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Health Services Research and Global Health

The evolution of global health (Bunyavanich and Walkup 2001; Koplan et al. 2009; Fried et al. 2010) from its roots in international health to its current focus on health systems strengthening (HSS) has created substantial opportunities for social scientists to contribute meaningfully to the field. Whereas international health generally focused on low- and middle-income countries, emphasized bilateral cooperation, and attracted researchers from medicine and public health, the field of global health encompasses a much broader vision.

Global health seeks to address health issues that transcend national boundaries, require global cooperation to address effectively, and involve multiple disciplines (Koplan et al. 2009; Fried et al. 2010). Consistent with the broadening of public health generally (Institute of Medicine 2001), global heath views economic, political, social, and cultural policies and practices as fundamental determinants of health and potential levers for improving health, at both individual and population levels. With the epidemiologic transition of many countries from infectious to chronic diseases, increased speed of global communication and travel, and greater recognition of the interconnectedness of our economic, political, and environmental futures, the field of global health calls for the involvement of disciplines in addition to medicine and public health such as anthropology, economics, political science, sociology, organizational behavior (OB), psychology, and others.

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