Hawaiian Rainbow


Aloha and welcome to Global Health and Population Studies!

The East-West Center (EWC) and the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UHM) offer the joint interdisciplinary program leading to the graduate certificate in global health and population studies (GHPS). First established in 1969 as a graduate certificate program in population studies, the program has subsequently undergone modifications in 2009 to incorporate the component of global health in its name and curriculum. In 2012, the program adopted a national global health competency framework developed by the American Society for Public Health.


Global Health is an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. Global health emphasizes transnational health issues, determinants, and solutions; involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration; and is a synthesis of population-based prevention with individual-level clinical care. It may be distinguished from Public Health due to the inclusion of individual care, and from International health, which refers to population health in developing or low-income countries and is typically limited to infectious disease, nutrition, child health, reproductive (maternal) health, water, shelter, sanitation, and aging, mental health and culture.

Global health has thus emerged as a broader, transdisciplinary, transboundary and more inclusive concept that focuses on social, biological and environmental causal factors to better understand the interrelated mechanisms that underlie global health prob­lems. Health challenges that are typically associated with global change include the cultural, economic, political, and environmental aspects of health disparities; shifts in the global burden of ill­ness; emerging and resurging infectious diseases; climate change consequences that affect the health of vulnerable populations; and the health implications of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.


To prepare students to work with diverse populations in rapidly evolving environments that present both geographical and cultural challenges. To provide students with a program that supplements their degree and which is essential for a career in health sectors where real-world problems necessitate holistic and integrative approaches. Knowledge and skills imparted by the program provide an awareness of transnational global health conditions, problems and solutions in developing and developed nations. The development of transdisciplinary knowledge and skills are emphasized, which are increasingly needed to address contemporary global health challenges that often blur the boundaries of academic disciplines.

The program benefits from the central geographic location of the Uni­versity of Hawaii, the extraordinary cultural and biological diversity of Hawaii, and the his­tory and issues that Hawaii shares with the Asia-Pacific region. Administered by the Office of Public Health Studies' Division of Ecology and Health. the program also involves international partnerships with the East-West Center and a number of leading universities in Asia.

Participation Options

Students may opt to participate in the Global Health Program in conjunction with a UHM graduate degree program, including public health, in any of the following ways: 1) Earn a Global Health and Population Studies (GHAPS) Graduate Certificate; 2) Satisfy a practicum or research requirement by working on an eco-health project conducted by the program, either in Hawai‘i or at one of the program's international partner institutions; or 3) Gain professional development experience by participating in one or more of the program's courses, Summer Institutes, or other training activities.

Competencies on Graduation

  • Demonstrate in-depth familiarity with the major global health issues worldwide including specific knowledge of those affecting the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of globalization and global environmental changes as drivers of global health challenges.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the current mod­els and theory that employ a social-ecologi­cal perspective and systems approach to global health challenges
  • Apply practical knowledge and skills relevant for conducting eco-health research and inter­vention to address one or more global health problems.
  • Identify the current effects of international and key national agencies institutions both worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and practical skills necessary for participating in international and cross-cultural research and intervention teams.
  • And competencies developed by the Association of Schools of Public Health

For more information, contact the Global Health Program office globhlth@hawaii.edu