“I think the extent to which we can show students the possibilities of contributing to public health and to health-care careers, which after all, are 20 percent of our economy, we’re going to do good things both for our local community, but more broadly for the country and the world,” Hartzog said.

UCSC | Jessica M. Scully | April 07, 2020

As countries across the globe fight the coronavirus pandemic, UC Santa Cruz is creating a new program that will prepare students and provide research to solve current and future global health problems.

The university’s new global and community health program will offer a multidisciplinary bachelor of arts degree and a bachelor of science degree. The program will also coordinate university-wide community and global health research efforts.

 “It’s a bit surreal to have a conversation about building a global and community health program in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Matthew Sparke, a member of the UCGHI board and of the team developing the new program. Sparke is also a professor of politics at UC Santa Cruz.

“But the pandemic certainly shows why these issues of global and community health matter. It has made painfully clear why we need to study the natural science of disease emergence, spread, and impact. And it is also showing why social science on vulnerability, resilience, and how we respond to health challenges globally and locally is critical,” he added.

The team developing the program includes faculty and administrators from departments across the biological and social sciences. Faculty from engineering, the arts, and humanities disciplines are also participating.

This diversity, with viewpoints from many departments represented, is a strength that will help ensure the program’s success, said Grant Hartzog, a professor of molecular, cell, and developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the team.