A Definition of Global Health

Defining global health has been a challenge. This has been especially true in recent years with the increased interest in science, philanthropy, and politics related to global health. In the June 6, 2009 issue of The Lancet, a multidisciplinary and international panel brought together by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), and led by Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, has taken a bold step in offering the world a definition.

The article entitled Towards a Common Definition of Global Health, represents an important step in bringing together the work, “and priorities for action between physicians, researchers, funders, the media, and the general public.” A thoughtful process is outlined considering the origins of global health in the areas of public health and international health.

The attempt is to be broad rather than limiting, and emphasizes multidisciplinary approaches and mutuality, as well as equity and collaboration.

We applaud CUGH for this effort and recommend this article to all CFHI students.  We greatly appreciate that an effort has been made across continents and cultures to find common ground for the advancement of the study and the work of Global Health.

In recent years, at conference after conference, speakers have noted that there is no real agreement on just what is involved in Global Health. This long-awaited work is welcome, especially in its tone –it is not forceful or proprietary but open, inviting, and humble. We hope that it serves as a good starting point for people from all aspects of Global Health to find a workable construct that will be helpful to collaboration in our work and research.

Please go the The Lancet website and find the article.

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