International Study Exposure – Global Public Health

Course content

Iberoamericana University (IBERO) in Mexico City will be hosting the Global Public Health course during the first 2 weeks of field visit abroad. IBERO has been selected as our host as we have established a research collaboration with this important private university in Latin America. Furthermore, several institutional and site visits including Mexico City and surrounding areas will be part of the course programme. The second half of the course will take place in the state of Chihuahua in northern Mexico. Here our host will be the Autonomous University of Chihuahua. The first week will be spent in the city of Chihuahua with activities at the university as well as site visits in and around the city of Chihuahua. The second and last week of the course programme will be spent in the mountains of Chihuahua among others visiting remote communities of indigenous people.

The purpose of the course is to gain an understanding of the context and causes of the national disease burden and to critically assess and discuss public health strategy, interventions and related health care challenges in the context of socio-economic conditions and changes. The focus will be on primary and secondary prevention strategies of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including life-course exposure and comorbidities. Special focus will be given to health and disease in indigenous people in one of the four weeks.

The visit will strengthen the ability of the course participants to observe, compare and discuss conditions that relate to epidemiology, social medicine and health care systems in a society in fast transition.

Prior to the 4-week field visit in Mexico (beginning early November), course participants will join a 2-week International Summer School in Global Health Challenges with a broad public health focus (August), and a 3-week international pre-departure course (September-October) to some extend overlapping with similar courses of students/health professionals from different countries. The pre-departure course will give an insight into life course risk factors of NCDs including comorbidities, the Danish health system, civil society NGOs, and health policy from municipality to state level in Denmark. The purpose is to ensure a solid public health knowledge before going to Mexico, and to be able to compare the Danish and the Mexican health systems, policies and civil society involvement in the context of the NCD burden in the two countries.


Master of Science in Medicine - compulsory

Learning outcome

The purpose of the course is to enable the student to:

  • identify and describe key non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the context of demography and socio-economic changes
  • identify key life course risk factors for NCDs (environmental, life conditions/style, heredity)
  • analyse the role of the different health insurance providers on health outcomes incl. treatment opportunities (primary and secondary prevention)
  • link different NCDs and infectious diseases (comorbidity) and the consequences for the health system
  • evaluate the complex interactions between NCDs, risk factors for NCDs, the health system, and health insurance options

Institutional and site visits including formal/informal interaction with health staff and patients, lectures, group work sessions, journal clubs incl. presentations.

Course certificate in Clinical Course in Internal Medicine
Course certifictae in Clinical Course in Surgery
Course certificate in Patient Safety and Quality Development
Course certificate in Statistics, Epidemiology and Medical Sociology
The students should have completed the Summer Course in Global Health Challenges

The expected expenses for the stay in Mexico are DKK 25.000-30.000

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester at group and individual level. Individual supervision for those choosing candidate thesis based on data from host institution and/or having Department of Public Health at University of Copenhagen supervisor.

Type of assessment
Written assignment, 48 hours
Type of assessment details
Exam based on 2-4 questions weighted. The student will receive one grade equally based on all exam questions.

Maximal length of exam is 10 pages (1 page = 2400 keystrokes) excluding title page, content page, and references.
All aids allowed

Only articles/chapters/Power Point presentations used during the course (Denmark and Mexico) are allowed as references.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Internal examination
Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the grade 12 the student must demonstrate the following abilities:

As medical expert, as collaborator, as manager, as scholar, as health advocate, as communicator and as professional.


  • understand the disease burden of specifically pre-selected diseases (NCDs), risk factors and their context
  • explain basic concepts concerning the association between some NCDs and communicable diseases
  • discuss the international and other contextual factors that influence the Mexican health care system, e.g. the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) membership (currently partly dissolved), double burden of disease challenges, complex health care system
  • explain access and barriers to care for the patient with emphasis on chronic patients
  • assess public health programming and interventions and implementation challenges


  • search and review relevant peer-reviewed literature related to the this specific country’s health care system, disease burden and related interventions, as well as related gaps in literature
  • critically discuss the health systems response to specifically pre-selected chronic and communicable diseases;
  • compare the health care systems of the Nordic countries and Mexico
  • assess quality of care including the relationship between specific interventions, treatment guidelines and clinical practice


  • communicate reflections and analysis concerning prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for specific pre-selected illness conditions or syndromes (primarily NCDs) in oral and written presentations
  • analyse and present observations from institutional visits, class room sessions and lectures in relation to peer-reviewed literature


  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 102
  • Preparation
  • 210,5
  • Project work
  • 52
  • Exam
  • 48
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Seven weeks – three in Denmark, four abroad
For students of the Master of Science in Medicine at Copenhagen University, a maximum of 20 participants.
The course is only offered in autumn semesters.
The Study Board for Medicine and Health Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Public Health
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Dirk Lund Christensen   (6-777c857e7f765386888177417e8841777e)
Saved on the 11-04-2024

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