In the Classroom

Visual Approaches to Global Health (HLTH S350) is a summer course taught at Yale University that teaches students both epidemiological methodology as well as filmmaking and storytelling techniques. The course is open to anyone who applies, and all students will receive course credit through Yale University. The application cycle begins around October and ends around February. Please click here more information on applying for the course.

In summer 2017, Visual Approaches to Global Health will be offered in Mbabane, Swaziland.

Course Overview

Visual Approaches to Global Health is a novel global health course offered in the Yale Summer Session Program that explores the intersection between public health and visual media, where students will learn to analyze global health issues through the prism of film and media. Students will learn to understand global health and filmmaking not simply as a representative medium, but through the use of aesthetics and emotional narratives that reach a level of professionalism both as academic scholarship and as works of art.

Learning Objectives

The course seeks to combine academic public health research with visual literacy in order to prepare students to better advance public health issues in a multimedia format. Students are educated on contemporary global health issues, as well as discuss the art of visual literacy in order to strategically to advance global health issues.

By the end of the course, each student will possess the skills needed to:

  • Identify ways visual media can explain complex global health scholarship and make it more accessible to the general public
  • Analyze the research, theory, method of global health policy and epidemiology
  • Identify arguments for global health issues in both literature and visual media, and discern methods that are appropriate for each
  • Translate complex epidemiological data and research into a narrative, story driven message approachable by a wide audience
  • Recognize ethical dynamics and considerations when working with individuals on public health issues

Course Format

The course will be 5 weeks in total. Students will learn through a combination of traditional, didactic lectures and group discussion. The course lectures will be broken into two parts. The first half of the class will be a lecture on the week’s global health issue. Each week will address a contemporary global health issue, and how such an issue affects both the global and local community. The instructor will discuss the issue, epidemiology, and other aspects in both a global and local setting. Students will be required to have a firm academic of the topic at hand, including knowledge of epidemiological methods, public health policy, and implementation. Strengths and weaknesses in the current approach to addressing the issue through traditional public health discourse will be analyzed. In the second part of the lecture, students will analyze films and visual approaches to other global health issues that address contemporary global health topics. The lecture will break down components of the selected film or visual media as it pertains to public health, policy, and research. Students will discuss the methods used and approaches taken, as well as the effectiveness of advocacy efforts stemming from the film. Students will be expected to apply their understanding to the week’s health lecture.

By the end of the course, students are expected to have a firm grasp on analytical analysis of global health issues (academic literacy) and how to construct arguments through the medium of film (visual literacy).