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50 Incredible Open Lectures on Global Health


November 10, 2009

Many believe that technology has made the world feel smaller, with a greater sense of community. While this is likely true, there are areas in which the global community is struggling to find solutions for problems. Health care in countries around the world is one such issue. Poverty, lack of education, environmental issues, natural disasters, and terrorism are just a few of the reasons why there are many global health concerns that need addressing. These lectures promise to open your eyes, impart wisdom, and perhaps even inspire you to become involved in creating solutions to global health concerns.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases create a huge impact on the health of people around the world. Find out what is and can be done to help prevent these diseases.

  1. Culture, Politics, and Community: Living Public Health in Nigeria. Professor Bill Brieger lectures on tropical diseases in Nigeria and the social implications of treatment in this class that provides both a video lecture and a PDF file of lecture information. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  2. Malariology. These lectures cover malaria as a public health problem, the biology of malarial parasites, issues surrounding the spread of malaria, and measures to prevent it. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  3. Don Francis’s Mission – Kids and Kids’ Health. Francis tells about his background, how he got started working to develop a vaccine for AIDS, and why he started his own company. [Stanford]
  4. Tropical Environmental Health. Explore water and sanitation issues as they impact public health in developing countries with the information available in these four lectures. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  5. Hepatitis C From A to Z. Learn all about this blood-borne illness with this physician’s lecture. [UC Davis]
  6. Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases. Lectures for the entire semester of this class, which covers epidemiology and case studies of major infectious diseases, are available. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  7. Impact of Pandemic Influenza on Public Health. This six-part slide show presentation covers the make-up of influenza, the differences between seasonal and pandemic influenzas, history and outbreaks, and prevention measures. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  8. Laurie Garrett on lessons from the 1918 flu. This lecture from 2007 looks at the avian flu, past pandemics, and what might happen if a flu pandemic occurs. [TED]
  9. Problem Solving for Immunization Programs. Explore the current state of global immunizations, potential problems with the system, and innovative ideas for the future with these lectures. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  10. Sexual Health, HIV/STI, and Human Rights. This video lecture takes a look at sexual rights, human rights, and issues surrounding finding a balance in the realm of sexual health. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  11. Web 2.0: Risks for STD/HIV – Opportunities for Prevention. Dr. Kees Rietmeijer lectures on the risks and prevention of sexual diseases in light of the current trend of online dating. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]

Health Emergencies and Environmental Health Issues

From earthquakes to tobacco to water and sanitation to the beneficial properties of mushrooms, these lectures cover everything from health emergencies and environmental issues that impact health.

  1. Radiation Terror 101. Learn the basic principles of radiation, safety and protection measures, and information about radiation terror with these three lecture PDF files. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  2. Global Tobacco Control. This series of lectures examines tobacco use and its health and economic implications as well as prevention, control, and surveillance measures for global monitoring of tobacco. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  3. Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response. Get video and audio lectures from this class that features specific public emergencies and how to become prepared to manage emergencies. [UC Berkeley]
  4. Water and Sanitation Needs in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies. This series of audio lectures explores the water and sanitation facilities currently available as well as how these facilities are suited to the needs of people during times of disaster or humanitarian emergencies. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  5. Preparing to work in a crisis. Volunteers or others preparing to go to a region experiencing a health crisis should watch this slide show lecture to understand how best to prepare. [University of Pittsburgh]
  6. Earthquakes 2000 to 2005 From Indonesia to Pakistan. Get statistics and see photos that convey the damage done from earthquakes in Asia.
  7. Biological Agents of Water and Foodborne Bioterrorism. These slide show lectures examine biological agents terrorists could use to poison the water or food supplies. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  8. Paul Stamets on 6 ways mushrooms can save the world. The mycelium fungus can produce antibiotics, treat illnesses, clean polluted soil, and promote the health of forests. Stamets talks about these highly functional and beneficial mushrooms. [TED]
  9. Lead, Health, Environment: Old Problem and New Challenges. Learn about health and environmental problems associated with lead that is introduced into the land and water in this lecture from Mark Pokras from Tufts Veterinary School. [New England Aquarium]


Health and nutrition are integrally connected. These lectures will help you learn how so.

  1. International Nutrition. These lectures cover malnutrition, its causes, and how to combat it while exploring ways these measures can be implemented from the household level through to the international level. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  2. The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?). Assistant Professor of Medicine, Christopher Gardener discusses four diets, whether they are effective for weight loss, and what his research has shown. [Stanford]
  3. Dean Ornish on the world’s killer diet. Learn about the globalization of the American diet and how it is creating a health hazard that is 95% preventable through diet and lifestyle changes–cardiovascular disease. [TED]
  4. Nutrition and Global Health. Find out about nutrition, malnutrition, and solutions to help people around the world. [University of Pittsburgh]
  5. An Edible History of Humanity: Tom Standage. Standage talks about his book that details the history of food as it has shaped humanity from early agriculture in China to the current role of food in society today. []
  6. Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food. Discover a massive seed bank buried deep in a frozen mountain in Norway that serves as a protective storage site guarding against agriculture extinction. [TED]
  7. Greg Page on Global Food and Agriculture Markets. Greg Page, President and CEO of Cargill, discusses global food, agriculture markets, and the interrelatedness of both with society. [Chautauqua Institution]
  8. Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world. Fresco’s lecture details how mass-produced bread can help feed the world while still leaving room for breads baked by traditional methods. [TED]

Health Education

These lectures focus on educating the public or educating those who work with the public on health issues around the world.

