COVID-19 has exposed underlying and persistent weaknesses in our global health system, while presenting new challenges. Key questions have emerged regarding how health systems function, the nature of the global health system, and the factors that lead to health inequities globally and within countries. This survey course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of health policy and systems, exploring the various policies, actions, organizations, and people focused on promoting, restoring or maintaining health. We will take a global and interdisciplinary perspective, drawing primarily on examples from low- and middle-income countries. The first part of the course will focus on comparative health systems, providing students with the analytic tools to understand and compare core aspects of systems such as health service delivery, financing, workforce and supply chain issues. The second part of the course will delve into how health policy gets made, focusing on the key stakeholders in government, multilateral organizations, industry, philanthropy and other sectors, that shape policy and systems. The final part of the course will explore emerging priorities and key debates in global health, such as sustainability and pandemic preparedness. Throughout the course, we will pay careful attention to contextual factors, such as political, historical and social forces, that influence health inequity. Assessments will include regular reading reflections and quizzes, a class debate, and a term-long group project where students will focus on analyzing health policy and systems in one country. The course would also feature guest lecturers from leading global health experts, particularly scholars based in low- and middle-income countries.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Describe, analyze, and distinguish differences in the structure and functioning of health systems by using key frameworks and concepts
- Explain with examples how economic, political, historical, and institutional factors contributed to the development of health systems in different jurisdictions
- Identify key sustainability challenges at global, national, and local levels of health policy and systems
- Identify and interpret with examples the role of key stakeholders and contextual factors in shaping health policy processes at different jurisdictional levels.
- Apply these skills in an analysis of health systems and policy challenges in a chosen country through a group exercise that has students apply a ‘problems to causes to solutions’ approach.
Term Offered: Term 2 (traditional face-to-face format, with weekly in-person meetings).
Drs. Veena Sriram & Peter Berman
Prison Health aims to educate students from a variety of disciplines to respond to current health
issues within the Canadian correctional system. Through readings, reflective writing, guest presentations
and seminar-style class discussions, students will learn about the complexities of health for people in
prison and will gain understanding and skills in order to apply inter-disciplinary approaches to prison
Term Offered: Term 2
Dr. Amanda Slaunwhite & Dr. Heather Palis