Designing Innovation for Global Health (PubPol 642S

  • Taught during Spring Semester

In this age of globalization, the expectations of life-saving technologies cross borders readily, but the introduction and adaptation of these technologies in resource-limited settings often lag behind. While we often think of technologies such as AIDS drugs, there are many appropriate technologies that are potentially transformative for improving local health–making water potable, cookstoves more efficient and less polluting, and diagnostics more available in local clinics. Behind each of these technologies, there are innovators, sometimes publicly funded researchers, other times private companies, often social entrepreneurs. In this course, students will critically examine the policy and philanthropic landscape behind these areas of appropriate technology. Beyond the engineering of these technologies, what is the social engineering of policies that minimize inequity? For example, is potable water best tackled with an innovation that serves the needs of an individual (e.g., Life Straw), a group (e.g., solar disinfectant system), or an entire community (e.g., chlorination of a local reservoir). Through the lens of these technologies, students will consider what factors help enable local innovation, from intellectual and financial capital to end-user input and systems for sharing and owning knowledge. What forms of philanthropy—from microcredit and giving circles to donor aid—work best to foster local innovation and to build local capacity? What are the ethical issues involved in introducing technologies, from double standards in quality to donor-recipient relationships? This course seeks to prepare those engaged in such work to consider the policy ramifications of designing innovation for global health.

Health Policy in a Globalizing World (PubPol 860)

  • Taught in Geneva as part of the Global Health Fellows Program

A track within the Duke Program on Global Policy & Governance
This course provides an overview of the forces of globalization shaping health in our world, with particular emphasis on issues of innovation and access to health technologies. The course modules cover issues of cross-border challenges in global health and the disparities that arise from asymmetries in globalizing public goods like medicines and public bads like tobacco; the implications of trade rules and intellectual property regimes on public health; and the architecture of global health governance. Through seminars and site visits, participants will gain an appreciation of the context and policy levers affecting health in a globalizing world.The course draws lessons from different challenges in globalization and health equity, and in so doing, provides a clearer vision of how exemplars in one area might inform approaches in others. From year to year, the course offering varies, often highlighting current policy issues. In the past, course participants have heard from senior officials from a wide range of Geneva-based organizations engaged in global health, from the WHO’s Tobacco-Free Initiative and World Alliance for Patient Safety to the Polio Eradication Initiative and the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. Course participants also pay site visits to nine to ten different organizations. Past site visits have included the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Médecins sans Frontières, and UNAIDS.