Global Health in Local Contexts

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Global Health in Local Contexts: A Transnational Experiential Course on the Social Determinants, Health Equity, and Leading Change immerses students in the study of health equity, the social determinants of health, the practice of global health in a local setting, and community-based healthcare.

This course uses an inter-professional and experiential model. The course, which takes place on Thursday mornings, is "classroom-less" and entirely held in community settings, such as Frogtown Farm, the UMN Community-University Health Care Clinic, and Bdote/Fort Snelling State Park.

Students will also engage in collaborative learning with peers in Uganda and Haiti who will be engaged in parallel, geographically-based courses. Take a peek inside the structure of the course:

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"I learned so much from my peers in Uganda and Haiti. Time learning with and from them are the invaluable moments that led me to sign up for this class—a new, more complex way to think about health... I'll never think about wellness or illness the same way again because of what my international peers shared."

Delaine Teabout Thomas, School of Public Health Student



Global Health in a Local Context Instructors

  • Lead Instructor: 
    • Michael Westerhaus - Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Medical School; Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health; HealthPartners Center for International Health; Leadership Committe of EqualHealth
  • Co-Instructors:
    • Jennifer Hines - Medical Director, HealthPartners Midway and Center for International Health Clinics
    • Amy Finnegan - Chair, Justice and Peace Studies, University of St. Thomas; Leadership Committe of EqualHealth
    • Aarti Bhatt - Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Medical School Division of General Internal Medicine



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"The multi-disciplinary nature of the course forced me to think outside of my own boundaries... It made me more committed to building health equity in every aspect of what I do. This was the best class I have taken ever."

Anonymous School of Public Health student



Discover How to Apply

Applications for this course open each year in April. Students must apply to the program before they are given permission to register for GHSR 6713. Interested students and participants can join this mailing list to receive program updates as they are available. 

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  • Open to all UMN graduate and professional students (post-baccalaureate).
  • The course is also open to members of the Twin Cities community with interest and experience in health-related careers.
  • All participants must apply, and have instructor approval, before they will be able to register. 

Credit & Requirements

Credit & Requirements

This program has both academic credit and non-credit registration options. 

Academic Credit

Academic credit is available to graduate students (3 credits) for the course GHSR 6713. This course was run in previous years as PUBH 6713.

It is up to the student to confer with their academic unit to determine if it meets their specific program requirements.

Students may be allowed to apply this program to other academic requirements per approval by their unit. Options may include:

  • Public Health students: Inform your advisor that this course was previously PUBH 6713. 
  • Dentistry Students: DPD CE Opportunity.  Contact Karin Quick at [email protected] for more information.
  • Pharmacy Students: Course may qualify as pharmacy elective credit when enrolled in the GHSR 6713 course. Contact Prosperity Eneh at [email protected] for details.
  • The course meets the requirement for the Health Equity Minor in the School of Public Health.


Participants who are not in need of academic credit can utilize this option. A Certificate of Completion will be issued for those that complete the requirements.

Medical Students: Medical School credit is not available for this program at this time. However 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Medical Students are welcome as non-credit students. Please discuss implications of fitting this extracurricular program and requirements into your schedule with your faculty advisors. Considerations by year:

  • 2nd year -  Students are still responsible for their required courses. Please be mindful of your semester course and exam schedule with this Thursday morning class schedule.
  • 3rd & 4th year - Students are required to attend their scheduled rotations, so appropriateness depends on schedule. Fourth year students additionally need to consider travel schedule for residency interviews.


All students are expected to miss no more than two class sessions and to complete the the following assignments:

  • Bi-Weekly Journal
  • Creating the Conditions for Health, Safety, and Well-being
  • Transnational partnership discussions and activities

Additionally, students seeking credit must complete additional requirements including a final paper.

Program Fee

Program Fee

  • For non-credit students, the Program Fee is $500. 
  • For students registering for credit, regular tuition rates apply in lieu of program fee.

Dates and Location

Dates and Location

The class is held on Thursday mornings. There are also monthly Saturday morning Zoom sessions with international peers and faculty in Uganda and Haiti who are involved in parallel courses.


  • Weekly Meetings: Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Monthly Saturday meetings: 9:00am to 11:00am on Zoom.
    • Saturday, Sept. 9
    • Saturday, Oct. 14
    • Saturday, Nov. 11
    • Saturday, Dec. 9
    • Immersion Day: Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The course is "classroom-less" and entirely held in community settings, such as Frogtown Farm, the UMN Community-University Health Care Clinic, Bdote/Fort Snelling State Park, and theatrical performance spaces throughout the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.



Applications for the fall 2023 course are still open! New applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis until September 6. Fill out an online application

Each year, applications are open starting in April for the fall semester course. Initial application review begins in June. If the course is not full by that time, additional applications will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. 

Course enrollment is limited to 30 participants, with up to 15 spots reserved for community learners. Students taking the course for credit must first fill out an application. Following review, they will be given permission to register in OneStop. 

Application Process

  1. Fill out an online application
  2. Initial application review will begin in June, and then continue on a rolling basis.
  3. Once accepted, program staff will provide participants with instructions on how to complete the registration.
  4. If the course is full, applications will remain open until a sufficient wait list is obtained.



Scholarships are available for this course. To apply for a scholarship, complete the "Statement of need" section in your course application. Learn more about our scholarships here.