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Development of educational programming in global public health gets underway

Sep 20, 2022 |

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is committed to global engagement, with initiatives such as UBC In Service, a strategy to collaborate with partners around the world to help build a more just, sustainable society. Following the lead, the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) is pleased to support such engagement with the initiation of the planning, consultation and approval process of a new and unique curriculum in Global Health.


In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for the continued development of educational programming in global health at both the graduate and undergraduate level. The Master of Global Health Program is envisioned as an innovative training program that prepares learners to respond to current and emergingissues that impact population health globally – including climate change, health systems, regulatory factors, colonialism, north/south economic inequalities, food security, and anti-immigrant political movements.


“We are delighted to see this proposal moving forward, reflecting the importance of the Faculty of Medicine’s vision of transforming health for everyone,” said Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President of Health.


SPPH is pleased to introduce two highly-skilled professionals who will lead the development of this program.


Dr. Daniel Steel, Associate Professor in SPPH and the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, has been appointed as the inaugural Program Director, Master of Global Public Health, with oversight of the development of the program during his initial term. Dr. Steel earned his PhD from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002 and joined the Centre for Applied Ethics and SPPH in 2015. His work focuses on values and ethics at the crossroads of science, environmental policy, and public health. He is the author of Across the Boundaries: Extrapolation in Biology and Social Science (2008 Oxford University Press), Philosophy and the Precautionary Principle: Science, Evidence and Environmental Policy (2015 Cambridge University Press), as well as numerous articles published in peer reviewed journals. He is the principal investigator of two research projects funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Insight Grant program. The first of these was titled “Distinct Concepts of Diversity and their Ethical-Epistemic Implications for Science” (2017-2020, $73,000), while the second, which is ongoing, is titled “Climate Change and Civilization Collapse” (2022-2027, $220,000).


Lena Kang will be working with Dr. Steel as the Manager of Global Health and Strategic initiatives. Lena comes to SPPH with a Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree and a Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree from UBC. She has nearly 15 years of combined professional and educational experience in health and health-related fields – most recently managing the Governance and Recognition portfolios within the Office of the Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine. Her prior work experiences included development, implementation, and refinement of Faculty-level academic governance administration processes and the FoM awards and recognition program, as well as strategic projects across both portfolios. Lena hopes to support SPPH in the creation of a strong Global Public Health program and in the planning, development, and implementation of new strategic initiatives and ongoing priorities of the School.


“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Steel and Ms. Kang to lead the development of this program,” says School of Population and Public Health Director, Dr. Aslam Anis. “Thanks to the support from UBC President Santa Ono and Dr. Dermot Kelleher, we’re excited to kick-off the program design consultation process this summer with public health colleagues, key stakeholders and global partners across a variety of disciplines on this strategically important initiative for the university.”


The School of Population and Public Health anticipates the first inaugural cohort of students will begin training in 2024.