Course Description

Global health has traditionally focused on communicable, or infectious, diseases. However, 71% of all deaths globally can be attributed to non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and diabetes. Eighty percent of all cardiovascular deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. The burden of non-communicable diseases is also unequally distributed within high-income countries. This course aims to provide an overview of the epidemiology, etiology, and interventions for non-communicable diseases among the world’s disadvantaged populations. We will not only focus on populations in low-resource settings but also on ethnic minority groups and migrant populations living in high-income countries, such as the US and Europe. Students will learn to use data to debunk misconceptions in global health, to examine social, environmental, lifestyle, and genetic causes of non-communicable diseases in diverse populations, and to evaluate and critique interventions.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe global disparities in the burden of non-communicable diseases and their determinants.
  • Use publicly available data and tools to quantify the burden of non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries and in ethnic minority groups.
  • Examine the scientific literature on the social, environmental, lifestyle, and genetic determinants of non-communicable diseases.
  • Evaluate and criticize health systems and interventions aimed at reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases in disadvantaged populations.

Prerequisites: None

Target audience: Anyone with a biomedical background who wants to learn more about global health from a non-communicable disease perspective.

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