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ODU’s new Global Health Certification Program

Muge Akpinar-Elci

While many mistake global health’s mission as mainly tackling problems in the developing world, its real purpose is to show us the big picture. Diseases and health problems do not recognize borders. All countries can learn from the experiences of other countries. Neglecting to address health problems on a global scale can adversely affect people”s health and well-being as well as national security around the world. To be able to address global health problems, increased awareness and education should be among the key solutions. As Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of WHO pointed out, “General literacy is by far the most cost-effective health intervention.”

The current status of global health has gained momentum and now encompasses a broader understanding of health to include environmental and climate change. There is also an integrated economic framework for understanding health to address the sustainability of the world’s ecosystems. Based on this complex ecological thinking that goes beyond humans and animals, these approaches consider inextricable linkages beyond the human, animal and environmental interface. Collaboration between and amongst various professionals to understand the ecological interactions and reactions to flux in a system can facilitate a clearer understanding of how climate change affects public health.  

The new competency-based Global Health Certification Program (Cert) offered by ODU's Global Health Center will address environmental factors and climate change impacts on public health, which is a crossroad between many disciplines. This graduate-level certificate program will provide comprehensive training in global health. It is designed as an online program for professionals who are practicing or those who plan to practice in a worldwide setting. Graduates of the Global Health Certificate Program can expect to find employment in a variety of fields including health-related governmental/non-governmental organizations, university research programs, international health care consultancies, and multinational corporations.

For more information, please contact Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci at