BMJ GH: Defining global health as public health somewhere else (15) HIFA co-authors respond to commentary "Defining global health as public health somewhere else"

12 May, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

Along with a group of extraordinary HIFA colleagues (who are all way smarter than me), we recently published one of a group of commentary responses to the recent piece on defining global health as public health somewhere else, now live on BMJ Global Health. [*see note below]

You can find our HIFA response here:

The other responses here:

And the original article, again, here:




Sara Fischer, MPH

PhD Candidate

Department of Government

Georgetown University

t: +1.917.373.2614


HIFA profile: Sara Fischer is a PhD Candidate at Georgetown University in the USA and has a professional interest in global health policy; health systems research; community health workers; and in aid and development. Email address: sf791 AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (Neil PW): This is wonderful Sarah and thanks to you and HIFA co-authors Poorvaprabha Patil, Chris Zielinski, Lori Baxter, Francisco Javier Bonilla-Escobar, Shabina Hussain, Claudia Lai, Sarah Catherine Walpole, Francis Ohanyido, David Flood, Ambrish Singh, and Najeeb Al-Shorbaji. What a great example of teamwork! For the benefit of those who may not have immediate web access, here are the Summary points:

1. The original commentary by King and Koski makes many important points, but we feel that the definition they provide, suggesting that the field is distinguished by the geographical relationship between practitioners and recipients, is too limiting.

2. We propose an alternative definition of global health as public health everywhere, which takes into account the ‘how’ as well as the ‘where’, and we urge readers to emphasise equity in addition to geography.

3. In our global health ecosystem, health problems, and the people who experience, prevent, solve and study them, are interconnected and cross national boundaries.

4. Good governance, increasing use of local expertise, locally appropriate sustainable technologies and knowledge exchange programmes across countries and communities can all play an important role in delivering public health everywhere.]