Fall 2020 - HSCI 160 E100

Global Perspectives on Health (3)

Class Number: 5955

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM



An introduction to the differences in health and health services among the nations of the globe. Vulnerable sub-populations worldwide and their special health needs. Mechanisms whereby events in one country can impact health in another. Future worldwide health risks, their economic and health consequences. SARS, avian 'flu,' West Nile virus, 'mad cow disease,' antibiotic resistant malaria or tuberculosis. Dangers to rich and poor nations from ignoring health problems in developing world. Breadth-Social Sciences.


The primary aim of the course is to engage and inspire students about the opportunities and challenges in global health. The course covers issues in global health from many different viewpoints and provides general understanding of factors/dynamics that affect the health of human populations and efforts to improve it.  What is the difference between the health of an individual and the health of a population, vulnerable populations, and global population?  What’s the burden of disease and who shoulders the greatest proportion of it and why? What are the determinants of health, what’s the role of culture, lifestyle, health beliefs, environmental factors, access to health services and other resources?  The course will answer these and many other questions from the global perspective; it will also look at the changing pattern of population health and diseases in the world and will discuss major challenges and emerging issues.


By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Key public health concepts, including: demographic and epidemiological transitions, burden of disease, impact of key health conditions on individuals and communities, and critical issues in health services delivery;
  • The determinants of health and risk factors for diseases and conditions from the global perspective;
  • The burden of disease in various regions of the world and how it varies both within and across countries; health disparities, vulnerable populations;
  • The multi-directional links between health and socio-economic factors,
  • The role of the key actors/organizations in global health and the manner in which they cooperate to address global health issues


  • Online Quizzes 10%
  • Project One - Burden of Disease 25%
  • Project Two - Minister's Report 30%
  • COVID - 19 Letter to the Editor 15%
  • Discussion Group Participation 10%
  • Online Courses 10%


The course website on Canvas will be used intensively both for learning and communication purposes. All course related materials and required readings will be posted under the Modules link for each week. The website also will serve as a platform for distributing announcements, posting useful links, running discussion sections, posting questions, communication with the instructor, etc. Assignments will be posted on Canvas and students are expected to submit their work through the Assignment folder. It is the students’ responsibility to check the course website regularly and obtain up to date information about the course and due dates.

Expectations: Academic integrity and honesty

Please refer to SFU’s Guidelines on Academic Honesty and Student Conduct at:

http://www.sfu.ca/policies/Students/index.html and http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity/

Academic dishonesty is a serious academic offence. Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and note that any form of plagiarism, cheating, or other academic dishonesty will be investigated and are subject to disciplinary action by the University.

You are also responsible for knowing and understanding what plagiarism is. It is explained in this tutorial:


It is highly recommended that all students take this tutorial at the beginning of the semester.

These concerns are particularly important in the context of adapting the course for virtual delivery in the environment of COVID-19 where you will be expected to maintain academic honesty and professional behavior.


Teaching Format and Class Schedule

The COVID-19 pandemic requires virtual teaching in Fall 2020; this will be an on-line course.  A recorded lecture for the next week will be posted at the end of the class each week. Students may review the lecture and read the textbook when it is convenient. Students should post questions and comments about the lecture, readings, and assignments to Discussion in Canvas by Monday night at 12pm each week before the next class. The instructor will schedule a drop-in “virtual” office hour each week during the class time (2:30pm – 4pm), where these questions will be discussed. These “Office Hour” meetings will be scheduled and hosted in Bb Collaborate Ultra in the Canvas shell for the course.

Three “Discussion Groups” will be scheduled on October 7, October 21, and November 4 during regular class time, where the class will be broken out into eight groups of 24 students each led by the Tutorial Assistants and the Instructor. Four groups will meet at 2:30, and four groups will meet at 4:00pm on those days for one hour (subject to change depending on class size). Material for Discussion at each date is listed below:

September 30  Discussion Groups:
  • Jeffrey Sachs Interview
October 28 Discussion Groups:
  • Covid-19 readings
  • Video on Cholera in Haiti
  • Video on Cuba Health Worker Training                      
November 18 Discussion Groups: 
  • Case Studies on Kerala and Peru Birthing

Important: Due Dates 
Assignment due dates are firm. In case of not meeting the due date student should notify the instructor as soon as possible (but at least one week prior to the assignment due date) to request extension or arrange a new deadline. Late submissions will be penalized; the final numeric mark will be lowered by 15%. For example, if the student scored 100 out of 100, but submitted the assignment after the due date, the final mark will be 85.

If students must miss a deadline due to illness, emergency, or other urgent reason, contact the instructor ASAP to discuss it. Alternative arrangements may or may not be made at the instructor’s discretion.


Contacting the Instructor
The best way to contact the instructor is through CANVAS. If you need to contact the Instructor privately through email (joneil@sfu.ca), the subject of your email MUST have HSCI160. Your full name and the student ID should be in your e-mail’s body. Emails lacking the necessary format of the subject line might not be answered on a timely manner. Please make sure you follow these instructions to receive help quickly and efficiently.



Textbook: Richard Skolnik, Global Health 101, Fourth Edition, 2016.

Electronic copies available at SFU Bookstore and https://www.jblearning.com/catalog/productdetails/9781284145380

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).