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MED 54Q: Decolonizing Global Health

Meet the Instructor

Course Description

In this seminar, we will look at how global health discourse has changed over the years, and discuss possible future directions for global health exchanges.

This course will introduce students to the various definitions of global health from colonial times, through international health, tropical medicine and now global health. We will consider what moral imperative leads to global health work, and how conventional thought about the relationships between providers, patients and systems in the global North and South is shifting.

Global health has transitioned through various stages. In the 1800s, missionary doctors provided medical care while also spreading religion and colonial interests. During the twentieth century, great strides were made in sanitation and infectious disease treatment as part of systems and government based “international health” and “tropical medicine.” Paradoxically, in the last two decades, as the world becomes more intertwined, “global health” has generally involved shorter term encounters, usually with specialists at the vanguard. With the epidemiological transition and increasing communicable disease prevalence in developing countries, systems strengthening and capacity building are the main priorities. It is argued that the current global health infrastructure does not focus on building long term partnerships, or assign equitable worth to participants from the global North and South. We will investigate how effective our current efforts are, and think critically about the meaning of “decolonizing global health” as regards population outcomes and the flow of resources.

We will review each of these stages in global health development, and use examples of long-term partnerships that have yielded considerable success, such as Partners in Health (PIH) and Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH). Guest speakers from primary care fields and with global health backgrounds will stimulate further dialogue and speak from their experiences on the front lines.

Meet the Instructor

Takudzwa Shumba

Takudzwa Shumba

"I am a family medicine doctor, who delights in care of the entire family, with particular interests in preventative medicine, women's health, pediatrics and global health.

"I was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and moved to the US for my college education. I studied Biology at Yale, but my interest in making a difference in the health of others steered me away from bench work. I did projects in international public health work, and obtained a Master’s in Public Health focusing on Global Health. I came to Stanford for medical school, and have been here since. I have been involved in public health projects in Zimbabwe, Hong Kong and mainland China. I currently spend part of the year caring for patients and involved in medical education in Kenya. As an African doctor trained in the US, I frequently think about the flow of power and resources, and how we can work towards achieving global health equity and working towards better health throughout the globe.

"In my spare time, I am a voracious reader, amateur runner/ Marathon weekend warrior and enjoy knitting and designing ways to keep my cacti alive during rainy winters."

Learn more about Takudzwa Shumba

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