Colgate University Offers New Minor in Global Public and Environmental Health

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Colgate University has announced a new interdisciplinary minor, global public and environmental health (GPEH), as part of its academic curriculum, beginning in the fall 2021 semester.

Associate Professor of Biology Bineyam Taye will serve as inaugural faculty director of the GPEH minor, which will help students understand interdisciplinary perspectives on health issues, as well as foster thinking, speaking, and writing skills needed to address those complex issues.

The program combines approaches from multiple academic divisions, including the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. It emphasizes active engagement with communities and with issues of diversity to build student experience and tools for addressing relevant concerns.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the GPEH program brings together students and faculty from diverse disciplines to explore the most complex health-related problems in a global context through the liberal arts education philosophy,” Taye says.

While directing the program, Taye will also co-teach the new course Introduction to Global Public and Environmental Health — one of the minor’s six required courses — alongside Rebecca Upton, A. Lindsay O’Connor Chair of American institutions in sociology and anthropology and Africana and Latin American studies.

In taking Introduction to Global Public and Environmental Health, students will be introduced to global health topics including infectious and chronic diseases; maternal and child health; immigrant and refugee health; the relationship between political and cultural processes and health; and factors contributing to disparate health outcomes in population groups, as well as how to measure those outcomes. The course is divided into two parts, the first half focusing on the causes and spread of disease and the second half examining critical global public health concerns in the context of history and cultures.

Other than the common introductory course, students will have to take five other courses from currently supported curricula to fulfill the six-credit requirement of the GPEH minor. Out of the remaining five credits, one course will be required from methodological perspectives, and one course each will be required from at least three of the four “Perspectives” disciplinary groups (scientific, environmental, social, and/or humanities). 

“A new minor in global public and environmental health,” says Provost and Dean of the Faculty Tracey Hucks ’87, MA’90, “is yet another way that Colgate — in its third century — seeks to advance excellence, rigor, and innovation across the academic curriculum.”