February 29, 2008

VUSM set to offer graduate certificate in Global Health

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Vanderbilt’s Kayvon Modjarrad, M.D., with a patient in Zambia. (photo by Paddy Mukando)

VUSM set to offer graduate certificate in Global Health

Starting next fall, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine will offer a Graduate Certificate in Global Health.

The program is designed to meet a growing demand for health professionals who can operate in an increasingly globalized market. The new curriculum also comes in response to rising interest in global health among health professional students.

“There is a national trend of increasing global health awareness and activity among students and professionals alike,” said Kayvon Modjarrad, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow for the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. “Over the past couple of decades, we have seen a five fold increase in overseas experiences among medical students, primarily to resource-limited areas.”

“Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and private firms are seeking individuals who know how to combat disease in areas with minimal infrastructure,” said Julie Lankford, a former USAID contractor who has recently joined the Institute for Global Health. “And interest within all three sectors is being matched by a considerable rise in funding opportunities.”

VUSM joins an expanding number of institutions that offer a formalized training program in global health. The certificate program will comprise 18 credit-hours of coursework and be open to degree-seeking graduate level students and professionals.

All students enrolled will begin with a primer course, “Foundations of Global Health,” which will introduce them to a broad base of public health topics of global reach and importance. Vanderbilt's curriculum is unique among its peer institutions as it will include an interdisciplinary core course series in ethics, informatics and management and will require an eight- to 12-week overseas service or research project.

“The primary objective of the introductory course and the entire curriculum is to help students assess and understand some of the most pressing public health issues of our time in their socio-economic and cultural specific contexts, and to instruct students in the fundamental principles of service, research, planning and management methodology in resource-limited settings,” said Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute For Global Health.

The Global Health Certificate was created with support from the Vanderbilt-Meharry Framework Program for Global Health, an NIH-funded initiative designed to support innovation and integration of existing academic programs in global health within and between the two universities.

For more information, go to www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/medschool/globalhealth.