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Expert Reviews and Interviews Focus on Global Health


Man placing protective goggles on the face of another person who is wearing protective clothing and a hood

“I have taken numerous courses on Global Health and this one is different in its approach, more in depth and well worth taking. This is a classic Harvard MOOC with some of the best experts in the world discussing interesting topics in their field.– Paul Hundal, Readings in Global Health learner

What is it like when a healthcare professional realizes that a disease isn’t quite what was expected? Dr. Peter Piot, Director and Professor of Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, describes his aha moment — when he understood that AIDS was not only a disease occurring in men in the United States — in a video featured in the HarvardX course Readings in Global Health.

Working as an infectious disease physician in Belgium in the early 1980s, Dr. Piot began to notice an unusual subset of patients with an immune deficiency coming from central Africa. “These were days when there was no e-mail, no Facebook, no mobile phones, and so we had to go.”

His visit to a ward at the Nanaimo Hospital in Zaire was enlightening. “I really had a — what they call in psychiatry — the Aha-Erlebnis, you know, according to Freud, where you see—suddenly when we entered the ward of the female patients in internal medicine, and that ward was full of what we know today are AIDS patients,” Pinot explains. “And I said, this is a disaster.”


Video interviews like this are part of the unique teaching format behind Readings in Global Health, which uses a series of reviews and interviews with leading experts to explore the most pressing challenges in global health.  

The course, taught by David J. Hunter, Vincent L. Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention at Harvard University, centers on a set of 18 reviews that were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and coedited by David Hunter and Harvey Fineberg. Course participants read the reviews, covering such topics as disease patterns and predictions, health systems, and institutional response; then hear from the authors through a series of interviews that illuminates a deeper understanding and backstory of the papers.

Readings in Global Health, recently updated with new content and interviews, begins on January 23. To learn more about the course and enroll, click on the course tile below.

Readings in Global Health course tile