Duke Course Empowers Budding Leaders to Solve Global Health Problems

The Duke Global Health Innovation Center (Duke GHIC) and Innovations in Healthcare (IiH) adhere to core values, including education and capacity building, which improve access to quality, affordable healthcare worldwide. Supporting this core value, we partner with the Duke Global Health Institute’s (DGHI) global health capstone course. This course embodies the intersection of education, innovation, and collaboration in addressing global health challenges. Through experiential learning and mentorship, it empowers students to become catalysts for positive change, preparing the next generation of global health leaders.

DGHI’s Class of 2024 undergraduate global health majors Photo by: Chris Hildreth/Rooster Media Productions

Bridging Theory and Practice

At the start of this semester-long partnership, students break into small teams based on their health interests. Then, they are matched with a selected Innovations in Healthcare network innovator to design a practical solution to the innovators’ self-identified critical global health problem(s).

The capstone course gives students an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they learned in their previous coursework to develop real-world global health solutions they are passionate about.

This spring 2024 semester, a group of students worked with Simprints, a nonprofit technology company seeking to expand vaccine access by using ethical digital IDs. The students completed a market analysis to help the company prepare for the rollout of the first malaria vaccine in Uganda. The team’s work was described as “excellent” for explaining Uganda’s fragmented health system while looking holistically at the issues involved in vaccine access.

“The students, acting as a group, have to decide on reducing a health disparity somewhere in the world and then have to research the past experience that others have had and how it would apply to their new situation.”

Leveraging Resources for Impact 

Our strength at Duke GHIC and IiH lies in our ability to leverage a global network of health innovators to drive global health impact. The course collaboration with IiH opens a host of resources for students and innovators alike.

“Partnering with students and providing them with real-world knowledge proved highly rewarding. It allowed us to delve deeper into the unique aspects of working in healthcare, especially within Haiti’s challenging landscape.”

By partnering directly with the innovators, students co-create solutions that drive sustainable change at the grassroots level. This approach fosters long-term partnerships, laying the foundation for lasting impact.

Inspiring a Legacy of Excellence

“As graduates, it will be our undertaking to always seek out perspectives that challenge our understanding of the world, and motivate us to constantly grow to create solutions that promote health equity in all spaces, for all people.”

As DGHI global health graduates, students carry with them a legacy of excellence and a a commitment to building a healthier, more equitable and just world.