Community and Global Health

downtown Kalamazoo


Why study Community and Global Health at K?

Learn how you can advance health and human rights in our communities and around the world.

Public health is everywhere – it shapes and is shaped by history, cultures, economies, climate change, media, international and local policies, neighborhoods, and individual behaviors. As a student of community and global health (CGHL), you will explore the complex and interconnected issues that affect human health and gain the intellectual and practical skills to analyze, develop, and assess healthcare policies and programs using a health equity lens.

The concentration, like the practice of public health, is deeplyinterdisciplinary. We draw upon courses and programs in anthropology and sociology; mathematics and statistics; biology and chemistry; ethics; history; women, gender, and sexuality studies; psychology; political science;  and economics, as well as specific CGHL courses, such as Contemporary Issues in Public Health, Epidemiology and Health Economics. In these courses, you will learn to use social determinants of health and social justice frameworks to examine the root causes of health and health inequities among people, communities, and nations.  

Outside of the classroom, you will have opportunities to engage in experiential learning activities, including public-health-oriented internships, research, and programs on study abroad and within the Kalamazoo community.

Combining theory with action, you will be well prepared to transition into a career in public health or to continue your studies in graduate/professional school. Notably, our alumni have had successful careers in public health, health policy, medicine, social and psychological research, and advocacy.

What can you do with a Community and Global Health concentration?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our global health alumni.


  • Epidemiologist/doctor
  • Policy analyst
  • Social worker/psychologist
  • Communications and marketing
  • Hospital administrator


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • Massachusetts General Hospital
  • County Health Departments
  • Planned Parenthood

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Yale University
  • University of Illinois Chicago

Program Spotlights

Learn about community and global health in Costa Rica

While you can choose from any of the College’s 50+ study abroad programs, you can deepen your knowledge of CGHL by studying health policy and practice in Costa Rica, a country with universal health care. In your term in San Jose, you will take an array of courses in public health, such as Health Care Systems in Latin America and Health and Vulnerable Populations. Outside of class, you will be able to take part in individual and group experiential opportunities in the city with local and national non-government organizations, clinical sites and more.

students shoveling for neighborhood beatification

Take your learning out of the classroom and into the community

At K, you will learn directly from the people and organizations that promote community health in Kalamazoo. In partnership with the Center for Civic Engagement, you will have the chance to participate in community-based courses (in multiple departments), student-led programs and summer Community Building Internships with local groups that address health disparities. Our students have worked with the YWCA, fair housing advocates, Planned Parenthood, the County Health Department, Area Agency on Aging, Kalamazoo Public Schools, AACORN and the County Young Adult Program for people with disabilities, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes, and many others.

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Olive Smith

Olive Smith (She/Her/Hers)

Major: Biology

Concentration: Community and Global Health

What is the best thing about being part of this program?

We are supportive of your aspirations and will go out of our way to make sure you reach your goals!

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

My favorite classes have been CGHL210, Introduction to Community and Global Health and CGHL 220, Epidemiology, because they made me realize how awesome of a concentration CGHL is and helped me in understanding the world events around us.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I’ve been a CBI [Community Building Intern] for Building Blocks of Kalamazoo in the Summer of 2022, where I was able to help the community with beautification and repair of houses or structures in the five core neighborhoods of Kalamazoo.

What is your Senior Integrated Project [SIP]?

I’m working on a literature review of neighborhood and built environments as social determinants of health.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I plan on having a gap year after graduating to get some work experience within my major, and then to pursue grad school in Public Health, or get my credentials to become a medical laboratory technician.