Göttingen International

Summer School "Global Health and Poverty"

Global Health

May 28 to June 8, 2018

The International Summer School will welcome up to 30 advanced international students (Masters or PhD level) working in global health or development economics. The summer school will address the central health challenges of the world today, focusing particularly on their many intersections with poverty. Participants will delve into the central question of the complex interplay of a person’s health status and economic prosperity or deprivation in the context of low- and middle-income countries.
Over the two-week program, students will become more familiarized with the most important global health challenges and explore the role health economics and policies play in tackling these. Students will benefit from a range of theoretical courses, research-orientated lectures, and practical activities. Theoretical and empirical courses will be held by renowned speakers from leading universities and institutes in global health. The practical activities include a two-day excursion to Berlin including a visit of the German Parliament and meetings with political decision-makers. In addition to that, the summer school will provide the opportunity of visits to other health institutes and health technology firms. In order to further foster group dynamics between attendees and give an insight into German cultural and historical heritage, a social program including an excursion to Wartburg will be part of the summer school.

May 28 to June 8, 2018
Application Deadline: January 31, 2018


The courses will be offered by several invited lecturers from the University of Göttingen and beyond.

1) Global Health Today
The introductory courses of the summer school will give an overview of the global health challenges today. On the one hand, the pathways from health to poverty and vice versa will be assessed from a theoretical perspective. On the other hand, the current state of global health and its most pressing issues for lower- and middle-income countries will be discussed.
Here, the stark contrast between rising living standards & life expectancy globally while at the same time still observing large numbers of preventable deaths & lack of universal health care will be inspected.

2) Selected Topics on Health and Poverty
Following the introduction, this block of classes will allow for a more specific look at some of the most urgent health issues affecting lower- and middle-income countries. One topic will be on the limited access to health care and health insurance. Another special focus be malnutrition. Within these topics, past developments and policies will be analyzed in their successes and failures. The identification of remaining challenges and issues as well as potentially low-hanging fruit in high-impact health interventions will conclude these sessions.

3) Communicable Diseases
Communicable diseases are still one of the major causes of death in lower- and middle- income countries. The sessions on CD will first review the advances that have been made through policies and technological innovation. They will go on to address the persisting as well as newly arising challenges (such as living with HIV during old age) holding us back in lowering the burden of communicable diseases. Alongside this, the question of what is preventing further improvements and the eventual eradication of several diseases will be discussed.

4) Non-communicable Diseases
Amidst rising income and standards of living globally, non-communicable diseases are on the rise everywhere. As behavioral risk factors – such as smoking, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diets, or alcohol consumption – increase, non-communicable diseases pose a major challenge for health systems. Courses on this will cover the epidemiological transition and how policies can influence this (for example through food-system based interventions, such as sugar taxes). A special focus will be on the double burden of disease in lower- and middle- income countries.

The program will be complemented by practical insights into health and governmental institutions in Germany. For this, participants will go on a two day excursion to Berlin including a visit of the German Parliament.

The Social Program includes:

  • Welcome reception
  • Excursion to the Wartburg:
  • The Wartburg is a historically and culturally significant landmark of Germany. Most famous for being Martin Luther’s secretive residence during his translation of the New Testament, it is closely entangled with Germany’s history throughout the centuries.
  • Göttingen under the microscope – a health focused tour:
  • Göttingen, situated in the middle of Germany, right between the Harz mountains and the Weser river, is well known for its University. The institutions fame is enhanced by its 45 Nobel Prize Winners.
    The historic city center, enclosed by the remains of the mediaeval town wall, is home to magnificent churches and half - timbered houses dating from the 14th to the 18th century. Much of the urban life takes place within the old town walls. All places of interest are at most a leisurely ten-minute walk away from each other.
    Göttingen´s landmark is the Gänseliesel statue on the fountain at the market square in front of the Old Town Hall. This art nouveau statue figures a girl herding geese. Traditionally, all new doctoral graduates from the University kiss the cheeks of the statue after passing their examination. This makes her "the most kissed girl in the world".
    The guided tour through Göttingen will give students a chance to become more familiar with the city. In this, a special focus will be laid on the history of health innovations and interventions that started with the founding of the University in 1737.

    Preliminary Schedule

    Health Program_2

    Confirmed Speakers

    Prof. Barry R. Bloom, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    Prof. Till Bärnighausen, University of Heidelberg

    Prof. Justine Davies, King’s College London

    Prof. Uwe Gross, University Medical Center Göttingen

    Prof Lindsay Jaacks, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    Prof. Stephan Klasen, University of Göttingen

    Prof. Sebastian Vollmer, University of Göttingen


    Upon successful completion of the program, participants will be granted 6 ECTS credit points.

    Credits in ECTS can only be obtained after successful completion of the work load required. Student workload in ECTS consists of the time required to complete all planned learning activities such as attending lectures, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects, examinations, and so forth.
    International participants who wish to receive credits for attending short term programs should check transfer policies with their academic advisor or the international office at their home institution.

    Fees & Funding

    Participation is free of charge for the selected candidates.

    Due to funding by the University of Göttingen the Summer School will be able to offer travel grants for international participants. The travel grants are paid as fixed country-specific travel allowances.
    The Summer School also provides free organized accommodation with breakfast and two dinners.

    All other individual incurred costs related to the participation in the summer school (food, etc.) have to be covered by the participants themselves.


    Master´s students as well as PhD candidates from global health, development economics and related fields are invited to apply. Participants will be selected based on their letters of motivation.

    Your application should consist of:

    • A CV (1-2 pages)
    • A short statement of motivation (1-2 pages). Your letter of motivation should clearly describe your previous work on the topic, your current interests and goals, and your reasons for wishing to attend the Summer School.

    Please fill in the application form online (including CV and letter of motivation). After a successful submission of the application you should receive an automatic confirmation via eMail.
    Successful applicants will be notified in the middle of February.

    Application deadline: January 31, 2018.


    Professor Dr. Sebastian Vollmer, Department of Economics, University of Göttingen