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Women, Children, and Adolescent Health: A Glocal Perspective

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Instructor(s)
Shaza Fadel

Course Description

The health of women, children & adolescents (WCA) globally is acknowledged to be inextricably linked to societal wellbeing and prosperity. Nevertheless, they remain underserved and disproportionately affected by illness, economic poverty and political instability. These are reflected in high morbidity and mortality rates as well as in diminished access to health and social services. There are also within-group inequities such as racism, migration, conflict and socio-economic differences, amongst other determinants, that have an effect on women, children, and adolescent health.

This course will provide an overview of several pressing issues related to women, children, and adolescent’s health drawing on global and Canadian contexts (i.e a glocal perspective). Using a critical lens that draws from intersectionality, decolonialism and black feminist theory, our course will consider key dimensions (including equity, gender) and social, political and economic determinants of health. We will discuss policies, programs and strategic events that have shaped (in)action in WCA health. By mapping the role of local and international agendas on pre-defined priority issues (e.g. sexual rights and reproductive health, gender based violence), each week will encourage students to question how health priorities for women, children, and adolescents are determined.

Both instructors bring their combined experience working in the field of global health to the course. Classes will adopt a participatory format and will include discussions on examples from different countries and regions of the world, including Canada using a critical intersectional lens. Students are encouraged to engage with the prescribed reading and contribute to the discussions drawing from their experiences and knowledge. Class format will include (guest) lectures, discussions on readings and current topics relevant to the course, presentations and group work or breakout sessions.

This course will appeal to students considering a career in international health or global health.

Course Objectives

  1. To analyse and critique the definitions and framings of Women, Children and Adolescent health;
  2. To deepen understanding of the major social, political and economic determinants of Women, Children and Adolescent health;
  3. To explore the dynamics and challenges surrounding the design and delivery of programs on women, children and adolescent health in global and Canadian contexts;
  4. To apply a critical intersectional lens to analysing topical issues such as reproductive maternal, neonatal and child health (RMNCH), adolescent health, mental health, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and Infectious Diseases; and
  5. To understand the motivations and implications of Canada’s role in the global agenda for women and child health.

Methods of Assessment

Reflective Paper 20%
Major Essay 50%
Class Presentation 25%
Particpiation 5%

General Requirements

The course is open to PHS and IHPME Year 2 MPH and PhD students with no prerequisites for enrolment. Other interested students require permission from instructors to enroll. Because the main assignment will require a literature review, the course is not recommended for students who are unfamiliar with it. Note that for non-PHS doctoral students this course could count as an elective in the Collaborative Specialization in Global Health.