Global Pop—Clinical Research and Cultural Fluency Experiences


Global health threats remain among the key challenges of our societies. Despite significant progress in narrowing inequities in health outcomes worldwide, the burden of such threats continues to disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. Substantial resources and efforts are fundamental to continue evolving toward a healthier, more equitable world.

The Program for Education in Global and Population Health, better known as Global Pop, responds to this call for action and provides an interconnected set of skills needed to develop future leaders in global and population health.

Based at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, Global Pop views global health as a discipline that seeks to understand the interplay of the many factors impacting health issues that transcend national borders. By understanding those factors, we can move toward achieving health and health equity worldwide.


Global Pop seeks to support the emergence of a new generation of leaders in global and population health, whether abroad or at home, through education, research, training, and patient care.

We provide education to CUIMC graduate students through pedagogy and field experiences. Central to their education is exposure to several dimensions that expand from purely health-specific to include social, legal, economic, governmental, environmental, and cultural aspects that greatly impact health outcomes and which inform our understanding of what Global and Population Health is.

Wherever possible, we also seek to link students’ international or domestic global and population health experiences—whether gained through research, patient care, or the acquisition of cultural insight and language skills—with efforts to improve the health care of vulnerable populations.

Activity Areas

Since 2013, Global Pop has been supporting students to work on global health, in an ever-expanding pool of projects abroad and in NYC.

Every year, over 200 students join our various programs. While the majority come from the Medical School, our program is also open to students from schools across Columbia’s Health Sciences Campus, allowing for an inter-professional experience.

From the first year of medical school, Global Pop offers an integrated array of didactic, research, clinical, cross-cultural and community-based opportunities that span the entire four-year medical school experience, providing students with a well-rounded understanding of the numerous factors that threaten and improve the health of people around the world.  


Student projects explore an increasingly broad range of issues. Findings from these studies help advance new interventions, and provide insight into policy, climate change and sustainable development. Students, mentors, on-site partners and their surrounding community mutually benefit through their interactions while creating new knowledge and improving health outcomes.

Our program organizes, monitors and finances research experiences throughout the medical school years

•In the summer between the first and second year of medical school – we offer an 8-week research program

•In the 4th year – Global Pop supports the Global Health track for Scholarly Projects, where students spend 4 months exploring an area of global health research

•In the 4th or 5th year, students interested in pursuing a dual MD-MS degree with a Global Health focus may apply for funding for a full research year.


Our courses are designed to optimally prepare students who pursue global health opportunities locally and abroad and to enhance the impact of their work.

MD-MS Dual Degree in Biomedical Sciences

Global Pop supports the global and population health area-of-focus of the MD-MS program in biomedical sciences. Medical students enrolled in this 30-credit program participate in a year of Global Health research and earn a Master of Science degree.

Cross-cultural Fluency Programs

Global Pop considers that exposure to the cultural aspects of a community, including its language, is fundamental to increasing students’ empathy toward their future patients, their understanding of their patients’ community health issues, and their ability to help address those issues.

We focus our Cross-Cultural Fluency programs on the Latino immigrant population in Washington Heights, the neighborhood surrounding our Health Sciences campus. Official data shows that over two-thirds of the neighborhood’s population is Latino and over a third is reported as being Limited English Proficient.


Global Pop also organizes a number of student-centered events, such as Research Symposia, Speaker Series and expert panels.

Student Organizations

Global Pop supports student organizations committed to global health and cross-cultural fluency.