INTH-380 Historical Analysis for Global Health Strategy
Spring for 2013-2014
Global health’s major institutions, primary interests, disciplinary biases, and geographic foci are all determined by historical factors. Similarly, almost all decisions in global health are based on evidence that is in some way historical. However, very few practitioners or researchers understand larger historical forces, even though the improved health outcomes we seek depend largely on these factors. This course has three components. First, it explores why global health exists in its current form, tracing important institutions and strategies from World War II until the present to show how global health activities have reflected the larger political, economic, military, and managerial ideologies of donor countries. This provides the context for a more sophisticated and powerful engagement with current global health policymaking. Second, it develops rigorous tools for deriving valid conclusions from historical evidence. Commonly, policymaking is based on stories, which provides weak or non-existent evidence for drawing the generalizable conclusions needed for sound decisions. This course provides the methodological foundation for deriving justifiable causal inferences from unique episodes through structured case studies. Third, the course turns to the political techniques because turning evidence into action is a political process. Analyzing and influencing these processes is therefore an essential skill for practitioners of global health.
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