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Course Date: 07 October 2013 to 02 December 2013 (8 weeks)
This course proposes an overview of current global health challenges drawing on the insights of several academic disciplines including medicine, public health, law, economics, social sciences and humanities. This interdisciplinary approach will guide the student into seven critical topics in global health.
Antoine Geissbuhler is a Professor of Medicine, Chairman of the Department
of Radiology and Medical Informatics at Geneva University, Director of
the Division of eHealth and Telemedicine at Geneva University Hospitals.
He is also President of the executive committee of the Health-On-the-Net
Foundation, and President of the International Medical Informatics Association.
He trained as a physician at Geneva University where he specialized in
internal medicine, then, after a post-doctoral fellowship, became Associate
Professor of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University. In 1999,
he returned to Geneva to take the responsibility of medical information
systems at Geneva University Hospitals. In 2005, his efforts in developing
telemedicine and tele-education are recognized by the creation of the UNESCO
chair for telemedicine and multidisciplinary teaching, and, in 2010, of
the World Health Organization collaborating center for eHealth and telemedicine.
Author of more than 120 original scientific publications, his current
research focuses on the development of innovative, knowledge-enabled information
systems and computer-based tools for improving the quality, safety and
efficiency of care processes, at the local level of the hospital, the regional
level of a community healthcare informatics network, the implementation
of the national eHealth strategy for Switzerland, at the global level with
the Health-On-the-Net Foundation (http://www.hon.ch)
and with the development of a large telemedicine network in developing
He is also leading an effort by Geneva University Hospitals to develop
a world-class medical tele-expertise network.
Louis Loutan is professor in International and Humanitarian Medicine at
the University of Geneva. He is a specialist in internal medicine
and tropical medicine and has a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard
He serves as head of the Department of International and Humanitarian
Medicine since its creation in the Department of Community Medicine and
Primary Care at the Geneva University Hospital.
He has extensive field experience in international health projects in
Africa, the Balkans, Nepal and Central Asia conducting research projects
and organizing training programmes. He serves as technical advisor and
coordinator of training and research programmes in the family medicine
reform in Bosnia & Herzegovina and in the medical education reform
He has been the president of several scientific societies and currently
is the president of the Geneva Health Forum, held in Geneva in 2006, 2008,
2010 and 2012.
Dr Samantha Battams is Course Director, UNIGE, formerly Visiting Fellow at The
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Adjunct
Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Flinders University,
Australia, and consultant in global/public health.
Samantha holds a PhD in Public Health Policy from Flinders University
(2008), BA (Hons) (Sociology) from the University of Tasmania (1995), BA
(Psychology, Sociology) (1993) and Graduate Certificate in Health Service
Management (Flinders) (2002).
Samantha entered the tertiary education sector in 2003, where she worked
in the Department of Public Health and National Centre for Education and
Training on Addiction at Flinders University in project management, teaching
and research roles (2003-2010). This included curriculum development and
teaching online and face-to-face courses in public health, and workforce
development resources for the alcohol and other drugs sector. Recently,
Samantha has worked on the Global Health Programme at The Graduate Institute
of International and Development Studies, as Research Fellow (2011-12)
and Visiting Fellow (2012-13). She worked on global health governance research
and events through the Global Health Europe platform, part of the Global
Health Programme. She has previously researched and developed a resource
on mental health and development whilst based at the WHO Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Branch (2009). She continues to work on workforce development
resources in public health as a private consultant.
Prior to entering the university sector, Samantha worked in the health
and community/local government sectors in Australia for 10 years, in strategic
planning, programme management and community development roles (including
7 years in general practice organisations). She has served on a number
of board and panels in South Australia, including the District Court of
South Australia and the Occupational Therapy Board of SA.
Samantha’s interests include: social determinants of health; human rights
and health; analyses of public policy and governance; the role of the European
Union in global health; user/carer and NGO involvement in policy and services;
inter-sectoral policy processes and collaboration; mental health and housing
policies; drug and alcohol and child wellbeing and protection.
Didier Wernli is a Programme Manager at the Division of International
and Humanitarian Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals and the Coordinator
of the Steering Committee on global health of the University of Geneva.
Didier trained as a medical doctor at the University of Geneva. During
his training Didier worked in fundamental research and experienced clinical
practice and healthcare in Africa and South America. For more than one
year Didier supported the work of an NGO focusing on infant nutrition.
In 2010 Didier attained a Master of International Affairs (international
law, economics and political sciences) from the Graduate Institute of International
and Development Studies in Geneva.
Didier joined the Division of International and Humanitarian Medicine
in 2009 where he setup a collaborative web-based platform for health professional.
As Programme Manager for information and communication technology (ICT)
& Global Health, Didier is leading the development of a new interdisciplinary
platform – the Global Health Forum - which allows its members to collaborate
and engage on global health issues.
