The COVID-19 Crisis: The Past, Present and Future of Global Health

The COVID-19 Crisis: The Past, Present and Future of Global Health sticker

Credit: 3.0 units of USC credit

Prerequisites: None

Course Materials: A list of student materials required for each course,
as well as purchase options, will be provided by May 1st

Daily Schedule

AM Session(s) PM Session(s)
Friday: 9:00 – 10:00 am Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:
3:30 – 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)

Please note: In addition to assignments and independent work, all courses have a morning and afternoon live class session. For students
joining from overseas, faculty will provide recordings of certain classes that can be watched a-synchronously at a more convenient time.
Participation, attendance and expectations for the course will be provided by your instructor.


In the COVID-19 era, there is no more pressing field to learn more about than global health. COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, upending lives worldwide in just a few months. It has illustrated just how the intensification of global trade and travel facilitates the rapid spread of disease, how a single pandemic can bring the world economy to its knees, and how national responses can challenge human rights and exasperate social injustices.

Do you seek to better understand how we got into this situation in the first place and how it may all end? Are you intrigued by the social and racial inequities uncovered by the virus? Would you like to learn more about how the COVID-19 vaccine will be developed and distributed in the US and around the world? Then this course is for you.

The course takes a broad multi-disciplinary approach to investigate the environmental, social, and political determinants of disease and health around the world. The first half of the course will focus on what drives the emergence and spread of new diseases, ranging from environmental degradation to poverty, discrimination, and misuse of medications. Students will learn the strategies used to predict, detect, control and prevent infectious disease outbreaks locally and worldwide. This includes generating 'epi-curves' and practicing 'track and trace' approaches commonly mentioned in relation to COVID-19.

The second half of the course will focus on how inequity, poverty, gender, climate change, and corporate activity drive poor physical and mental health conditions, including greater COVID-19 illness and death. We will evaluate disadvantaged and marginalized countries and communities and explore and discuss how human rights law and principles of solidarity and justice can enhance health worldwide. We will also practice using various research approaches, ranging from traditional surveys to photo installations, to generate the evidence needed to advocate for policy changes.

We apply a very hands-on, practical approach through fun, daily individual and group exercises. The course is appropriate for students interested in medicine, public health, anthropology, international relations, international business, economics, law, and other disciplines—in other words, it's for everyone interested in helping the world recover from our current crisis and prevent similar crises in the future!


  • Learn from numerous guest lecturers, including current leaders in the field from LA County Department of Public Health and non-governmental organizations working on COVID-19, as well as other global health and social justice issues
  • Investigate and solve disease outbreaks through hands-on outbreak investigations just like a real disease detective
  • Discover the variety of academic and career options in the field of global health and social justice
  • Build skills in effective reading, writing and research methods
  • Learn how to craft impactful public health messages
  • Build personal relationships with leading global health faculty at USC

USC Summer Programs The COVID-19 Crisis: The Past, Present and Future of Global Health Photo AlbumTake a look at our photo album!

Topic of Study

  • Trends in global burden of disease
  • New and emerging infectious and chronic diseases
  • COVID-19 outbreak and response
  • US and international laws, policies, and aid relating to health and pandemic response
  • Roles of poverty, human rights, social justice, and cultural competency in promoting health worldwide
  • Key global health leaders and organizations
  • Environmental degradation and climate change
  • Social determinants of health, including race, gender, and sexual orientation
  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Social capital and community mobilization

I would tell them that the COVID-19 course is an amazing experience filled with many people who are as motivated and have similar interests. It is an excellent way to get your feet wet into what college classes may look like and you meet lots of genuine and passionate peers and professors.

Rachel D., Oregon (Summer Programs 2020)