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Global Health Research Methods

Course Number
5400 (Epidemiology)
Course Instructor(s)
Amaya Perez-​Brumer

Course Description

As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and the health of people and the health of national economies are similarly inter-related, growing numbers of public and private institutions are recognizing the importance of “global health research”. Not only do people cross borders –as migrants, immigrants or trans-nationals moving back and forth between countries — but so do health problems and their underlying determinants, gradually eroding national differences in health burdens, threats and responses to them. Global public health research focuses on the inter-relationships among local, regional, national, and international factors that influence health and on the development of effective interventions and policies that will address these factors. The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DSLPH) has made a commitment to global health education and research partnerships. Graduate students need to be prepared to participate in global health research initiatives.

Course Objectives

To be effective as a global health researcher, we believe that the following are essential:

  • Knowledge/skill in the adaptation and implementation of population health research methods (quantitative and qualitative) to address critical global health research questions
  • Recognition of the importance of building equitable and sustainable research partnerships
  • Recognition of the importance of health research capacity building
  • Understanding of the role of knowledge mobilization and translation in health research

This seminar course takes an interdisciplinary and applied approach to conducting global health research. The learning objectives are:

  1. Develop the skills needed to conduct research or evaluation effectively in a global health setting.
  2. Understand the the cycle of partner involvement, design, ethics, implementation, dissemination and utilization of health research in resource constrained settings, with transnational populations, or involving lower and middle income countries (LMICs).
  3. Explore the strengths and weaknesses of methods, the range of ways that data can be analyzed, and writing up and disseminating research
  4. Consider mixed methods research as a broad framework into which the contributions from different components may best be understood, sometimes for a project but most often in a research or evaluation program.

Methods of Assessment

  • Global Health Project Formulation or Analysis (90%)

Each student will engage in the write-up of a project formulation or analysis of data in the area of global health. Students may be at different stages of the cycle in their current research interests i.e. from wanting to formulate practicum or thesis ideas, through analyzing their own practicum or thesis data, to writing up their material for peer-reviewed publication. There will be a total of three submissions in addition to a mini-digital presentation (5 minutes) due throughout the course for this global health project.

  • Class Attendance & Participation (10%)

Regular attendance and active class participation are expected from all students in this course.

General Requirements

Pre- (as an intermediate course)
• One global health course or professional/research experience in one or more global health settings plus
• at least one research methods course (qualitative or quantitative) plus
• Either their own research (includes literature reviews) or evaluation idea, project or data set from a resource constrained setting or with a transnational population or involving LMICs
OR willingness to work with an instructor on one of their data sets, analyze it and write it up (or potentially design an evaluation for their practicum – less available)