Luther College announces launch of new global health program

January 7, 2020

Seeking to improve health for all people worldwide

Beginning in the fall of 2020, Luther College will offer a program to equip students with the knowledge and skills to improve the health and wellness of people worldwide. The new program, global health, is an interdisciplinary field that addresses health, health equity and socioeconomic concerns of people around the world.

            "Global health students are aspiring global citizens interested in learning about the health challenges that people face at home and abroad. They are excited to address these challenges and work to develop a nuanced understanding of these issues," said Maryna Bazylevych, associate professor of anthropology. "If you are genuinely interested in understanding how the disease burden is distributed globally and the reasons behind various trends in population health, this major is for you. If you are interested in doing something about it, this major is also for you."

            Students will be trained to understand the complex interactions among social, political, environmental and cultural forces that shape the health status of populations across the globe. They will be encouraged to understand the implications of inequalities domestically and globally and begin to take steps toward positive change.

Bazylevych is excited about the launch of this program in part because of how well it fits into the interdisciplinary nature of the college and its mission to elevate people, communities and society.

"The work of global health extends well beyond the health science area; it needs students interested in development, whether they're studying political science, anthropology, sociology, religion, social work or economics (just to name a few fields). We envision a highly interdisciplinary program that draws students from an array of interests under the singular vision of improving health and wellness on a global scale," said Bazylevych.

In today's world, there is a growing emphasis on solving global health issues which will require an increase in workers with the appropriate educational background and training. The Committee on the U.S. Commitment to Global Health predicts that the number of participants in global health work will continue to grow, both in governmental and non-governmental organizations.

            After students graduate from Luther with a degree in global health, they will be qualified for careers such as health program coordinators or policy analysts in a variety of domestic and international health organizations. They will also be prepared to pursue a master's degree in public health, global health or another health-related field, and have the option to gain further expertise through a doctoral program.

Along with Bazylevych, the Luther faculty involved in this program include Scott Carlson, professor of biology; Angela Kueny, associate professor of nursing; Jon Lund, the executive director of Luther's Center for Global Learning and international admissions; and Lori Stanley, professor of anthropology.

"Luther's strengths lend themselves nicely to the global health major. We graduate a significant number of health science majors each year and are already well known for preparing students for health professions," Bazylevych explains.   

Luther is also known for its study-away programs. All global health majors will be required to take a two or four credit field experience course, typically during their junior or senior year.

"The purpose of the field experience is to provide both a global context and a hands-on global health experience to deepen classroom learning. One of the exciting aspects of the Luther global health major is that students will put into practice in the field what they learn on campus. It's a perfect synergy given Luther's strength in off-campus programs," says Lund.

Current global health field sites under consideration include Rochester, Minnesota; Nottingham, England; Kathmandu, Nepal; Roatan, Honduras; and either Tanzania or Rwanda in Africa.

For more information about this exciting new program visit

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