Anthropology and Global Public Health

Course Overview

This course will introduce students to anthropological perspectives and their application to global problems such as human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, mass violence, and mental disorders. Emphasis will be placed on the synergy between global health and medical anthropology which can, in turn, lead to improved health and social care for diverse populations. Many health-related professions can be usefully informed by the contributions of anthropology. Medical anthropology in particular highlights the importance of cultural, social, and structural factors in health and illness. The field embraces micro-perspectives relevant to health practice (patient explanatory models, structural competence, bio-cultural and intersectional identities in gender, race, sexuality). It also includes structural critiques relevant to global health and social policy (social suffering, bio-power, structural violence, and capabilities theory).

Course Objectives

  1. Understand anthropological perspectives and their theoretical and conceptual contributions to understanding global health and social welfare
  2. Analyze the role of culture in disease and illness 
  3. Learn and apply practice perspectives from anthropology including patient explanatory models and structural competence
  4. Examine caste, gender, race and other bio-socio-cultural constructions using critical theories
  5. Assess health and social policy implications of structural critiques of inequalities in health and wellness
  6. Understand and apply the capabilities approach to addressing health disparities and disabilities.
  7. Assess current issues in global health including communal violence, addiction, HIV/AIDS, pandemics, homelessness, mental illness, and human trafficking.

Lead Instructor

Dr. Deborah K. Padgett, New York University Silver School of Social Work

Dr Deborah K. Padgett, a professor of social work, public health and psychiatry at New York University, is known for her expertise in qualitative and mixed methods including her texts Qualitative Methods in Social Work Research (3rd Sage, 2016) and Qualitative and Mixed Methods in Public Health (Sage,2012). Having a doctorate in medical anthropology and post-doctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology, Dr Padgett is a leading researcher on homelessness and is the first author of “Housing First: Ending Homelessness, Transforming Systems and Changing Lives. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW).


  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Researchers
  • Academicians
  • Postgraduate students and
  • Undergraduate students

Course Fees

8000 INR*

*Scholarships will be given on request


Online and Live sessions – 8 Weeks, Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm IST

Important Dates

Couse Commencement: 2nd June 2022

Last Date to Register: 30th May, 2022

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