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Interdisciplinary Health Studies (BSIHS and Global Health)

This guide is designed to support the programs specific to global and international health.


The purCHSP logo "this is where everything connects"pose of this guide is to highlight and connect you to a variety of resources that will help you with your work here at Ohio University. If you have any questions or comments then you can email Hanna Schmillen at or visit our Get Help library page.

Defining Public, Global, & International Health

Table below generated from:Koplan, J. P., Bond, T. C., Merson, M. H., Reddy, K. S., Rodriguez, M. H., Sewankambo, N. K., & Wasserheit, J. N. (2009). Towards a common definition of global health. The Lancet, 373(9679), 1993–1995.

Attribute Global Health International Health Public Health
Geographical reach Focuses on issues that directly or indirectly affect health but that can transcend national boundaries Focuses on health issues of countries other than one’s own, especially those of low-income and middle-income Focuses on issues that affect the health of the population of a particular community or country
Level of cooperation Development and implementation of solutions often requires global cooperation Development and implementation of solutions usually requires binational cooperation Development and implementation of solutions does not usually require global cooperation
Individuals or
Embraces both prevention in populations and clinical
care of individuals
Embraces both prevention in populations and clinical care of individuals Mainly focused on prevention programmes for populations
Access to health Health equity among nations and for all people is a major objective Seeks to help people of other nations Health equity within a nation or community is a major objective
Range of disciplines Highly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary within
and beyond health sciences
Embraces a few disciplines but has not
emphasised multidisciplinarity

Encourages multidisciplinary approaches, particularly within
health sciences and with social sciences


Do you agree? Others do not believe that these fields can be separated in such a way.

"Global health and public health are indistinguishable. Both view health in terms of physical, mental, and social well-being, rather than merely the absence of disease. Both emphasize population-level policies, as well as individual approaches to health promotion. And both address the root causes of ill-health through a broad array of scientific, social, cultural, and economic strategies." (Fried, et al, 2010)

Fried, L. P., Bentley, M. E., Buekens, P., Burke, D. S., Frenk, J. J., Klag, M. J., & Spencer, H. C. (2010). Global health is public health. The Lancet, 375(9714), 535–537.

"While global-as-worldwide and global-as-transcending-national-boundaries are misleading and produce redundancy with public and international health, global-as-supraterritorial provides ‘new’ objects for research, education and practice while avoiding redundancy. Linked with ‘health’ as a human right, this concept preserves the rhetorical power of the term ‘global health’ for more innovative forms of study, research and practice. The dialectic approach reveals that the contradictions involved in the different notions of the term ‘global’ are only of apparent nature and not exclusive, but have to be seen as complementary to each other if expected to be useful in the final step." (Bozorgmehr, 2010)

Bozorgmehr, K. (2010). Rethinking the “global” in global health: a dialectic approach. Globalization and Health, 6(1), 19.