Online course in Politics & the Modern World

Global Health, Conflict and Violence

Understand the role of medical peace work, and consider the role of healthcare workers in times of conflict and violence.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $59 Find out more

Explore the role of medics and healthcare workers in promoting peace

On this course you will learn about the key principles and different forms of medical peace work in the context of global health, conflict and violence. You will consider the role healthcare workers have to play in the prevention of violence and peace practices.

You will examine scenarios such as working in a conflict zone, nuclear explosions, storms, floods, heatwaves, infectious disease, migration and violent conflict. In each case you will consider the effects of these on global health.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsA bomb blast at the district hospital this morning has left between 10 and 20 people injured. The explosion happened at dawn damaging the hospital kitchen in the side wing of the building.... Violence at different levels is one of the greatest determinants of ill health and death. Medical Peace Work is an emerging field of expertise, which combines health care, violence prevention and peace building. My name is Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy, and I am Adi Vyas. This MOOC has been made by the University of Bergen in collaboration with the European Medical Peace Work Partnership, and will introduce you to the key concepts, opportunities and dilemmas in medical peace work.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 secondsOur first case study will identify challenges faced by health workers during violent conflict, especially the tension between medical ethics, security priorities, and the need for impartiality.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsOur second case tries to understand large-scale violence, using the example of a nuclear explosion. What are the effects on the human body and why have health professionals become so involved in the prevention of nuclear war?

Skip to 1 minute and 23 secondsOur third case explores indirect or structural violence, and how global warming can be understood as a form of violence that affects health, and whether health professionals have a duty to ‘do no harm’ in this public health context. So, join us as we explore these important global health issues through the lens of public health and peace practice. Whatever your professional background, together we can begin our journey towards a healthier, more peaceful world.

What topics will you cover?

1) Animated stories to illustrate the effects of personal and structural violence in global health:

  • Working in a conflict zone
  • Responding to a nuclear explosion
  • Preparing for the health effects of climate change

2) Basic concepts of medical peace work:

  • Forms of violence (direct, structural, and cultural)
  • Hierarchies of violence (collective, interpersonal, and self-induced)
  • Levels of violence (mega, macro, meso, and micro)
  • Preventing violence

We also offer a course called Addressing Violence Through Patient Care which you may be interested in. These courses combined contain material from our previous course Medical Peace Work.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Discuss various definitions of the concepts of violence, conflict and peace, and their relationship to health professions
  • Describe the types of medical peace work that health care professionals can participate in globally and locally
  • Evaluate and respond to various forms of violence in health practice

Who is the course for?

This course is for global health professionals as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students in healthcare professions (medicine, nursing, allied and public health) and global health and development studies.

Who will you learn with?

Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy

Ingvild Fossgard Sandøy

Professor of Public Health at the University of Bergen. Research interests: sexual and reproductive health; interpersonal violence. Teaching: Public Health, Medical Peace work, Epidemiology

Klaus Melf

Klaus Melf

Deputy Chief Medical Officer in the City of Bergen, Norway. Specialty: Community medicine. Doctorate: Occupational medicine. Master's degree: Peace and conflict transformation. Coordinator of MPW3.

Stefi  Barna

Stefi Barna

I teach global health and development studies at Azim Premji University in Bangalore (India).

Who developed the course?

The University of Bergen (UiB) offers first-class education and cutting-edge research at our location in the city centre of Bergen, Norway.

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