MPH: Global Health Track

The mission of the global health track is to develop public health professionals who are experts in issues related to global health.  Global health research and training focus on health inequalities within communities and populations and across populations throughout the world. Global health thus focuses on domestic and international health inequalities, and is not about crossing borders but bridging health inequalities with scientific evidence of etiology and prevention.

Track Specific Competencies
A.  Multicausal Etiology of Health and Disease

  • Know general patterns of age and cause specific morbidity and mortality in major regions of the world.          
  • Identify major etiologic factors that influence infectious diseases (ID) in less developed countries (LDCs).
  • Identify major etiologic factors that influence non-communicable diseases (NCD) in LDCs.
  • For both ID and NCD be able to identify factors that are thought to initiate the disease processes, and factors that contribute to disease progression.
  • Identify putative levels of causal influence from biological, sociocultural, behavioral, political-economic, historical and evolutionary factors for at least one ID and one NCD.
  • Identify and discuss general levels of biological interactions that influence states of health and disease. Illustrate for at least one ID and one NCD.
  • Explain current international public health issues and controversies.
  • Apply an understanding of behavioral and cultural diversity to addressing international health issues.
  • Demonstrate understanding of processes of economic development in LDCs and their heterogeneity.

B. Research Concepts, Methods and Conduct:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the principles of multivariable statistical analysis and ability to conduct it.
  • Show understanding of purpose, design & conduct of experimental trials at community & individual levels.
  • Discuss ethical issues related to the conduct of international health research.
  • State an international health research problem in terms of a research hypothesis.
  • Prepare an interdisciplinary international health research grant proposal for external funding.  

All students in the Global Health Track complete PHP2070, Public Health Community Service Internship.  The internship includes a core curriculum as well as a field experience tailored to the student’s public health interests and future career goals. 

Students in the Global Health track will be encouraged and expected to arrange an intensive foreign experience in the summer following the first year of the MPH Program, which, with approval, will fulfill their field experience for PHP2070. Ideally, faculty in the public health program, social sciences, and biomedicine, as well as other Brown faculty members involved in global health who have identified MPH students interested in global health will help arrange a scholarly experience at a foreign site for that summer. Alternatively, the summer can be spent in a domestic public health experience addressing health inequalities within a U.S. community, which may include data analysis, program development, preparation for research or related activities.

All students are required to complete a thesis.  Students work with faculty advisors to design a thesis project appropriate to their interests and career path in Global Health.

Core Curriculum Courses
Students in all tracks are required to complete the  MPH Core Courses, which can be found here :

Track Specific Core Requirement
Global Health Introduction -  Students are required to complete the following:
PHP1070, The Burden of Disease in Developing Countries

Global Health Electives
Two Global Health electives are required. One of the two electives must be an analytic methods course either in quantitative or qualitative methods (courses have an asterisk).

PHP 2060 – Qualitative Methods in Health Research*
PHP2180, Interpretation and Application of Epidemiology*
PHP2200, Intermediate Methods in Epidemiologic Research*
PHP2220H, Methodological Issues in the Epidemiology, Treatment, and Prevention of HIV*
PHP2220G, Methodological and Practical Issues in Global Health Research*
PHP2230, Infectious Disease Epidemiology*
PHP2511, Applied Regression Analysis*
PHP2601, Generalized Linear Models*
PHP2602, Analysis of Lifetime Data*
PHP2603, Analysis of Longitudinal Data*
BIOL1920A, Colonialism, Imperialism, and Public Health in Africa: Past and Present

Global Health Electives that Are Not Standard MPH Approved Electives (require permission of advisor and MPH Program Director)

ANTH1310, International Health
ANTH1320, Anthropological Perspectives on Development
SOC1870C, African Development and Demography
SOC1870K, Demographics and Development
SOC1871H, Social Perspectives on HIV/AIDS
SOC2080, Principles of Population
SOC2230, Techniques of Demographic Analysis*
SOC2240, Event History Analysis*
SOC2960H, Demography of the Life Course

The total course requirement is 13, including both core requirements and electives.  Each student works out an individualized elective plan, with the support of faculty advisors.  Students must two electives from the global health elective list (including at least one methods oriented course), plus electives from the approved MPH elective list (see below).  Additional elective options may be possible with the approval of the academic advisor and the MPH Program Director.