Global Health: Problems and Paradigms

  • Global Health Students at Duke Marine Lab
    Global Health Students at Duke Marine Lab
  • Global Health Students at Duke Marine Lab
    Global Health Students at Duke Marine Lab
  • Global Health Students at State Fair
    Global Health Students at State Fair
  • Global Health Students Playing Pandemic
    Global Health Students Playing Pandemic
  • Global Health Cookie Pick Up
    Global Health Cookie Pick Up
  • 5 Global Health students at the Duke Marine Lab
    5 Global Health students at the Duke Marine Lab


Health is affected, for better or worse, by almost every human act. Examining human health across regions, populations, and cultures reveals wide variations in health burdens and outcomes. However, how health inequity is generated and determining how to rectify it are complex processes requiring a range of methodologies. The goal of this FOCUS program is to help students identify factors that influence global health, ask critical questions about processes and paradigms to improve health, and develop possible solutions for targeted populations.


Biology 180FS — Emerging Diseases (NS, STS)

Sherryl Broverman

Sherryl Broverman, Associate Professor of the Practice in Biology and Global Health

Why are some infectious diseases easier to control or eliminate than others? Where do new diseases come from? What role do microbes and parasites play in human evolution? What factors – biological, social, and cultural – facilitate disease emergence or reduction? How can we use what we’ve learned from past attempts at disease eradication to improve current programs? Students will student global diseases from a biological and global health perspective and will focus on several case studies such as malaria, Ebola, influenza, or newly emerged threats. These diseases and others will be used to address the human relationship with microbes; the evolution of disease and resistance; vaccine development and immunization programs; ethics of public health programs; tropical diseases versus diseases of poverty; and factors that stimulate disease emergence. No previous background in biology is required.

Global Health 201FS — Confronting Global Health Challenges: What Would YOU Do? (SS, CCI, STS)

Jonathan Quick

Jonathan Quick, Adjunct Professor of Global Health

Saving lives and improving health requires wise decision-making by local, national, & international health leaders and communities: policies, strategies, programs at the heart of success. This course will engage students in political, economic, cultural, equity, psychosocial, and human rights considerations in five key areas of global health: universal healthcare, women and health, health impact of global warming, pandemics, and commercial determinants of health. Students' critical analysis & decision-making skills will be developed though active learning teaching cases, role plays, debates, and simulations from actual situations faced by health leaders at all levels.

Public Policy 188FS: Data for Policy in a Pandemic: Lessons from evidence based policy making in COVID (SS)

Manoj Mohanan

Manoj Mohanan, Associate Professor of Public Policy

Imagine driving a car, blindfolded, with instructions from the backseat on what to do and they are rarely in agreement. How do you decide what to do, which instructions to rely on?  The COVID pandemic of the last year demonstrated the acute need for better data for policy making, and better practices for engaging with and communicating such data. This seminar will lead students through the basics of how data is generated and circulated (or not), how such information feeds into the policy cycle (or not) and the implications for the overall policy response.  The course will draw on concepts from public policy, economics, statistics, as well as public health.   We will examine where data for policy comes from, how data becomes controversial, and if there is ‘truth’. We will also look at how data from clinical vs population settings is used differently. And finally, why doesn’t data inform policy more often? How can future leaders do better?

Psychology 190FS — Addiction and Substance Abuse: Global Health Perspectives (NS, SS, EI)

Amir Rezvani

Amir Rezvani, Professor in Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Professor of Psychology & Neurosciences.

Addiction, as a global social and health issue, is a treatable brain disease. As the third leading cause of death in the U.S., substance abuse is ranked behind cardiovascular disease and cancer in total mortality. Between 25% and 40% of hospital beds are occupied by patients having complications related to alcoholism and substance abuse. When undetected, alcohol and substance abuse lead to major medical and social problems such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and contribute to the occurrence of hypertension, diabetes, GI problems, psychiatric symptoms, violence and fetal anomalies. Alcohol and other forms of drug abuse have far-reaching and devastating effects on children, families, and society, including domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, crime, and workplace injuries.  The cost to society is astronomical.  Approximately 8.7 million people die globally per year from tobacco use alone. Opioid addiction is also a major problem. More than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2019, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.  Overall, drug overdose deaths rose significantly from 2010 to 2020.  It is not surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic also resulted in increased substance abuse, especially among regular drug users.

The major goal of the course is to develop scientific, clinical, and social perspectives on the issue of addiction and substance abuse disorders.  Students will be able to develop a scientific perspective on the etiology of addiction and effects of social factors such as disease pandemic in its manifestation. We will explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on substance abuse and mental health. We will also address the positive and negative aspects of legalization of marijuana. Be ready for an exciting scientific debate. This course will cover the neuropharmacology of addiction, particularly alcoholism. Students will be presented with current disease concepts of addiction, several models of addiction and appropriate intervention and treatment strategies relevant to each model.  Students will visit with the Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA) in Durham, a unique therapeutic community (TC), which is based on principles of self-help and will conduct interviews and interact with recovering residents.  Students will be given the opportunity to hear from several recovering drug addicts coming from different socio-economic and health backgrounds. Students will also get involved in self-designed individual and group projects to better understand the nature of drug addiction and the process of behavioral changes. Possible contributing factors, such as environment, genetics, religion and beliefs socioeconomic status, and mental health in initiation, prevention and treatment of substance abuse and addiction will be discussed.

Faculty Director

Sherryl A Broverman
Sherryl A Broverman
  • Associate Professor of the Practice, Biology and Global Health
BioSci 307B
Campus Box: 
(919) 668-0228