The swine flu outbreak that began in Veracruz, Mexico, in April 2009 is the most recent example of a global health issue that swept across the country to Hawaii and beyond.
"One thing we realize is the world is really interconnected," said Dr. Jay Maddock, associate professor and director of the University of Hawaii Manoa Office of Public Health Studies.
With air travel, a disease that breaks out anywhere in the world can end up here the same day, he pointed out.
Infectious diseases will be among topics discussed in the first University of Hawaii at Manoa Global Health Summer Institute taking place from next Sunday to July 2 at the Biomedical Science Building on the Manoa campus.
About 50 students are expected from around the world for four one-week graduate-level courses, Maddock said. They can audit a class or attend for full UH graduate credits.
The public is invited to a panel discussion on "What is Global Health?" at a kickoff session from 5 to 8 p.m. next Sunday in the biomedical building, D-207.
Global health issues focus the need to restore the UH School of Public Health, an internationally recognized program that was closed in 1999 by then UH President Kenneth Mortimer in budget cuts, public health advocates say.
The summer institute is viewed as a "a signature part of what we hope will be a new school of public health in the future," Maddock said.
"New Perspectives in Global Health: Integrating Ecological, Social and Biological Sciences" is the theme.