HAR675: Critical Reflections in Global Health

The Critical Reflections in Global Health module is led by Brian Rice. It runs in the Autumn semester and is worth 15 credits.


The Key Issues in Global Public Health module is led by Brian Rice. It runs in the Autumn semester and is worth 15 credits.

It is one of the modules on:

  • European Masters Programme in Public Health (core)
  • Master of Public Health (Health Services Research) (core)
  • Master of Public Health (Management and Leadership) (option)
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) (core)

This module is available as a CPD option

This module is available faculty-wide in any year as a DDP module


Global health has been described as the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organised efforts of society, with the goal being the attainment of biological, physical, and mental well-being of all members of society. In this module, we take an interdisciplinary approach to explore these themes.

Aligned with the themes of our key reader (7th edition of the Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health) we will consider some of the key concepts of global health, explore some of the determinants of health, and consider some of the key functions and methods applied to address global health issues. We will then reflect on these themes in relation to the practice of global health through the lens of specific health challenges. Throughout the module themes such as inequalities in health, complexities in our response, and the political, social, and economic context within which we work will be repeatedly raised and discussed. 

In delivering this module we are excited to have secured the expertise of regional, national, and international leaders and experts who will share their learnings on a diverse range of subjects that include socioeconomic and health inequalities, health intelligence, and sexual and reproductive health. In relation to the sharing of experiences and expertise, and in stimulating engaged discussion, throughout the module, you will be encouraged to develop and use a reflective learning approach to consider shifts in your perception and understanding of the issues raised.


This module aims to introduce contemporary and historical global health discourses, policies and practices relating to health challenges in the national, regional and global context. Adopting the concept of “Think global, act local” the module aims to explore the scope and concerns of public health, the determinants of health, and the key functions, methods, processes and stakeholders active in the global health space.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, a candidate will be able to:

  • Explore theoretical and real-world examples of global health issues and responses, and reflect on shifts in your perception and understanding relating to these
  • Critically assess the economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental determinants of health and their interconnectedness
  • Critique the assumption that the attainment of the biological, physical, and mental well-being of all members of society is achievable
  • Discuss the processes and procedures by which the global health agenda is shaped, including critiques associated with “bottom-up” and “top-down” approaches
  • Debate the merits, demerits and complexities of local, national and global responses to improving health, and deliberate on the need for inter-disciplinary approaches

Teaching methods

In this module, you will be introduced not only to the concepts and processes that underpin global health discourses, policies and practices but also hear from key stakeholders who will share their experiences and thoughts and with whom you will have the opportunity to engage.

We will take an interdisciplinary teaching approach. Through lectures, tutorials, and discussions we will explore both theoretical and real-world examples of global health challenges and responses, not only as informed by the literature base but through the shared experiences of those leading the sessions as well as the student body. 

All sessions will provide opportunities for discussion and sharing experiences, ideas and questions. Each session will also include recommendations for further reading and independent study. Independent work is critical (150 hours for 15 credits in principle).

The module will encourage the development and use of critical thinking and reflective learning – these essential skills in global health will be of great benefit when undertaking the assignments.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback, outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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