Fall 2024
GHP 210A
September 3 - December 20
Wednesday, 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Go to course site

Concepts and Methods for Global Health and Population Studies (Part A)


This course is intended as a survey of the ideas, theories, data, methods and debates in the study of global health and population. It is organized around two major themes. The first theme – family and population health – will cover the major present and future drivers of population health globally (such as aging, urbanization, changing lifestyles, pandemics, and climate change), as well as the major burdens of diseases and their global distributions. It will further cover the important relationships between global health, human development and equitable societies. One methodological focus of this theme will be population-, community- and family-based interventions to reduce the world’s largest health risks and disease burdens, boosting health literacy and fluency, motivating behavior change for health, and enhancing screening and early disease detection, as well as supporting long-term treatment and care. Another methodological focus of this theme will be a broad-scope introduction to the scientific methods of studying family and population health, including approaches to understand the drivers and contexts of health and disease, and designing and evaluating novel interventions and policies.  The second theme – health systems – will cover underlying theories and empirical evidence for analyzing different components of a health care system and how they interact with each other to determine a health system’s performance. Specifically, it will cover existing health system frameworks and how they compare with each other, different financing approaches, provider payment methods, market structures, models of organization of healthcare delivery, regulation, and behavioral interventions. It will also cover ethical principles in guiding health system reform and priority setting. In addition, it will cover political economy in health reform decision and implementation. This part of the course adopts an inter-disciplinary approach, drawing on economics, political science, ethics, organizational behavior, among others. Once students have completed this course, they will be able to (i) describe and explain the major drivers of health and disease worldwide, (ii) identify and explain major mechanisms that connect health with human, economic and social development, (iii) identify powerful interventions for population health, (iv) select the best methods to discover, design, test, and transport novel interventions and policies to boost population health. They will also be able to (v) describe and explain health systems goal and levers, (vi) compare and contrast the major approaches to funding, paying for, delivering, governing and regulating healthcare, and (vii) distinguish and critically apply alternative conceptions of equity in the context of health and health systems. Grade and Credit Units Note: GHP 210 is a yearlong class comprised of two pArts: Part A in the Fall and Part B in the Spring. Students only receive a grade in GHP 210 after they have completed both Part A and Part B. At the end of the Fall term, students will receive an “IP” (“in progress”) grade in GHP 210A. This is a non-credit-bearing placeholder grade that will remain on the student’s transcript until they receive a final grade at the end of the Spring term. This means the 2.5 credits from GHP 210A will not be reflected in the student’s transcript when the “IP” grade is present. When the Spring grades are posted, the student’s final grade will replace the “IP” grade on the transcript, and the transcript will reflect the full 5 credits the student earned from GHP 210. Students will be enrolled administratively into Part B before the Spring term begins. Course Requirements: Course Restricted: SD, DPH, DRPH, PHD students only

Global Health and Population
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Course Level
Interest Area
Public Health & Medicine
Cross Registration