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Columbia University

Menstruation in a Global Context: Addressing Policy and Practice

Columbia University via edX


Over the last decade, menstruation has attracted increased attention as an important public health issue. This has resulted in the proliferation of new research, programs, and policies aimed at tackling the menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) challenges faced by girls, women and others who menstruate. Global advocates are directly combating ongoing menstrual stigma and calling for an end to period poverty around the world.

The objective of this course is to provide learners with a foundation on the global menstruation movement that aims to ensure that the menstrual needs of everyone, everywhere are met. We will review cutting edge menstrual health and hygiene research, programming, and policies being implemented around the world. Through a series of lectures and examples from global experts, participants will gain knowledge and skills on approaches for MHH program design and implementation, research, monitoring and advocacy, with an emphasis on the needs of low-income and vulnerable populations around the world.

The course will seek to answer critical questions such as, why is menstrual health and hygiene important; what are the key components of menstrual health and hygiene (MHH); what are the best practices for designing and delivering MHH programs; what is the existing evidence base for addressing menstruation as a public health issue; what gaps remain in MHH practice, research, and policy. The course will equip students with knowledge on the various research methods being utilized to better understand the experiences of those who menstruate, and on the ways in which advocacy and evidence has served to shift attention to this fundamental issue. Students will also build practical skills related to the design and implementation of MHH programming across the three pillars: materials and supplies; sanitation facilities; and information. This includes exploring the gaps in current MHH research and practice.


This online course has seven sections featuring eleven case studies and numerous guest experts:

  1. Menstruation as a Public Health and Human Rights Issue
  2. Review of Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) Evidence and Gaps
  3. MHH Programming for Adolescent Girls
  4. The MHH Experiences of Women in Low-Resource Settings
  5. MHH Policy and Advocacy
  6. MHH Response in Humanitarian Emergencies
  7. Inclusive MHH Programming and Policies

Taught by

Marni Sommer, DrPH, MSN, RN, Maggie L. Schmitt, MPH and Caitlin Gruer, MPH


4.5 rating at edX based on 17 ratings

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