Drivers of Change in Human Health: Coping with population and environmental dynamics

Course content

This course will enable participants to acquire a thorough knowledge and understanding of population and environmental dynamics across the globe. Small and large-scale migrations of different types (forced, voluntary, and semi-voluntary) and modalities of resettlement will be examined using appropriate demographic models and tools. Demographic trends will be interpreted through quantitative and qualitative narratives. The influence of environmental, ecological and sociopolitical parameters on disease dynamics will be discussed. The focus of attention will be on health, social systems, environmental interactions and sub-systems nested within larger “Complex Adaptive Systems” (CAS) that form the backbone of health dynamics. Course participants will be familiarized with complexity theory as it applies to population dynamics: migration, health, crisis, and transformative change in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the linkages between "Human systems and "Earth systems" will be discussed with particular attention to impacts of climate change on human health.

Topics to be explored include: resilience, a key topic of investigation through exploring the realities and health challenges of predictable and unpredictable catastrophes associated with climate change, rising sea levels, and loss of arable and/or habitable land causing economic and social vulnerabilities; and armed conflict arising from natural resource exploitations.  Course participants will be trained to identify interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to framing, defining, and evaluating key concepts and formulating research questions. This course is designed to provide the participants knowledge and skills that are synergistic with the other courses offered during the first year in preparation for the participants’ direct involvement in research, be it field-based or through library-based desk study.

Education

MSc Programme in Global Health - compulsory

Learning outcome

Knowledge/comprehension

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Describe and discuss international policy and practice in response to crisis, migration, adaptation, transformative change, and in building resilience.
  • Understand human systems and earth systems linkages and their relationship to human health

 

More specifically the student will gain knowledge on:

Human and social systems: in particular population dynamics and health

  • The basic metrics, trends, determinants and consequences of demography  as related to health in different situations – demography as a tool for situation analysis
  • Interrelationship between policy and demographics
  • Classification of climate change related health impacts into major impact areas
  • Climate change vulnerable regions and population groups
  • The role of health systems in response to climate change
  • Health impact assessment (HIA), remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) used for disease mapping in a climate change context

 

Earth systems: in particular the role of climate change and environmental factors

  • Climate factors that increase risks to human health or enhance health opportunities

 

Skills

On completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Employ analytical skills using the tools of demography, anthropology, sociology, and epidemiology to assess case studies and scenarios that call for inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral ways of problem solving.

 

More specifically the student will be able to:

  • Access, analyze and present data from major sources, and applying a critical view of the data quality, and adapting to specific country situations

 

Competencies

On completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast empirical evidence on some human and earth system drivers of global health change, the interrelationships between population dynamics, climate change and health, and variable patterns of infectious and non-communicable diseases of global significance.
  • Use gained knowledge and skills as input to assess case studies and scenarios that call for interdiscliplinary ways of analysis and problem solving
  • Recognize and explain the interaction between climate change, demographic trends and global health challenges
     

The teaching methods will include a combination of interactive lectures, group exercises, case studies, essay and computer-based (electronic) learning exercises (WIKIs). Using the Absalon platform or similar for upload of learning materials will allow team work for reading, interpreting and discussing selected scientific articles and cases.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, 48 hours
The length of the written take-home assignment must be 6-8 pages (à 2,400 keystrokes).
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
More than one internal examiner
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the maximum grade of 12, the student must be able to demonstrate:

Knowledge

  • - on international policy and practice in response to crisis, migration, adaptation, transformative change, and overall resilience.
  • - human systems and earth systems linkages and their relationship to human health

 

Skills

  • - on using the tools of demography, anthropology, sociology, and epidemiology to analytically assess case studies and scenarios that call for interdisciplinary ways of problem solving.


Competencies

  • - in comparing and contrasting empirical evidence on the health and demographic ramifications of urbanization, climate change, ageing, and emerging patterns of infectious and non-communicable diseases of global significance.
  • - in using gained knowledge and skills as input to assessing case studies and scenarios that call for interdiscliplinary ways of analysis and problem solving
  • - for the recognition and explanation of interactions between climate change, demographic trends and global health challenges
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 32
  • Theory exercises
  • 22
  • Exam
  • 18
  • Preparation
  • 134
  • English
  • 206