New Discoveries Through Global Study

Published on 26 May 2022

As the world continues to become more interconnected, the need to provide students with diverse health care experiences and perspectives has become more important than ever before. The skills and knowledge gained from these experiences play an invaluable role in equipping today’s health care providers with the tools they need to make a difference in the lives of patients at home and across the globe.

Hoping to expand their overall perspectives and diversify their career opportunities, P2 students Lauren Freels, B.S. ’21, and Abigail Herman, B.S. ’21, began coursework in University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis’ new Global Health Certificate Programs earlier this fall. In their experience so far, they have each discovered a new realm of possibilities for their futures.

“I’ve had such a good experience so far, and it has opened up a lot of doors, especially in thinking about future rotations for my P4 year,” Freels said. “I think it is a great program to be involved in, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future.”

The certificate programs expose learners to diverse public and global health issues through a variety of lenses to prepare them for careers in various health care settings and build the abilities and expertise necessary for success.

“The subject of public health is really fascinating, especially during a pandemic,” Herman added. “I thought it would be interesting to take courses that were focused on advocacy and research through that lens.”

Building on the foundation of international and public health education at the institution, the curriculum leverages existing international partnerships to enhance the student experience. Courses are taught by local and international faculty, and assignments are created with real-world use in mind to develop students’ interpersonal skills and the portfolio resources necessary for a successful career after graduation.

“Global health is an interprofessional degree and perspective,” explained Stephanie Lukas, Pharm.D., MPH, interim director of global health and equity education and associate professor of pharmacy administration. “We engage faculty from different backgrounds to give insight and experience from their fields, and then they are able to discuss how their experience relates to pharmacy or other health-sciences focused career opportunities students want to pursue.

“We design our classes and assignments to be work-ready, meaning that students can use them once they get into the real world,” Lukas continued. “We are creating an interprofessional environment here on campus to better prepare all of our students for this work once they begin their careers.”

In the global health and equity program, students can focus on their individual interests and are able to dive deep into subjects that are important to them. For Freels and Herman, having the chance to hear from guest lecturers from across the world has already diversified their perspectives.

“The students get to really guide their own learning in this program,” Freels shared. “In the classes we’ve taken so far, we’ve been able to narrow down the subjects we want to talk about or the research we want to conduct. It feels like a unique approach to learning.”

Small class sizes have allowed Freels and Herman to build strong relationships with faculty inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to course material, they have discussed everything from upcoming events to letters of recommendation and even planning for future pharmacy rotations and careers.

“There is a lot of one-on-one time, so you don’t feel like you get lost in the crowd,” Herman shared. “It creates an interesting class dynamic because you are connecting with professors on a more intimate level. You don’t feel like you are just showing up to listen; you are part of the conversation.”

“There is extensive relationship building between the students and the faculty,” Lukas elaborated. “All of those interactions are opportunities for connection. It’s those interpersonal relationships that make our campus so unique and strong, and these certificate programs really enhance that.”

Mastering Global Health

The growing realm of global health is applicable to endless fields from health care to law to politics and beyond. With the prevalence and persistence of health disparities and inequities across the world, a strong education in combating these issues is more important than ever.

In addition to global health graduate certificates, the University offers a Master of Global Health and Equity. The master’s program equips students with an understanding of emerging global health issues and prepares them to be transdisciplinary thinkers armed to promote social justice and health equity, and influence change.

Learn more about all graduate-level global health programs at uhsp.edu/graduate.


This story was first published in the spring 2022 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

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