Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2022



Course Number

DIPL 6276

Course Description

The present global health crisis is not primarily one of disease, but of governance...". Ilona Kickbusch

Public health challenges- pandemic flu, HIV & AIDS, COVID-19, obesity, neglected diseases, tobacco use, environmental degradation, and underperforming health systems- increasingly shape and are shaped by the political, economic, and social aspects of globalization. Meanwhile, international rules that fall outside the traditional health sphere- such as those governing intellectual property, agriculture, human migration, and greenhouse gas emissions- can have profound impacts on human health. While strong national health systems are critical for meeting population needs, the effects of and capacities to respond to a particular health threat often lie outside the control of any one nation state and outside the health sector. Translating lofty development goals into significant improvement in health outcomes depends on effective global health governance, which could be defined as the "use of formal and informal institutions, rules, and processes by states, intergovernmental organizations, and nonstate actors to deal with challenges to health that require crossborder collective action."

This course will examine the concepts, approaches and institutions of global health governance as well as the governance challenges of global health. It will address the following questions: What is the current institutional architecture of actors engaged in global health? How suitable are existing institutions for responding to the 21st century global health challenges? Which tools and mechanisms have succeeded or failed to govern trans-border health threats, and why? To what extent are the international relations theories relevant in accounting for the dynamics in global health governance? Where are the major governance gaps?