St George’s, University of London
2020 showed us the devastating effect on global health of a new rapidly spread infectious disease and left national health systems struggling to maintain control. The battle against Covid-19 must continue, but so too must international efforts to end the scourge of polio, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, and to avert epidemics of diseases like measles and yellow fever.
Stopping infectious diseases and preparing for epidemics represent two of the 10 most urgent health challenges facing the population over the next decade, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Enhancing the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious disease and conditions linked to immune system function are therefore a top priority for global health.
This specialist pathway explores some of the major causes of human disease, including tuberculosis, influenza and HIV, as well as more focused topics such as emerging infectious agents like Ebola and Zika, or infection during pregnancy, childhood or other special circumstances. You will develop your understanding of the immune system, looking at how our bodies normally protect and respond to infection, as well as the mechanisms used by pathogens to evade the immune response. We will also consider some of the latest updates in vaccine technology and immunotherapy.
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.
Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree but are current medical students who have successfully completed 360 credits (or equivalent) including at least 120 credits at Level 6 (or equivalent) of their medical degree are eligible to apply.
Applications typically open in November and close in July. Early applications are recommended.