Richard Skolnik – Author of Global Health 101, Third Edition
In April 2016, Unite for Sight asked me to facilitate a workshop on teaching global health at its annual Global Health and Innovation Conference. This followed a similar workshop I led in April 2014.
The aims of the 90-minute workshop were to exchange ideas about:
- How teachers and students might keep up to date in such a rapidly changing field
- Some of the key value and content issues in teaching global health
- How participants might get better access to selected global health “experts”
More than 70 people participated in the workshop—mostly instructors, along with a handful of students. A few were involved in a range of other activities, such as coordinating nursing or residency programs in global health.
The participants graciously and freely exchanged ideas. This report cannot do justice to the richness of the ideas that were raised. However, it tries to highlight some of the most important points that emerged from the discussion, especially on how to stay current on key global health issues and what new resources might best aid teaching and learning.
Keeping up to Date
New global health information and data emerge daily and keeping up in the field can be daunting for faculty and students alike. However, participants in the meeting pointed to a number of sources they use to keep up to date, without being overwhelmed. These include:
The Kaiser Family Foundation daily newsletter on global health – One can sign up for it at http://kff.org/
Global Health Now – One can subscribe to this daily newsletter at http://www.globalhealthnow.org/
Childsurvival.net – One can subscribe to a daily newsletter at http://childsurvival.net/?content=com_frontpage
People might also wish to consult the Global Health Hub at http://www.globalhealthhub.org/
Dr. Greg Martin does a weekly You Tube video on key global health topics, often including an interview with important global health actors. These can be both informative and fun for faculty and students alike.
Unite for Sight regularly hosts webinars on a range of global health topics and has an online Global Health University.
The Consortium of Universities for Global Health has an extensive array of learning modules/presentations on global health
Those who use Twitter will want to follow at least Amanda Glassman from the Center for Global Development. Amanda tweets daily about new studies and other information on Global Health.
I have also blogged about teaching global health and am about to restart such blogging on a regular basis. In my blog, I try to highlight information about resources that are valuable for teaching global health.
Some New and Valuable Resources that Can Aid Teaching Global Health
The participants in the session came from a range of disciplines with a substantial number who were not aware of two key resources on global health investments that have recently been published and another that has been out for some time. These resources can be used by instructors to address key content areas for their courses.
The Center for Global Development recently published Millions Saved 3 online. This is the third and completely revised edition of a widely used collection of cases on “what works in global health.” This edition moves substantially beyond the well-known success stories on disease control and includes cases on a wide range of global health activities, including vaccinating against meningitis in Africa; providing anti-retroviral therapy in Botswana; reducing tobacco consumption in Thailand; and, results-based financing to strengthen health systems in Argentina. Some faculty have used earlier versions of Millions Saved as a textbook or casebook.
(Disclosure: I am on an editorial advisory group for this book).
The Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition should be fundamental for anyone teaching or studying global health and can be found at http://dcp-3.org/.
This effort builds on DCP1 and DCP2, which were published in 1993 and 2006. The third edition aims to provide the most current evidence on the efficacy of interventions that can address the leading burdens of disease. This edition “goes beyond previous efforts by providing systematic economic evaluation of policy choices affecting the access, uptake, and quality of interventions and delivery platforms for low-and middle-income countries.” DCP3 also introduces extended cost-effectiveness analysis that seeks to account for equity and financial protection issues. DCP3 will present its findings in nine volumes, several of which have already been published, such as the volumes on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; cancer; mental, neurological, and substance abuse disorders; and essential surgery.
Participants were also pleased to hear more about USAID’s Global Health eLearning Center. Faculty and students can find here a range of “interactive mini-courses” on key global health topics.
I also pointed out that there are now a large number of global health courses online that instructors can use to supplement their classes. For example, I am teaching a a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Yale through Coursera that will launch this fall. The course is a comprehensive introduction to global health, with “summary classroom sessions” on a wide range of key global health topics.
Bringing Expertise into the Classroom
Many of the participants in the meeting noted the difficulty of bringing into the classroom—either virtually or physically—guest speakers who are at the top of their game on key global health issues. High demand, lack of time, complicated travel schedules, and the fact that many faculty have limited connections with such people are among the barriers to incorporating reputable guest speakers.
After some discussion, the participants agreed that I would personally work to develop an online set of presentations and/or moderated discussions that would feature speakers of excellence. It was also agreed that I would do this in conjunction with Unite for Sight. The aim would be to establish a platform that would allow such information to be updated annually and always be accessible online. I am now working with Unite for Sight on this effort in hopes of having a number of presentations available for January 2017, at the latest.
Richard Skolnik has worked over 40 years in international development and global health. After 25 years at the World Bank, he spent 8 years teaching global health at The George Washington University. He recently retired from five years at Yale University, where he taught global health courses in Yale College, the Yale School of Public Health, and the Yale School of Management. Richard is the author of Global Health 101, Third Edition.
Ms. Lindsey Hiebert provided valuable comments on the draft of this blog.