The Summer Institute in Global Health comprises of an intensive seminar offered by the Center for Public Health Sciences in conjunction with the Birla Institute of Technology & Science – Pilani (BITS-Pilani), Goa Campus. Course Director: Sonia Suchday, Associate Director: Adebola Adedimeji. Location of the Summer Institute will be at the Birla Institute for Technology & Science (BITS-Pilani), Goa Campus, from June 16-30. The Local Director for the course will be Dr. Suman Kapur. For more information about BITS, please visit their website: http://www.bits-pilani.ac.in/index.aspx.
The Summer Institute will create enhanced awareness among groups of diverse learners about the importance of understanding health in context and that local and global health are intimately connected. Following discussions about globalization and the intimate link between local and global health, didactic seminars will focus on the challenge of research on health in a globalized world, including the challenge of adapting methodology, ethical issues, and the logistic and legal barriers. The course achieves this through didactic and experiential learning, in the classroom and in the field, by engaging diverse interdisciplinary learners and instructors, and enrolling students at different levels of training including graduate and undergraduate in the same classroom seeks to create an awareness of the intimate connection between globalization and health.
Globalization, secondary to industrialization and the enhanced communication pathways, has led to significant cultural, political, economic changes requiring adaptation at an individual and cultural level. This impact is particularly salient among emergent economies where the pace of development has accelerated. This accelerated development has led to unprecedented changes in various traditional sociopolitical and cultural systems. Increased immigration and the growth of democratic values in the west has led to a changing demographic picture in developed societies and consequent changes in sociocultural and political systems. All of these various systemic changes in developing economies and the developed world require individuals and cultures to change and adapt. This change causes stress and requires resources to cope.
The course will use India as a unique example which poses a daunting public health challenge to the world as a developing country which is an emergent economic and political power. The heterogeneity of its people, cultures, and a democratic philosophy with its emphasis on individual freedom of choice makes the task of understanding its people particularly intricate. The challenge is salient when it comes to health. India has a long history of a mind-body perspective on health through its traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda. Hence, cultural and spiritual values are intricately entwined with health and well-being.
The picture of Indian health is further complicated by the impact of globalization. Along with China, India represents a significant proportion of the world population. Both India and China are also developing countries, which are emerging as nascent global economic powers. Globalization has caused an accelerated pace of development placing a demand on the culture to rapidly adapt to a fast-changing economy which brings with it a unique set of cultural and social norms which are an amalgam of the old and the new. This combination of the old and the new often leads to tension between the values of the two systems when they are not in harmony with each other.
Participants will interact with students from a premier institute in India in a two-week unique workshop which will be followed by a presentation of ideas of cultural and behavioral influences on health by participants from both countries.