  1. Population Change and Public Health. These slides and accompanying audio files explore population studies, the impact of population change on societies, reproductive health, and four programs and policies that address population change issues. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  2. Bill Gates on mosquitos, malaria and education. This entertaining lecture from Bill Gates touches on how philanthropy and education can make changes on global health. He focuses on eradicating malaria, an area in which Gates has invested much time and money. [TED]
  3. Entertainment Education for Public Health. Five written lectures are available here that discuss ways education on health issues can be incorporated into entertainment to create positive behavioral changes in both developing countries and local environments. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  4. Training Methods and Continuing Education for Health Workers. This series of lecture notes covers ways to determine what training and continuing education is necessary as well as how to implement this education for both professionals and village volunteers. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  5. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen. In this entertaining lecture, Rosling talks about statistics of the developing world, including family size and life expectancy, and works to dispel common misconceptions about the people who live in these countries. [TED]
  6. Refugee Health Care. Learn about the specific issues that surround refugees, including both mental and physical health problems, in this series of lectures. [Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health]
  7. Health Care Delivery. Concepts and Issues. This slide presentation lecture provides a great overview of what a health care delivery system is and issues facing countries struggling with health care delivery. [University of Pittsburgh]
  8. Using the Media to Develop Public communication Campaigns. The media can be an effective way of communicating public health messages, but it is important to enter into this endeavor with thoughtful foresight. This lecture discusses what you should consider. [University of Pittsburgh]
  9. Global Health Crises and Child Survival. This panel of experts discusses growing health crises and the effects on children’s survival rates around the world. [National Press Foundation]

Addressing Global Health Issues and Policy

From the role of entrepreneurs in shaping global health policies to understanding the current state and future potential for global health care, these lectures discuss policy issues that are relevant to ensuring good health for all.

  1. Wheel Chair Design in Developing Countries. These videos demonstrate how workshops in Africa manufacture wheelchairs that are specifically designed for the social and environmental needs of their countries. [MIT]
  2. Ernest Madu on world-class health care. Dr. Madu lectures on how to offer top-notch health care in developing countries based on his experience at the Heart Institute of the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica. [TED]
  3. Audio Podcast: The Role of Entrepreneurship in Solving World Problems. With a special focus on developing nations, several industry leaders discuss the role the must play in health and environmental issues. [Stanford]
  4. Social Entrepreneurship in Medical Care. Tarun Khanna discusses the power entrepreneurs have to implement social changes in the medical field. He uses an example of a cardiac hospital in India to illustrate his point. [Stanford]
  5. Josh Silver demos adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses. Learn about a low-cost solution for providing vision correction and how Josh Silver plans to distribute these eyeglasses to billions by 2020. [TED]
  6. A New Breed of Entrepreneur. Google’s Executive Director Larry Brilliant discusses the role of this new breed of entrepreneur as a leader in helping solve world health problems through the use of science and philanthropy. [Stanford]
  7. Emily Oster flips our thinking on AIDS in Africa. This eye-opening lecture looks at the AIDS epidemic in Africa using the tools of an economist and explores ways policy can be shaped based on this new way of looking at the problem. [TED]
  8. The Future of Global Health. This slide show lecture explores several aspects of global health and projects what may become of the future of global health. [University of Pittsburgh]
  9. Human Rights and Globalization. Mary Robinson, the former United Nations high commissioner of human rights and president of Ireland, speaks on the basic human rights–including food, safe water, and health–and the effects of globalization on these rights. [University of Oregon]
  10. Global Health Equity and the Future of Public Health. Paul Farmer lectures about the future of public health as he sees it from his experience raising the standard of health care around the world. [Wellesley College]
  11. State of the World’s Children. Despite the global community’s commitment to ensuring the health and safety of children, there are still numerous instances of children left in dangerous situations. Find out what can and is being done. [Public Broadcasting Atlanta]
  12. Bill Clinton on rebuilding Rwanda. Clinton talks about bringing health care to Rwanda and other countries around the world. [TED]
  13. Marc Koska: 1.3m reasons to re-invent the syringe. Discussing the growing global problem of unsafe syringe reusage, Marc Koska also describes his work in creating a syringe that can only be used one time. [TED]