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GLPH 493 Global Health Practice

 Fall 2023 (Online), Winter 2024 (Online)
 Year 4 Optional Course
 11-12 hours/week
 3 units
Online Course

Please email with any inquiries.

This course will strengthen students’ abilities to respond to a community’s health needs through a practical service learning position with an approved local or international community health organization. Students will apply a reflective approach to community engagement in global health and consider the relationship between global health practice and critical concepts from relevant fields including international development, postcolonial theory, service learning, and public health.


Note: Please review the following information package for frequently asked questions about enrolling in this course: GLPH 493 Frequently Asked Questions

Students interested in taking GLPH 493 must secure a service-learning position with a host organization 8 weeks before the start of term.

Enrollment Term Deadline to Secure Service-Learning Position
Fall July 1
Winter November 1
Spring/Summer 2023  Course is not offered in Spring/Summer 2023

GLPH 493 Information and Enrolment Package


WATCH: Recording of the GLPH 493 Info Session (October 2022)

Minimum 4th year (level 4) standing and GLPH 171/3.0 and GLPH 271/3.0.

Registration must occur by permission through the Bachelor of Health Sciences Office. For more information, please email

Teaching strategies for the online format will include provided online modules, group discussions, and assignment submissions via onQ. Online coursework will be complemented by an Experiential Learning position, in which students will volunteer with a community organization for a minimum of 5 hours per week beginning the second week of the semester (minimum 10 weeks) to assist the organization in addressing a health equity issue in the local community. Students may work in an organization where they have previous experience.

After completing GLPH 493, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the ways in which their individual social location influences their perspectives to inform their practice as a global health researcher, service provider, activist or community organizer 
  2. Develop and communicate a process of self-reflexivity to adapt and improve upon their global health practice through a combination of continuous independent reflection and regular communication with relevant stakeholders 
  3. Describe their individual philosophy of practice in global health, including the broad values, knowledge, and approaches that they will use to identify, understand, and respond to a community’s health needs
  4. Demonstrate how concepts of globalization, equity, and social and international development influence community health organizations’ work to enhance their ability to enhance equitable relationships in global health service delivery 

The assessments that correspond with the program competencies are indicated below:

  1. Communicator (Assessments 1–5)
  2. Advocate (Assessments 1, 2 & 4)
  3. Leader (Assessments 2)
  4. Scholar (Assessments 1-3 & 5)
  5. Professional (Assessments 1, 3 & 4)
  6. Collaborator (Assessment 3)
  7. Content Expert N/A

Assessment 1 – Positioning Paper (15%)

The students’ first assignment will reflect on their individual social location and relationship to the community that they are working with through their service learning position. Students will identify the factors that have contributed to the development of their individual perspective and social status, learn about the population that they are seeking to support through their service learning position, and identify what they bring to the position and what they will take from the experience. Students will write a 1000 word essay which will respond to the following questions:

  1. Where do I come from?
    • What is my ancestry and family background?
    • What advantages and/or disadvantages do I have as a result of my upbringing and my social status based on my race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, ability, sexual orientation, and religion?
  2. Where am I going?
    • What is the demographic makeup of the community that my service learning position supports?
    • What cultural norms and practices will I need to respect?
  3. What are my intentions?
    • What will I contribute to this community through my service learning position?
    • What will I take from this experience?

Assessment 2 – Photovoice Posts Journal Entries & Presentation (15%)

Throughout the course, students will take photos reflecting viewpoints or encounters that they see in their personal and professional lives that highlight issues of equity, health, globalization, and privilege. The objective of the assignment is to get students to continuously reflect upon how these issues permeate their everyday life. Each week, at least two photos will be posted in the Global Health Photovoice App (described below) by each student and tagged with hashtags related to issues discussed in the course. Students will sign up for one week in which to give a 10 minute presentation that connects at least two of their photos to the themes of the course, including the readings for that week. This presentation will be used to stimulate a 15 minute group discussion that the student will facilitate in their regular weekly online discussion group.

Assessment 3 – Progress Evaluation Reflections (30%)

In this assignment, students will describe and reflect upon a progress evaluation with their service learning position supervisor. Once every five weeks, students will meet with their position supervisor to assess their progress in the position and audio record this conversation. Prior to the conversation, both the supervisor and the student will fill out an open-ended written evaluation responding to the following questions in relation to the responsibilities and expectations agreed upon at the outset of the service learning position:

  • How is the student meeting or exceeding expectations?
  • How could the student improve further?
  • What resources, support systems and/or behaviours could expand the impact of the students’ strengths and/or help the student improve their effectiveness?

During the progress evaluation conversation, the student and the supervisor will review and discuss the self-evaluation and the supervisor evaluation. The student will then write a 500-word reflection paper considering their progress, identified strengths and areas for improvement. This will include concrete steps for how to amplify their strengths and improve their effectiveness in helping the community organization in the remainder of the position or (for the final reflection) in their subsequent global health practice. As this process will take place once every five weeks, there will be two progress evaluation reflections, each worth 15% for a total of 30%. The audio recording of the conversation will be shared with the course instructor, but only the reflection paper will be graded.

Assessment 4 – Philosophy of Practice Paper (30%)

For the final course assignment, students will describe their ‘philosophy of practice’ that they have crafted throughout the duration of the course. A philosophy of practice describes the values, beliefs, practices, and behaviours that characterize their approach to service delivery in global health research, clinical work, advocacy, or program and project design and implementation. It should draw upon reputable academic sources from within and outside of the course syllabus to describe one or two theories or perspectives on globalization, equity and development that resonate with them personally and/or professionally and explain its practical relevance based on their service learning experience. It should also describe the methods of reflexive inquiry they have undertaken throughout the course and explain how it has shaped their philosophy of practice. Papers should be 2000 words in length. Students will share a brief summary of their philosophy of practice in their online group discussions during the last two weeks of the course.

Assessment 5 – Online Group Participation (10%)

Students will be evaluated on the level of their participation in their online group discussions. This will encompass the number of group discussions in which they participate, the level of activity with which they contribute to the discussion and the degree to which they demonstrate familiarity with the assigned readings. Students who are uncomfortable speaking publicly or are otherwise constrained in their ability to participate in the group discussions should talk to the course instructor to identify an alternative method of participation and reflection that would complement their participation in the online group discussions. Otherwise, attendance in discussion groups is mandatory, and missing more than three discussion groups will result in the course being considered incomplete.

Students can expect to spend approximately 12 hours a week in study, practice and online activity for GLPH 493, including their service learning position. This includes 5 hours per week in their service learning position, 3 hours per week participating in course learning modules and online group discussions, and 4 hours per week completing course readings and assignments.

Learning modules, course notes and select readings will be made available as needed by the instructor and will be accessible in onQ.