St George’s, University of London
Most recent disease outbreaks requiring the highest level of World Health Organization (WHO) response have occurred in countries with protracted conflict. While immediate support focuses on improving disease detection, distributing medicines, training and protecting health workers, longer term political solutions, policy and investment is often called for to resolve protracted conflicts and repair the weakest health systems.
For people who work within hostile or insecure environments – whether the result of conflict, natural or man-made disasters – the risk of death or serious injury both to communities and aid workers themselves is real and ever-present. Providing care in such environments requires a critical understanding of the situation, and how it constricts and limits what can be achieved safely.
This specialist pathway brings together elements from the fields of medicine, politics, economics, history and international relations. You will enjoy fascinating practical sessions working alongside a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic surgeon who works in conflict zones and resource-constrained settings across the world as far apart as Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Malawi. In 2013, he was called on by the UK government to lead the UK surgical team in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, which resulted in 10,000 deaths and four million people displaced and homeless.
Global health is a fascinating, broad and multidisciplinary field that is underpinned by the desire to improve people’s health worldwide, reduce inequality and protect communities from global threats, such as conflict, economic crises or preventable diseases which, as coronavirus has demonstrated, do not respect national borders.
Core compulsory and elective modules, common to each pathway, will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to understand, interpret and help solve critical global health challenges, and prepare you to conduct a high-calibre research project in your chosen specialism.
Past research projects have covered the full spectrum of the discipline – from a clinical project to examine correlation between COVID and HIV conducted here in the UK, for example, to assessment of mental health care provision in rural South Africa and an analysis of the narratives of women imprisoned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Careers in global health are often divided into clinical and non-clinical with opportunities in both addressing issues of public or global health, or working in leadership, consultancy or research roles in either government or the private sector, as well as national and international agencies, such as WHO, Unicef or Save the Children, for example.
Career options include policy development, advocacy, health systems administration and management, education, research, community outreach, community healthcare planning, infectious disease management, programme planning and evaluation.
Depending on your interests and chosen specialism, you will also be able to target the countries, individuals, initiatives or challenges you feel most passionately about. On completion, you will also be equipped with practical research-based training and skills putting you in a good position to apply for a PhD, which some of our students choose to do.
Students must have the equivalent of a bachelor degree to intercalate a Master’s. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical programme.
Applications typically open in November and close in July. Early applications are recommended.