Identifying interprofessional global health competencies for 21st-century health professionals

Ann Glob Health. 2015 Mar-Apr;81(2):239-47. doi: 10.1016/j.aogh.2015.03.006.


Background: At the 2008 inaugural meeting of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), participants discussed the rapid expansion of global health programs and the lack of standardized competencies and curricula to guide these programs. In 2013, CUGH appointed a Global Health Competency Subcommittee and charged this subcommittee with identifying broad global health core competencies applicable across disciplines.

Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to describe the Subcommittee's work and proposed list of interprofessional global health competencies.

Methods: After agreeing on a definition of global health to guide the Subcommittee's work, members conducted an extensive literature review to identify existing competencies in all fields relevant to global health. Subcommittee members initially identified 82 competencies in 12 separate domains, and proposed four different competency levels. The proposed competencies and domains were discussed during multiple conference calls, and subcommittee members voted to determine the final competencies to be included in two of the four proposed competency levels (global citizen and basic operational level - program oriented).

Findings: The final proposed list included a total of 13 competencies across 8 domains for the Global Citizen Level and 39 competencies across 11 domains for the Basic Operational Program-Oriented Level.

Conclusions: There is a need for continued debate and dialog to validate the proposed set of competencies, and a need for further research to identify best strategies for incorporating these competencies into global health educational programs. Future research should focus on implementation and evaluation of these competencies across a range of educational programs, and further delineating the competencies needed across all four proposed competency levels.

Keywords: competencies; global health; global health education; interprofessional education.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Competency-Based Education / organization & administration*
  • Curriculum*
  • Global Health
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Program Development*