The growing impact of globalization for health and public health practice

Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:263-83. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101225.


In recent decades, public health policy and practice have been increasingly challenged by globalization, even as global financing for health has increased dramatically. This article discusses globalization and its health challenges from a vantage of political science, emphasizing increased global flows (of pathogens, information, trade, finance, and people) as driving, and driven by, global market integration. This integration requires a shift in public health thinking from a singular focus on international health (the higher disease burden in poor countries) to a more nuanced analysis of global health (in which health risks in both poor and rich countries are seen as having inherently global causes and consequences). Several globalization-related pathways to health exist, two key ones of which are described: globalized diseases and economic vulnerabilities. The article concludes with a call for national governments, especially those of wealthier nations, to take greater account of global health and its social determinants in all their foreign policies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Public Health Practice*
  • Public Health*
  • Social Change