Inspired by topnaman’s graphical display of the waning attention that has been given to malaria over the decades as well as one I saw recently presented at a conference in Amsterdam on AIDS, I thought I would also use a new and nifty feature on google – ngrams – to display what I think has been one of the most significant trends in global health during the past decade – namely the way in which we describe the field. Ngrams capture the number of times a given term gets used in books.
I frequently get asked what is the difference between the terms “international health” and “global health”. My general answer is that global health is the study and practice of health issues that transcend international borders (a line I suspect I stole from HSPH Dean Julio Frenk at some point) vs. international health which is the study of health issues that affect people living in the developing world. Global health is a newer terms that has incorporated numerous perspectives and has moved the field away from what was once a mostly clinical or basic science field. It also reflects the more “globalized” world in which we now live. I’ve argued that international health is outdated, although not everyone agrees.
The above is an ngram from 1900 to 2010 showing the way in which international health was once the dominant term used to described the field but that it has now been overshadowed by the term global health, which has really only been in use for a few decades. Great! Now I have a good graph to prove my point.
By the way, the AIDS/HIV graph that was presented at a conference in Amsterdam is also super fascinating, so I’ve uploaded it as well. Read what you want into it.Share on Facebook