What Does Global Health Mean? What Does Global Health Mean?

Global Health

Global health is a popular term these days that different people use to mean different things. A popular way of explaining what the term global health means is that it is an area of study, research and practices that place a priority on improving health and health care equity for all populations throughout the globe. Global health is the understanding of health care in a global, or international, and interdisciplinary context. 

While medical disciplines are a primary focus of global health interests it includes many non-medical disciplines such as cultural studies, economics, epidemiology, environmental studies and sciences, physical and social geography, public policy, and sociology,  

Global health issues are wide in range with a focus on problems that are found throughout the globe as well as ones that are a problem in a particular region or area. 

Global health is a discipline that focuses on both physical and mental health improvement, and on reducing disparities of access to affordable and adequate health care.  

Global Health

The discipline of global health has been described as public health’s cosmopolitan cousin because it deals with similar issues and problems that public health workers, academics, and advocates work on but they do so with a global, or worldwide lense. The term global health began appearing in academic journals and publications in the late 1970s and gained popularity in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

Global Health Issues

Global health can focus on specific diseases and health problems but it also can be looked at with different lenses. Some common global health issues include but are not limited to:


A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease across an entire country or the world. (An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.) Examples of pandemics in the past few decades include HIV, influenza, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola, and an unfortunate, many others.

Environmental Factors

Many people fear that climate change and air pollution are going to continue to change at detrimental rates. The global health field is concerned with what kinds of negative impacts these and other environmental factors are going to have on global health in the near and distant future.

Economic Disparities

Even with the many improvements in medicine and medical technology that in theory, could make it possible to combat many of today’s global health threats, many communities throughout the world, including in the U.S., lack access to adequate health care and health education. 


There are many rural  communities that are isolated and far away from other communities. Many of these communities are difficult to get to because of their geography so even when healthcare and medicine might potentially be available to them, they do not have the resources to seek them out. There are many government and non-government agencies that try to help remote communities but many of them are still deficient in their health care and health education.

The above are just a few of the many global health issues that the world is dealing with. 

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