becker also served on the APA’s DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group.

Arthur Kleinman

Arthur Kleinman

Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor, Anthropology Department; Victor and William Fung Director, Asia Center, Harvard University; Professor of Medical Anthropology, Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Kleinman is the Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor in the Anthropology Department in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, a Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the Victor and William Fung Director of Harvard University’s Asia Center. Dr. Kleinman is a pioneering figure in medical anthropology and author of numerous influential works. Trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Kleinman has devoted his life to understanding illness experience, mental health and stigma, and forms of care and caregiving globally with special focus on China.

Salmaan Keshavjee

Salmaan Keshavjee

Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard University; Director, Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery – Dubai

Dr. Keshajvee is an Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School (HMS). He is also Director of both the HMS Center for Global Health Delivery-Dubai and the Program in Infectious Disease and Social Change in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, as well as senior TB specialist at PIH. He has led projects to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) in Tomsk, Siberia and MDRTB and HIV in Lesotho. Dr. Keshavjee has also served as the chair of the World Health Organization’s Green Light Committee Initiative for MDRTB.

Course Provided By

Back To Top