MSc Global Health review – My top 5 classes of the year.

As the thesis portion of the year comes to an end, and all of our prospective students for the class of ’25 think about starting in August, I thought I’d give you a run down of my top 5 classes in the Global Health course this year. I can’t promise you’ll have the exact same experience – but here’s a taste of what’s common to study in our classes.

Number 5 – Women’s experiences with childbirth & quality of care

Module: Maternal & child health
Lecturer: Tamar Kabakian-Khasholian (American University of Beirut)
When: January

I really enjoyed this class because it’s a topic I find interesting, and because the lecture involved a lot of qualitative and anecdotal evidence which really helped me understand the topic. Whilst some of the results were shocking, such as the experiences of migrant women with giving birth, our lecturer helped us understand the current global health interventions which are aiming to improve quality of care during birth.

Number 4 – Health in disasters & conflict

Module: Non-communicable diseases
Lecturer: Anneli Eriksson (Karolinska Institutet, Médecins Sans Frontières)
When: February

This class was fun because of the interactive afternoon activity (a theme you will see throughout this blog!). In the afternoon, we all took roles as an international agency, working with others to solve a refugee crisis and build a refugee camp in a low-income setting. This was a really interesting insight into the complex challenges that occur in real Global Health work, and was helped by a very knowledgable lecturer who has super interesting experience in the field!

(I’ve written a more in-depth explanation of this class here!)

Photograph by Jeppe Wikström capturing a boat on Stockholm's waters with the city's iconic buildings in the background, part of the SUNNAN Stockholm Discovery.
Stockholm’s Essence: A Boat Ride on SUNNAN with the City’s Skyline in View. Photo by Jeppe Wikström

Number 3 – Global health politics & diplomacy

Module: Introduction to global health
Lecturer: Anders Nordström (Karolinska Institutet, World Health Organisation, former Swedish Ambassador for Global Heath)
When: October

This class wasn’t really a lecture, but more just listening to the experiences and wisdom of an incredibly qualified global health professional. Anders was acting Director-General of the WHO for a period, as well as the Swedish Global Health Ambassador for many years, and it was extremely interesting to hear about his experiences of negotiation and diplomacy in order to achieve better health for the world. In particular, hearing about the difficulties they had in getting UN member countries to agree on the Sustainable Development Goals was a real insight into the political side of global health. For anyone who wants to go into policy work – this was unmissable!

Number 2 – The emergence of NCDs, and health system responses, in low- and middle-income countries

Module: Non-communicable diseases
Lecturer: Nawi Ng (University of Gothenburg)
When: February

I know for certain that our entire class enjoyed this day, run by Professor Nawi Ng, who is one of the most engaging lecturers I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning from! Learning about the rise of non-communicable diseases in LMICs, and how behavioural modification initiatives can be difficult to implement, was really interesting. When combined with the afternoon task of pretending to be different stakeholders both for and against a certain initiative (and passionately arguing it out!), this was a really fun day in which we learned a lot.

Sodermalm at sunset
Slussen at sunset. Photo by Emily Tan.

Number 1 – Neglected infectious diseases

Module: Infectious diseases
Lecturer: Tobias Alfvén (Karolinska Institutet, Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health)
When: December

Again, you can see that I like interactive classes! After learning about some of the most neglected diseases in the world, which are neglected because they usually only affect populations in low-income countries, we split into groups to campaign for funding for different neglected diseases. This was not only a fun activity, but also helped us learn more about these diseases and why it is important that they should receive research funding, and investment in treatment – as many can be prevented!

Hope this gave you a good taste of what Global Health classes are like! Enjoy the summer – especially in Sweden, we’ve earned it!

Emily - Global Health

Emily - Global Health

Hi, I’m Emily! I’m from the UK, the USA and Malaysia, and I’m studying the Master’s in Global Health this year. I’m a medical student in the UK, and hope to work either in Emergency Medicine or Women’s Health, as well as in health policy development and implementation. In my free time, I love playing sports, thrift shopping, hiking and the outdoors, and trying out new cafés (all of which I have heard Stockholm is perfect for!). I’m excited to travel around Scandinavia this year, start some new sports, and explore the shops and cafés in Södermalm.


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