GPH Edited

Global Public Health

Crossing boundaries to advocate for the well-being of all

Introduction 

As the recent pandemics of COVID-19 and H1N1 influenza have shown all too starkly, health issues transcend country boundaries and can affect all aspects of society, from economic development to political stability to national security.

Global Public Health (GPH) explores the connections between health, culture, economic development and environmental sustainability around the world while advocating for the well-being of all communities. Through class discussions, group projects and lectures from guest speakers, students:

  • Learn about the range of health problems that cross borders;
  • Consider the ways in which cultural and social issues affect a population's overall health; and
  • Analyze the major public health approaches, and challenges, to reducing global health inequalities.

With careers in global public health experiencing tremendous growth, interdisciplinary training and collaboration in these areas is more important than ever. Students therefore are exposed to a wide swath of global public health issues, including health inequalities, nutrition, maternal and child health, infectious disease, noncommunicable disease and environmental health.

GPH offers students from all majors opportunities to connect what they're learning with their future career goals. The program may be of particular interest to those interested in health education and policy, the health professions, global development, research and service.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global health
  • Global health through the lens of local action
  • Maternal, child and family health in global contexts
  • Social determinants of health
  • Ethics, economics and human rights
  • Global health “players” (e.g., multilateral and bilateral aid organizations, private foundations, national governments, UN agencies)

Because of GPH, I could access opportunities I would never have imagined, such as working at the Center of Vaccine Development and going on to aid in the COVID-19 vaccine trials. I greatly appreciate the community that I was able to form with my peers and the valuable professional mentorship I received from my instructors, as I know it has positively impacted my career trajectory.

Roohali Sukhavasi
Roohali Sukhavasi '20

Other Learning Opportunities

Students in GPH enjoy multiple opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom to the world around them. Thinking globally and acting locally, students will:

  • Interact with leading experts in the field of public health, both domestic and international;
  • Visit agencies involved in global health, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);
  • Participate in service-learning activities such as Global Handwashing Day at the Center for Young Children; and
  • Enjoy unique opportunities to get involved in research teams, such as the campus CATCH the Virus and COVID studies.

Finally, students directly engage with public health organizations and community-based health agencies through internships, research and service-learning. Past practicum opportunities have included:

  • Internships at government organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • Service-learning projects in hospital, education and mental health care settings;
  • Research in labs studying a variety of topics such as vaccinations, pesticides and RNA; and
  • Support of community health work in Peru, Sierra Leone and India, through the GPH-associated student organization, Public Health Beyond Borders.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete 2 supporting courses totaling 6 credits that will count toward your GPH Scholars citation. In most cases, these, as well as your GPH required courses, will fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquiums, capstone practicum and supporting courses—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the GPH Citation Checklist.

SEMESTER COURSE CREDITS
Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Families and Global Health 3 credits
Academic Writing (can be taken either Freshman Fall or Spring semesters) 3 credits
2–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 6–12 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 1–3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course if not already completed) 12–15 credits

Sponsoring College 

School of Public Health

Residence Hall

Centreville Hall

Office Address

1213 Centreville Hall

Office Phone

301-314-5909

Staff

Portrait of Elisabeth Fost Maring

Elisabeth Fost Maring

Program Director, Global Public Health
Portrait of Haley Axton

Haley Axton

Assistant Director, Global Public Health
Portrait of Gislaine Hoyah

Gislaine Hoyah

Program Associate, Global Public Health
Portrait of Reva Datar

Reva Datar

Graduate Assistant, Global Public Health

Global Public Health News

  • On Global Handwashing Day, GPH Students, Preschoolers Discuss ‘the Best Vaccine’

    Washing your hands is serious business—something that the students at the University of Maryland’s Center for Young Children are learning hands-on. “Our kids wash their hands all the time,” says Director Mona Leigh Guha, of the center’s 3- to 6-year-old students. The state requires certain handwashing protocols in licensed preschools, and frankly, it’s good practice. Handwashing with soap is widely recognized as one of the easiest and most effective ways of preventing disease.

  • What Scholars Did on Their Summer Break

    It’s a perennial back-to-school query from teachers: What did you do on your summer vacation? When we asked some of our Scholars students and alumni, they had a lot to tell us… and not surprisingly, they made the most of their summer break. Now that students have settled in on campus and the semester is a few weeks in, we highlight some of our impressive Scholars accomplishments from over the summer.