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Global Health

"This was an incredible experience! As an aspiring physician with an interest in global health, this program provided me a solid foundation in the principles of international health policy and the needs in this arena. This opportunity will be pivotal in moving my career forward."—​Mike McNeil, Duke University School of Medicine


The Global Health Fellows track is designed to equip students to join in the fight against HIV/AIDS, health security, and other pressing health challenges. The program will provide students with both an academic and experiential perspective on how intergovernmental institutions, public-private partnerships, and non-governmental organizations shape global health policy.

The Global Health track combines internships with an intensive course entitled “PubPol860: Prevent, Detect, Respond: Understanding Security and Global Health” providing students a unique opportunity to learn first-hand how global health policy is formulated and implemented.

The program is open to graduate students attending schools of public policy, public health and medicine. We also accept a limited number of exceptional undergraduate students.

Program Structure

The Global Health track requires a minimum commitment of nine weeks. Program components include placement in a health policy-related internship for a minimum of eight weeks (longer internships preferred), and the required five-day intensive course on “Prevent, Detect, Respond: Understanding Security and Global Health.” Global Health Fellows will also belong to a cohort of other fellows from a diverse range of backgrounds who share a common interest in global health. To apply to be a Global Health Fellow with the Duke Program on Global Policy and Governance, please refer to the How to Apply page.

About the Policy Internship

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  • Geneva Program students visit the WHO Assembly Room.

    Understanding International Health Policy

    Global Health Fellows posed for a photo together in the World Health Organization Assembly Room. Fellows gain a solid foundation in international health policy and expand their professional networks

All Fellows work in a Geneva-based policy internship, where they gain useful experience contributing to program and policy-making in global health. Some Fellows help to prepare policy briefings and meetings; others conduct gap-filling research. From building databases and interviewing stakeholders to synthesizing literature and putting together presentations, fellows contribute to the work of placement sites.

In the past, students have interned at a wide range of NGOs and intergovernmental organizations, including:

  • The World Health Organization
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  • United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

Students are encouraged to arrive by mid-May may to witness the deliberations of the World Health Assembly. Many fellows forge lasting professional ties and friendships, both with mentors and with a cohort of future leaders in global health.

“Working at the World Health Organization gave me invaluable experience and the credibility I needed. The site visits gave us a great glimpse into renowned organizations from the inside and helped me establish a highly advantageous professional network. I've gotten to know such a diverse group of people, many of whom will continue to be part of my personal and professional life. I feel very lucky!”—Ilaria Regondi, John Hopkins University

​About the Course

The course will take place from June 26 - June 30, 2017.  It provides an overview of the how disease is understood within both the global health policy landscape and by political actors. The course modules cover issues of cross-border challenges in global health on topics.

Through seminars, case competitions, and site visits, participants will explore the range of framings of health security and discuss the policies that develop as a consequence.

“Prevent, Detect, Respond: Understanding Security and Global Health” examines the multiple levels of health security, examining how these issues can be linked at the global level (global health security), the national level (national security), and the individual level (human security). Students will explore political tensions related to outbreaks of disease and how to best respond to them through epidemic preparedness, and wider health system strengthening. From year to year, the course offering varies, often highlighting current policy issues. In the past, course participants have heard from senior officials from a wide range of Geneva-based organizations engaged in global health, from the WHO’s Tobacco-Free Initiative and World Alliance for Patient Safety to the Polio Eradication Initiative and the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. Course participants also pay site visits to nine to ten different organizations. Past site visits have included the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Médecins sans Frontières, and UNAIDS. Please note that this information is tentative -- learn more about the course's structure by viewing the 2016 course syllabus here.

During the course week, the program also facilitates additional evening events, such as a program reception, mentorship dinners, and networking events. 

"In all my years in education, the course in the Duke Global Health Fellows program was one of the best and most stimulating that I have ever taken.”Michael Maguire, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

About the Faculty Instructor

Gavin YameyGavin Yamey, MD, MPH, trained in clinical medicine at Oxford University and University College London, medical journalism and editing at the BMJ and public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He was Deputy Editor of the Western Journal of Medicine, Assistant Editor at the BMJ, a founding Senior Editor of PLOS Medicine, and the Principal Investigator on a $1.1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the launch of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. In 2009, he was awarded a Kaiser Family Mini-Media Fellowship in Global Health Reporting to examine the barriers to scaling up low cost, low tech health tools in Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.

Dr. Yamey serves on two international health commissions, the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health and the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. He has been an External Advisor to the WHO and to TDR, the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. Dr. Yamey has published extensively on global health, neglected diseases, health policy, and disparities in health and has been a frequent commentator on National Public Radio.

Before joining Duke, Dr. Yamey led the Evidence-to-Policy Initiative in the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and was an Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatics at the UCSF School of Medicine.

About Funding

Please note that Fellows may not accept funding from industry or corporate foundation sources to support their participation in the program.

The Global Health track receives support from the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke University’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access at the Sanford School of Public Policy.