Grand Challenge: Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues

Complex global health problems can often only be addressed through approaches that go beyond traditional health science disciplines. Whether responding to emerging pandemics, food insecurity, maternal mortality, or civil society collapse during conflict, solutions often lie at the interface of animal, environmental, and human health.  

While there isn’t a single “right” solution to grand challenges, progress can be made through an interdisciplinary perspective with emphasis on ethical and cultural sensitivity, and on understanding their complexities. This exploration will help students propose realistic actions that could be taken to resolve these issues. This course will help students gain the understanding and skills necessary for beginning to develop solutions to this grand challenge.  

The course will include a series of primers—lectures and discussions on key topics—followed by “knowledge into action” workshops. Students will work in interdisciplinary teams to build upon lectures, discussions, and workshops to propose a well-developed solution to a problem related to the course’s grand challenge. The primers and class discussions will build your understanding of key topics for global One Health challenges, while the “knowledge into action” labs will provide supported practice for you to translate your understanding of the problem into real world interventions.

GCC 5003 will meet Thursdays from 1:25 – 4:25 p.m. on the East Bank. Meets the Global Perspectives Theme and Honors Credit. 3 credits.


Cheryl Robertson, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN is a Public Health Nurse, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota, and former Director of International Programs at the Center for Victims of Torture. Her career follows a pathway of scholarship, public health nursing practice, and service both nationally and globally. Her current work applies a strengths perspective to understanding refugee health, trauma, and coping in the aftermath of armed conflict. She leads an interdisciplinary team that develops and tests community-based interventions to support healthy coping in Somali and Oromo communities.  In addition to other projects, she is the university lead in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the USAID-RESPOND Emerging Pandemic Threats project, working at the interface of animal, environmental, and human health in Eastern and Central Africa.

Fred Rose, Acara Director