Teaching about Corporations and Health

As the influence of corporations on population health grows, it will be necessary to prepare researchers, practitioners, and advocates who have the knowledge and skills to analyze and contribute to changing harmful corporate practices. One place to do that is in training programs for public health professionals. In this ongoing series, Corporations and Health Watch offers readers materials about courses on business and health.

William H. Wiist is Professor of Health Sciences at Northern Arizona University and the editor of The Bottom Line or Public Health: Tactics Corporations Use to Influence Health and Health Policy, and What We Can Do to Counter Them (Oxford University Press, 2010). In the past two years, he has taught courses on globalization and health at the University of Chile School of Public Health and at Northern Arizona University.

At the University of Chile, the “Economic Globalization and Health” course was co-taught by Dr. Wiist and Dr. Ron Labonte (from the University of Ottawa, Canada) in January 2009 and 2010. In 2010, 35 students enrolled in the course, including seven from the United States. The topics included:

  • Economic Globalization and the Social Determinants of Health
  • Global Trade and Health Equity
  • Transnational Corporations: Protagonists of Economic Globalization and Their Impact on Health
  • The Tobacco Industry
  • The Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Global Financial System: external debt, international cooperation and development
  • Chile Facing Economic Globalization
  • The Economic Crisis and its Effects on Public Health
  • Globalization from Below: Civil Society Actions to Counter the Adverse Effects of Globalization.

A syllabus provides additional details. [click here to download]

The online course at Northern Arizona is also called “Economic Globalization and Health,” though is less focused on Chile as a case study. Course requirements include reading scientific reports and political analyses, viewing popular films on corporate power, and writing an analysis of the economic determinants of a health problem that students choose. A syllabus [click here to download] gives further details.

CHW readers with other relevant syllabi or teaching materials are encouraged to submit them toresponse@corporationsandhealth.org for posting.

Previous CHW reports on teaching about business practices include: