Community and Global Health

Professors: Alison A. Geist (Director) and Dr. S. Khady Ndao-Brumblay

The Community and Global Health (CGHL) interdisciplinary concentration enables students to explore the determinants and consequences of individual and community health, critically examine relevant global, national, and local policies and programs, and learn theories, methodologies, and program practices important to the study of public health and “the modern plagues.” Students use social determinants of health and social justice frameworks to analyze the structures and systems that shape health, disease, and disability, and the disparities and inequities that characterize their disproportionate distribution between and among people, communities, and nations. The concentration requires students to complete an experiential component (see below) approved by the program director in advance, through which they gain and apply practical skills.
Emphasizing our collective and individual responsibility to advance health equity, the concentration prepares students, as educated and engaged members of their communities, to identify, investigate, and articulate the broad spectrum of contemporary global health issues, and to exercise intellectual and practical skills in response. The concentration also prepares students for graduate and professional schoolin public health or human, dental, or veterinary medicine and the allied health professions.

The CGHL Concentration

Required core:

  • CGHL 210 Contemporary Issues in Public Health: An Introduction
  • CGHL 220 Epidemiology
  • Four additional electives, at least one chosen from each of the following three categories below.

Please note that while we make every attempt to compile a list that is comprehensive and accurate, not every course is offered every year, and new courses may be added from time to time without enough notice to be included here. Students should check with the Registrar, individual departments, and their advisor as they plan to complete the concentration.

Natural sciences and quantitative reasoning

  • ANSO 212 Quantitative Analysis
  • BIOL 322 General and Medical Microbiology
  • BIOL 360 Immunology and Human Health
  • MATH 105 Quantitative Reasoning & Statistical Analysis
  • MATH 260 or 261 Applied Statistics or Biostatistics (preferred)
  • MATH 360 Applied Statistics II

Social and cultural determinants of health

  • ANSO 210 Medicine and Society
  • ANSO 225 Sex and Sexualities
  • ANSO 232 Nature and Society: Introduction to Political Ecology*
  • ANSO 236 Race and Racism
  • ANSO 245 Qualitative Methods
  • ANSO/SEMN 255 You Are What You Eat
  • ANSO 310 Social Research for Social Change
  • ANSO 320 Special Topics (check with the Director; this course may be related to CGHL, for example, “Water, Environment and Society”
  • ANSO 322 Prisoners and Detainees
  • ANSO 350 Political History of Western Environmental Thought*
  • ANSO/ENVS 365 Humans and Non-Humans
  • ANSO 422 Anticolonialist and Antiracist Theory
  • ANSO 424 Border Epistemologies
  • CES 300 Body, Land, and Labor
  • HIST/SEMN 231 The Plague
  • HIST 232 History of Science and Magic
  • HIST 238 Sexuality in Pre-Modern Europe
  • HIST 246 Gender and Sexuality in Nineteenth-Century Europe
  • HIST 292 WGS in Latin America
  • PHIL 305 Biomedical Ethics
  • PSYC 211 Adolescent Development
  • PSYC 220 Health Psychology
  • PSYC 270 Feminist Psychology of Women
  • PSYC 411 Psychology and the Law (when it has a service-learning component)
  • PSYC 424 Psychopharmacology
  • PSYC 465 Advanced Psychology of Sexuality
  • SEMN 408 Slow Farming
  • SPAN 205 Linguistics in Health Care

* These courses are more broadly about environmental health, and about nature as an historical, intellectual and social construct. Students wishing to make them more relevant to community and global health may speak with the professor to craft paper topics that explore these issues within the course’s theoretical frameworks.

Public policy

  • ECON 221 Health Economics
    ECON 225 Economics of Development and Growth
  • ECON 235 Environmental and Resource Economics
  • ECON 265 Issues in Urban Economics
  • POLS/WGS 265 Feminist Political Theories (cannot count towards both social/cultural determinants & public policy elective)
  • POLS 270 The European Union: Institutions, Actors, Aliens, and Outcomes
  • POLS 310 Women, States, and NGO’s
  • POLS 330 Politics of the Holocaust
  • POLS 380 Drugs, Democracy, and Human Rights

Students may also take one course at a Kalamazoo College study abroad site as an elective, with advance permission from a CGHL Director.

Experiential requirement

CGHL requires students to incorporate at least one immersive public health experience into their concentration. When CGHL 210 is offered as a “service-learning” or community-based seminar, it fulfills this requirement. Otherwise, students must seek community-based learning experiences, approved in advance by the director/s that will count towards this requirement. Examples that may be approved include health-related service-learning courses, ICRPs abroad, SIPS, internships and community-based research with an explicit public health focus, employment within a public health field; and/or certain Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) programs at K. Clinical experiences –e.g. working in a doctor’s office or hospital — may or may not count, depending on context. The CCE has built many health-related community partnerships in Kalamazoo, and offers a limited number of paid, six-week summer Community Building Internships with local organizations, many of them in health fields.
To fulfill this requirement, students are required to write a three-to-five pageessay that combines reflection on their experience with a scholarly literature review to explicitly demonstrate connections to and learning about community and global health, in particular the social determinants of health.

Community and Global Health Courses

CGHL 210 Contemporary Issues in Public Health This seminar explores current issues, theories, policies, practices, and methods in the field of public health, with a focus on campaigns to eliminate infectious diseases in Africa, and their connection to economic development. Community and Global Health at K uses critical frameworks to examine how race, gender, age, environment, migration status, and colonial history have dynamically shaped the heath of communities and people, and how to center health equity in sustainable approaches. This year (fall 2023), the course is taught by Bruce Benton (K' 64), and will use (among others) his book, Riverblindness in Africa: Taming the Lion's Stare, based on the World Bank campaign to eliminate onchocerciasis in Africa, an effort Benton led. The class will feature guest lectures (remotely) by worldwide leaders in work on "neglected tropical diseases." Students will gain broad familiarity with the fields of public and global health, through assignments that develop skills in collaboration, critical thinking and reasoning, cultural humility, research, the application of theory to practice, and written and oral communication, including the development of policy briefings.
CGHL 220 Epidemiology This course provides students with the fundamental concepts, skills and perspectives of epidemiology and epidemiological thought and introduces some of the major issues and challenges in global and community health today. Students will learn and apply epidemiological methods.
CGHL 221 Health Economics This health economics course is designed to introduce students to economic tools used in analyzing health care outcomes and challenges. Topics of this course will include basic economic concepts important for the study in health economics, aspects of the US health care market, why health is different from other goods, health externalities, health insurance, information asymmetries, healthcare reform, and disparities in access to health care. Students should be able to think critically about health-related policy issues by the end of the class. This course can count for the Economics Major. Cross-listed with ECON-221. Prerequisite: ECON-101 Must have taken ECON-101.
CGHL 593 Senior Integrated Project A small number of students may do SIPs in the concentration each year, but are encouraged to work with faculty advisors in their major.
CGHL 600 Teaching Assistantship