Drivers of Change in Human Health: Coping with population and environmental dynamics
This course will enable participants to acquire a thorough
knowledge and understanding of population and environmental
dynamics and the relations to planetary health. 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
socio-political determinants on disease dynamics will be
discussed. The focus of attention will be on health hazards, health
determinants, health opportunities and outcomes. 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 and variability on human health.
Topics to be explored include: historical and political developments that act as drivers of change in human health; resilience, a key topic of investigation through exploring the realities and health challenges of predictable and unpredictable disasters 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 research problems. 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.
MSc in Global Health - compulsory
On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
- Describe and discuss historical and political developments that create and sustrain vulnerability in human populations
- 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 planetary health including 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 ecology of pandemics
- The role of health systems responding to climate change through adaptation and mitigation
- Health impact assessment (HIA); vulnerability and risk assessment methods in a climate change context
Earth systems: in particular the role of climate change and environmental factors
- Climate and environmental factors that increase risks to human health or enhance health opportunities
- Climate change mitigation and adapatation actions for safeguarding health
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
- Contribute to team building and team work through joint data analyses and writting tasks in interdisciplinary assignments
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
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 environmental-
and climate change, demographic trends and global health challenges
The teaching methods will include a combination of interactive lectures, video presentations, team exercises, journal clubs, case studies, essay and computer-based (electronic) learning exercises (WIKIs). Using the Absalon platform for upload of learning materials will allow team work for reading, interpreting and discussing selected scientific articles and cases.
For credit transfer students:
If you are applying for the course as a credit transfer student, you must have passed courses in qualitative and quantitative research methodology, for 5 ECTS respectively. Documentation for corresponding competencies in the form of a course description and an exam result must be attached to your application.
Oral feedback will be given to WIKI exercise. Students will receive a collective, written feedback on main observations from the assessment of exam papers.
Open for credit transfer students and other external students. Apply here:
Credit transfer students:
Other external students:
4 slots are allocated for credit transfer students and other external students.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written assignment, 72 hoursThe length of the written take-home assignment must be 7-8 pages (à 2,400 keystrokes).
- 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:
- - on international policy and practice in response to crisis, migration, adaptation, transformative change, and overall resilience
- - on human systems and earth systems linkages and their relationship to human and planetary health
- - 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
- - 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, vulnerabilities and global health challenges
- Theory exercises
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
- Block 2
- 44 participants. 4 slots are allocated for credit transfer students.
- The Study Board for Public Health Science and Global Health
- Department of Public Health
- Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
- Peter Furu
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