World Health: Global Perspectives

The scale and complexity of emerging 21st century challenges will require scholars, practitioners, and policy makers—with different areas of expertise and perspectives—to create previously unimagined connections at the borders of traditional disciplines. For more than a decade, Goldie has placed strong emphasis on infusing global health perspectives into higher education and beyond, and enriching public health education with disciplinary perspectives beyond health.



The Knowledge Terrain of Global Health

A new conceptual framework of global health is essential for change, one that embraces health as a fundamental social goal, and that includes all populations in the world, regardless of nation state, geographical position or stage of development. Such a framework expands the “knowledge terrain” for global health and captures the conceptual interconnectedness between health conditions (the “problem”), societal responses (the “solutions”), and determinants of health (the “context”). An effective new paradigm will place people, not diseases, at the center of our efforts, and recognize the blurred lines between social, political, economic, and environmental domains as they shape health determinants, both locally and globally.

Goldie encourages her students to organize their thinking around two core questions, using a simple diagram like the one shown below: What is the population health challenge? How can we effectively respond? She emphasizes that understanding and contextualizing health challenges requires thinking in an integrated way about both the ‘health conditions’ (green shading) and the ‘conditions for health’ or ‘determinants of health’ (orange shading). Similarly, tackling the problem requires thinking in an integrated way about the ways we can respond from ‘within the health sector’ (turquoise) and ‘outside the health sector’ (teal).

Below, draft video clips developed for high school students provide a glimpse into this simple "framework for thinking" about complex global challenges. These prototypes were created to support a pilot on "global learning through global health" for high school teachers.

Who am I and why am I working with your teachers?

What do we mean by health, public health, and global health?

How can we organize our thinking with a simple framework? Go further here.

Undergraduate Global Health and Beyond

As the founding director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Goldie supported the development of dozens of new courses and experiential learning programs for undergraduates. By the end of her tenure, more than 5,000 undergraduates had taken core courses in global health, more than 1000 participated in experiential programs in more than 30 countries, and the secondary field in global health and health policy surpassed economics to become the largest at the college. Voted a favorite professor by the undergraduates in multiple years, Goldie's own general education course for undergraduates routinely has several hundred applicants. She has used the class as a laboratory and incubator, piloting and testing new models of instruction and novel pedagogical approaches.

Can You Explain That on a Napkin? In the 2017 general education class on Global Health Challenges, students opened envelopes containing an unconventional midterm exam. One of the sections asked them to imagine a policy scenario in which they had to sketch a complex topic on a napkin—yes, colored markers were included...

Global Health Challenges Goes Online: Inspired by her brick and mortar class for undergraduates, Goldie launched a companion on-line graduate-level course leveraging live-streaming and asynchronous options, interactive digital learning communities, and projects that required students to "make things that matter".  

Fundamental Concepts of Public Health

Dr. Julio Frenk (former dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and Goldie welcome incoming Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health students to a new course, entitled "Fundamental Concepts of Public Health," and share insights on its design. The purpose of the course was to provide students with a conceptual framework for critically thinking about population health—enabling them to use this framework as a platform from which to understand, contextualize, analyze, and tackle important public health challenges. Watch an excerpt below or see the full version.

Brainstorming about multimedia prototypes for the course in the learning studio.

Teaching "talk-show" style to our 500 students—informal, interactive, and lots of fun.

One of many conversations about "visual scaffolding" for complex concepts.

Online Learning: Global Health and Beyond

Goldie collaborated with Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and the director of Harvard’s South Asia Institute, to create and teach a HarvardX course, Entrepreneurship and Healthcare in Emerging Economies. Engaging more than 10,000 students, Goldie and Khanna adopt an interdisciplinary approach to understanding contemporary global health challenges, with an illustrative focus on South Asia. They use the lens of health to explore entrepreneurial opportunities, emphasizing that solutions to complex problems require contributions from different sectors and fields of study. Read about an early conversation between Tarun and Sue as they brainstorm about the structure of the course.

Current Global Challenges: Prototype module providing an overview of four major clusters of change in the world that present great challenges and opportunities to health.

Understanding Chronic Disease: Prototype module providing an introduction to the problem of chronic diseases and risk factors in the context of countries of South Asia. 

Tackling Chronic Disease: Prototype module provides a simple introduction to how we can respond to the problem of chronic diseases and risk factors in the context of South Asia.

What is the Global Health Education and Learning Incubator?

The Global Health Education and Learning Incubator’s mission is to support innovative learning, teaching, and dialogue about cutting-edge, multidisciplinary global challenges. We develop and evaluate new pedagogical tools and instructional strategies that bridge disciplinary fields, educational spaces, and groups of learners. As the founding director, the Incubator's three goals reflect Goldie's long-standing aspirations.

1. Foster interdisciplinary discourse across health and non-health sectors; provide a global health outlook to scholars across the arts, sciences, and beyond, and enrich public health education with disciplinary perspectives beyond health.

2. Cataylize a transformation in what we teach, who we teach, and how we teach; develop new strategies and tools for global learning by leveraging what we have learned and are learning through global health.

3. Create new knowledge networks—across local and global voices, geographies, disciplines; build a new paradigm for how we co-produce, share and disseminate knowledge emphasizing partners, principles and process.



Designing, creating, and thinking "outside the box" in multimodal learning studios.

Teaching and learning communities thrive in open and optimistic spaces.

Sharing ideas, inviting diverse perspectives, enlarging the sense of "we".