About the Global Public Health Minor

A young man sits on a laden delivery bicycle gazing out at a turquoise sea.

Global Public Health (GPH) is an interdisciplinary field of study focusing on big issues facing the world community that will require insight and problem-solving leadership from future generations. Coursework in the minor emphasizes a global perspective on issues of public health policy and science and applications to transnational and local (including tribal) situations and challenges. Approved by the Board of Regents in March 2012, the GPH minor takes advantage of existing faculty expertise and courses to offer an interdisciplinary experience for interested undergraduate students. From a remarkable cross-campus team of highly qualified instructors, University of Montana students will learn about such transnationally interconnected challenges to public health as parasitic and vector-borne diseases, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, tuberculosis, climate-change impacts, trauma and violence, cancer prevention, obesity, maternal and child illnesses, nutrition, and the role of indigenous healers. The 21-credit curriculum is structured to ensure that students develop enduring understanding of determinants of illness, healing, and health from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The curriculum also treats transnational, cultural, and ethical diversity and the interplay of biological, genetic, environmental, and societal forces that underlie individual and population health and illness, global health governance, and health policy within a cross-cutting exploration of ways to promote healthy behaviors and health equity. Core faculty will explore public-health issues utilizing insights available from disciplinary approaches that include epidemiology, anthropology, biology, political science, community-health planning, communication studies, and ethics.

Students who pursue the Global Public Health minor will become more informed and engaged citizens and will enhance their major field of study by preparing for a broad range of professions and graduate programs where they can promote global, local, and tribal public-health knowledge, research, and practice. A GPH minor opens transnational career pathways in well-funded global health projects for graduates who have expertise in business, law, economics, community health, social work, pharmacy, nursing, environmental sciences, and the natural sciences. Some graduates will advocate for the health-care needs of distant disadvantaged populations through service in the Peace Corps, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), public-health departments, disease-control centers, foundations, and international organizations. Others will utilize their awareness of global health issues to inform careers in research, health education and management, international economics, medicine, international business, immigrant health, philanthropy, diplomacy, public policy, and international public service.

Mission And Goals Statement

The minor in GPH aims to advance the mission of The University of Montana with its international and interdisciplinary emphasis and its focus on educating graduates who will serve the Missoula community, the state of Montana and its tribal reservations, the region, the nation, and the world through their academic preparation and ethical commitment to advancing human health. The global public health minor's curriculum incorporates “big ideas” that involve global issues and, therefore, advances the University’s strategic objectives embodied in its core theme of “education for the global century” by promoting “global engagement and leadership at the baccalaureate level” through exposure to “grand challenges that we face as a world society” (UM Strategic Plan 2012-2020). Students who pursue the Global Public Health minor become more informed and engaged citizens and enhance their major field of study by preparing for a broad range of professions and graduate programs where they can promote global, local, and tribal public-health knowledge, research, and practice. The interdisciplinary minor enriches the education each student receives and provides opportunities to advance students' knowledge of the critical contemporary and future transnational questions of health policy and science and to develop skills in interacting within a diverse population, illness, and professional environment. The GPH minor aims to meet the needs of undergraduate students seeking to learn more about careers in global health, the needs of a world confronted by the increasingly complex public-health challenges, and the needs of a workforce committed to resolving these issues. These goals are advanced by a curriculum that promotes deeper transnational connectedness and increased international opportunities for students along with a growing awareness of the scientific challenges and inequities in disease burden and health promotion observed among and within industrialized countries, most low- and middle-income countries, and our tribal-reservation communities.