Global Health Fellows Program


The Global Health Fellows Program offers a unique opportunity to learn firsthand how global health policy is formulated and implemented. Launched by Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy in 2004, the program provides students with both academic and experiential perspectives on how intergovernmental institutions, public-private partnerships and nongovernmental organizations shape global health policy and programs.

The program combines internships with global health stakeholder organizations in Geneva and an intensive course on global health issues. It is open to graduate students attending schools of public policy, public health and medicine.

Program Structure

The Global Health Fellows Program requires a minimum commitment of eight weeks, including attendance in the “Health Policy in a Globalizing World” course. Program components include the required five-day intensive course on “Health Policy in a Globalizing World,” placement in a health policy-related internship, and importantly, shared experiences with a cohort of Fellows coming from diverse backgrounds, but with a common interest in global health. To apply to the Global Health Fellows Program, fill out the application form.  Please refer to the  admissions procedure as specified for the Duke Program on Global Policy and Governance.

About the policy internship

All Fellows work in a Geneva-based policy internship, where they gain useful experience contributing to program and policymaking in global health. Some Fellows help to prepare policy briefings and meetings; others conduct gap-filling research. From building databases and interviewing stakeholders to synthesizing literature and putting together presentations, Fellows contribute to the work of placement sites that have ranged in recent years from NGOs like Médecins sans Frontières to public-private partnerships like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations and intergovernmental organizations such as WHO and UNAIDS. Those arriving by mid-May may also witness the deliberations of the World Health Assembly. Many Fellows forge lasting professional ties and friendships, both with mentors and with a cohort of future leaders in global health.

About the course

This course provides an overview of the forces of globalization shaping health in our world, with particular emphasis on issues of innovation and access to health technologies. The course modules cover issues of cross-border challenges in global health and the disparities that arise from asymmetries in globalizing public goods like medicines and public bads like tobacco; the implications of trade rules and intellectual property regimes on public health; and the architecture of global health governance. Through seminars and site visits, participants will gain an appreciation of the context and policy levers affecting health in a globalizing world. 

Coordinated by Dr. Anthony So, Director of the Program on Global Health and Technology Access at the Sanford School of Public Policy, the course draws lessons from different challenges in globalization and health equity, and in so doing, provides a clearer vision of how exemplars in one area might inform approaches in others. From year to year, the course offering varies, often highlighting current policy issues. In the past, course participants have heard from senior officials from a wide range of Geneva-based organizations engaged in global health, from the WHO’s Tobacco-Free Initiative and World Alliance for Patient Safety to the Polio Eradication Initiative and the WHO’s Department of Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. Course participants also pay site visits to nine to ten different organizations. Past site visits have included the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Médecins sans Frontières, and UNAIDS.

The course will take place for one week, most likely in early July. Days typically run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, with a couple evenings spent at a networking reception and a mentorship dinner. Taking a break from the internship, participation in the course serves as a capstone experience for many Fellows.

About funding

The Global Health Fellows Program cannot provide full or partial scholarships for participants. Each participant is responsible for program fees, room and board, airfare and other living expenses. Students should work with their schools or sponsors to determine how all costs will be paid. For example, the Duke Global Health Institute offers up to two scholarships for Duke students to participate in this program (no separate application needed). Please note that Fellows may not accept funding from industry or corporate foundation sources to support their participation in the program.


*The Global Health Fellows Program also receives support from the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke University’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access at the Sanford School of Public Policy.