Didier research projects focus on the impact of globalization on health.
He has published several articles related to the international policy aspect
of the transmission of antimicrobial resistance. His current research focuses
on interdisciplinary global health education and on the use of ICT in global health.
Slim Slama graduated from the University of Geneva in 1998 and subsequently specialized in Internal Medicine. After eight years in the Department of Internal Medicine, he now works in the Division of International and Humanitarian Medicine at the University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland. He is a practicing clinician who also dedicates time to the development of international cooperation activities, including research and teaching in the field of global health. Slim is also the Programme Director of the Geneva Health Forum, an international forum on access to health that intends to keep global health debates pragmatic and grounded in action, by giving a preeminent voice to frontliners. Dr Slama holds a Master of Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His academic interests include the prevention and control of chronic diseases. He is currently facilitating two community projects of chronic disease research and interventions in Nepal and Tunisia. He also co-moderates a web-based community of practice focusing on chronic disease capacity development in low and middle income countries and a review on the assessment of health needs of people with chronic conditions during humanitarian emergencies.
Rafael Ruiz De Castaneda
Dr. Rafael Ruiz-de-Castaneda (Geneva, 1983) currently works as a postdoc
researcher in the team of Prof. A. Geissbuhler at the service of e-Health
and Telemedicine of the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) and as a scientific
advisor at the Health on the Net Foundation (HON). He has a multidisciplinary
and international academic and research background in biology and ecology
and his main current interests are related with the development of scientific
research and education in the field of health and life sciences in developing
countries in Africa and South America using e-tools. Accordingly, he participates
in different activities of development and monitoring of the RAFT project,
the Africa Build project (EU funded) and the Mauritanian National Telemedicine
Network. He also works in the Khresmoi project (EU funded) aiming at developing
a health specific search engine.
He joined the team of Prof. A. Geissbuhler in August 2012 after obtaining
a PhD in Disease Ecology (Microbiology and Animal Ecology) with “Summa
Cum Laude” in March 2012 at the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the University
Complutense of Madrid (Spain). He developed most of his research at the
Department of Evolutionary Ecology of the National Museum of Natural Sciences-Superior
Council for Scientific Research (MNCN-CSIC, Madrid) and at the Department
of Animal Health of the Faculty of Veterinary of the University Complutense
of Madrid. In addition, he partly developed his research at the Laboratory
of Ecology, Systematics and Evolution of the University of Paris-Sud and
at the Laboratory of Avian Microbiology at the Wesleyan University of Ohio.
Dr. Rafael Ruiz-de-Castaneda authored and co-authored more than 20 scientific
publications on animal ecology, most of them on the implications of bacteria
and parasites on health of avian populations. Dr. Rafael Ruiz-de-Castaneda
is widely interested in environmental health and infectious disease ecology,
especially in aspects related with the emergence and spread of zoonotic
disease. These issues have a central importance in building global surveillance
to detect and prevent spillover of pathogens of pandemic potential that
can move between wildlife and people.
Course coordinators: Prof. Antoine Geissbuhler, MD, Prof. Louis Loutan,
MD, Dr Slim Slama, MD and Dr Didier Wernli, MD, MA
Course director: Dr Samantha Battams, PhD Course assistant: Dr Rafael Ruiz de Castaneda, PhD
Our globalised world has posed new challenges for global health. Infectious diseases have the potential to travel quickly and spread widely
across countries (e.g. due to increased international travel). The determinants of health (such as the food system) are across country borders, leading to a growing burden in non-communicable diseases in both developed and developing countries. Issues
in traditionally non health sectors such as climate change or trade
can have dramatic and worldwide effects on health and health systems.
These short examples illustrate what Global Health is about: issues
that not only cross national boundaries but also disciplinary territories.
In our interdependent world, more and more health issues cannot be addressed
by a country nor by a sector alone and require collaboration, coordination
The course will draw from academic personnel working across disciplines and the
wider community in international Geneva (e.g. international
organisations, NGOs). It will utilise an ecological or 'systems' perspective, along with a social determinants and human rights approach to health.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class activities and final assessment will receive a Statement
of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.
However, no credits will be awarded.
Week 1. Introduction to global health concepts
Week 2. Emerging trends in global health: Infectious diseases
Week 3. Emerging trends in global health: Non-communicable diseases, mental disorders and disability
Week 4. Governance for global health, health systems and financing
Week 5. Foreign policy, trade and health
Week 6. Research, development, innovation and technology for global health
Week 7. The environment, sustainable development and health
Week 8. Summary and Assignments
This course consists of the course guide, including discussion forum activities and assessments (multiple choice questions to complete every week and a final peer assessment), along with video lectures (10-20 min in length) by a range of presenters. Your enjoyment and benefits from the course will above all depend on your participation within this course, and we very much look forward to your participation through the discussion forums and peer assessment activities.