Global Health: Impact of Flows of People, Goods, Knowledge and Technologies on Health and Disease
Full course description
Globalization processes and widespread neoliberal governing principles have induced and enhanced flows of people, goods, knowledge and technology, which go hand in hand with flows of health and disease. The increase in global wealth that neoliberal market strategies have brought is not distributed evenly across the globe. Since wealth and health are intrinsically related, the abovementioned flows create new health inequalities. Indeed, we have seen that in the past decades, in which globalization has come to full fruition, disease patterns have shifted and disease manifestations have changed. For instance, migration of people entails spread of epigenetic predispositions to disease. Climate change causes microorganisms or vectors to spread beyond their usual habitat, facilitating onset of diseases in regions where diseases were not endemic before. Flows of technology change local settings, with consequences for people’s health. As technological advances are not available to all, the divide between those who have access and those who have not, deepens. Migrating diseases or causes of diseases challenge our understanding of disease. For instance, some familial diseases such as sickle cell disease that have spread through migration are often constructed and classified as ‘racial’ disease, whereas evidence shows in this case it is rather the gene-environment interaction that underlies disease manifestation. Most diseases are the resultant of rather complex interactions, between genetic, biological, behavioural, social, political, economic and cultural factors, on the intersection of which individual or population health finds itself. Examining flows of diseases, people, goods, knowledge and technology induced by processes of globalization can deepen our understanding of the complexity of health and disease. In this course, these flows will be studied in depth, bringing insights in (epi) genetic disease distributions as well as spread of information and technology, and migration, all in themselves affecting health and disease. The content of this course draws on several distinct academic disciplines being political economy, anthropology, biomedicine, (epi) genetics and epidemiology.
- To introduce students to the foundations of political economy, neoliberalism and globalization processes and interrelatedness with health
- To provide students with insights in how epigenetic changes are the resultant of an interplay between factors of biological/environmental/behavioural/social/political nature
- To provide students with knowledge of biology/epidemiology/sociology/political economy appropriate to analyze and understand how the interplay between flows of goods, knowledge, people, epigenetic changes, microorganisms and vectors affect health of individuals in communities across the globe.
SCI1009 Introduction to Biology or students with high school experience in biology (see SCI-B. Checklist for Biology in the catalogue) AND at least one of the following courses: SCI2022 Genetics and evolution, SCI2042 Infectious diseases and Global public Health or SSC2046 Globalization and Inequality: Perspectives on Development.
- Labonté, R., & Ruckert, A. (2019). Health Equity in a Globalizing Era: Past Challenges, Future Prospects. Oxford University Press.