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Global Health Program Unites Disciplines

Summer Hawkins and Melissa Sutherland
Global Public Health program faculty members Summer Hawkins, left, and Melissa Sutherland. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

DECEMBER 16, 2014

In an increasingly global society, where health problems – and their potential solutions – often have implications far beyond the communities in which they occur, public health is fast becoming a field of great interest among colleges and universities. Boston College is a leader in training this new generation of internationally-minded problem solvers through its program in Global Public Health, offering undergraduates interdisciplinary coursework via a collaboration between the Lynch School of Education, Connell School of Nursing, and School of Social Work.

This semester, 67 students have been enjoying the unique opportunity to take a course team-taught by Social Work Assistant Professor Summer Hawkins and Nursing Assistant Professor Melissa Sutherland.

Public Health in a Global Society, the first installment in a three-course sequence, presents the topic as an interdisciplinary science focused on health promotion and disease prevention. Students are encouraged to contemplate the world through a different lens: to go beyond an understanding of providing services to individuals, and think about health on a population-level basis. Students hear lectures on theory, work on case studies, are taught to conduct research, and apply their data to real-life problems.

Hawkins and Sutherland are basing their unique course paradigm on current social issues. This semester they've addressed the recent handling of ebola cases in the United States, looking at its potential impact from the perspective of a college campus like BC and, at the same time, a global community intent on addressing health outcomes.  Read more about Summer Hawkins' collaboration in the Global Health Program in the Boston College Chronicle »

Watch a video produced by the students in the course, Public Health in a Global Society »