Global health education during the COVID-19 pandemic: challenges, adaptations and lessons learned

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Am J Trop Med Hyg. October 11, 2021: tpmd210773. doi: 10.4269 / ajtmh.21-0773. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Global health education programs should continually strive to improve the quality of education, increase access, create communities that promote excellence in global health practice, and ensure durability. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the University of Minnesota’s extensive global health education programs, which includes a decade of hybrid online and in-person programming, to go completely online. We share our experience, a framework for evaluating global health education programs and lessons learned. Over the decades, we have moved from a primarily passive, lecture-based in-person course to an online (passive) hybrid course with an intensive 2-week practical requirement. The pandemic has forced us to explore new, active e-learning models. We kept our passive online on-demand didactic, which made efficient use of expert time and was widely accessible and well received. In addition, we have developed a very efficient synchronous in-line component which we believe effectively replaced some of the hands-on activities and led us to develop new innovative ‘hands-on’ experiences. This new, fully online model of combining quality asynchronous and synchronous learning has provided many unanticipated benefits, such as increased access while dramatically reducing our carbon footprint. By sharing our experience, lessons learned and resources, we hope to inspire other programs to also innovate to improve the quality, access, community and sustainability of global health, especially if these innovations can help reduce the negative aspects of global health education such as its environmental impact.

PMID: 34634769 | DOI: 10.4269 / ajtmh.21-0773

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