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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Institute for Global Health
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What Is Global Health?

With the expansion of international aid, the term "global health" has become more common. But, what do we mean by "global health," as opposed to "public health" or "international health"? The table below (Koplan JP et al. Lancet 2009, 373:1) attempts to draw out the primary distinctions between these three terms:

Geography Cooperation Populations Access Disciplines

Global Health

Health issues that transcend national boundaries Global Prevention and clinical care Health equity among nations Highly interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary

International Health

Focus on issues outside of one’s own country Bi-national Prevention and clinical care Help other nations Embraces a few disciplines

Public Health

Focus on specific communities or countries National Prevention Health equity within a nation or community Multidisciplinary, particularly with health and social sciences

Source: Koplan JP et al. Lancet 2009, 373:9679 pp 1993-1995

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