The Second Year Student Selected Component:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Global Health

Tanzania Malaria Poster

Developed to engage students in international health issues, this is an interesting and fun SSC that takes place over 8 weeks in term one. During this time, there will be a mixture of formal teaching and self-directed learning towards specific objectives and tasks set throughout the duration of the course. The teaching is delivered by expert speakers and tutors whose backgrounds range from academia and policy making to clinical practice and campaigning.

The course is appropriate for students who have a desire to work overseas at some stage in their career as well as those who are looking for a greater understanding of health issues around the globe. The course is assessed by attendance, a poster presentation and short essay.


Both the determinants of health and the organisation of healthcare are increasingly being considered within a global rather than national context.

Whether medicine is practiced in the UK or overseas, populations served by health systems are now more diverse and their needs more complex than ever before. This SSC aims to provide an overview of global processes involved in health and healthcare as well as provide the opportunity to explore associated issues not covered in the core medical curriculum.


  • To develop students' understanding of the importance of considering health on a global as well as national scale
  • To assist students to understand broad global processes such as trade, aid and debt, national factors such as the relationship between the state and health and the role of health systems, and local issues such as culture and decentralisation of health care, on health
  • To introduce students to global governance structures in order to understand how development is "done" by key actors such as international organisations, national governments and Non-Governmental Organisations
  • To help students to understand the causes and consequences of health inequalities within as well as between countries

Examples of sessions:

  • What is global health?
  • Discourses of development
  • What impact do the issues of trade, aid and debt have on global development?
  • What is the relationship between industrialisation, development and health?
  • How can we examine culture in the context of health provision?
  • Why has international collective action on climate change proved so difficult to achieve?
  • What are some of the challenges faced by doctors working overseas?

For information please contact the Course Director, Chris Willott