Strengthening our health policy and systems courses
The Institute of Public Health Bengaluru (IPH) and ITM’s Department of Public Health have been working together on health policy and systems (research) in the frame of joint research and capacity development projects for more than 10 years. With the aim of strengthening the health system and health policy-related courses at ITM, a new longer-term collaboration between IPH Bengaluru and ITM has been established that includes external lecturer mobility (from IPH Bengaluru to ITM) and co-development of course material.
Between February and April 2023, IPH staff members Prashanth NS, Pragati Hebbar, Neethi Rao, and Vamsi Krishna Boyanagari contributed to lectures, coaching, and student assessments, either online or in person in the advanced course components Health Policy and Systems Research Methodology, Health Policy and Governance and Achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030: the Health Financing and Social Protection Challenges.
The teams not only benefitted from sharing experiences, teaching material and illustrations; such an exchange also contributes to keeping ITM’s MPH programme updated to the ever-changing realities of its participants, while it provides the IPH Bengaluru team with opportunities to strengthen its academic relations with ITM’s staff.
“Some of us teaching in these courses are also alumni of ITM. It’s a great opportunity for us to give back something to our alma mater, as former students. Also, bringing in more experiences from low- and middle-income countries to the ITM course curricula will surely enhance its relevance as most of the student body comes from LMIC”
IPH Assistant Director
Professor of HPSR research methodology
Health policy researcher Neethi Rao mentions about her online teaching experience: “I was certainly enriched by the high-quality discussions in the classroom. They built on the diverse experiences of both the faculty as well as the students.”
“I had the privilege of teaching health financing to a group of highly engaged and motivated students. Throughout the course, I was impressed by the students' active participation in group discussions, debates, and assignments. These teaching methods allowed them to explore key concepts in health financing and relate them to real-world contexts, enabling a deeper understanding of the diverse pathways countries are taking towards achieving Universal Health Coverage”, states Vamsi Krishna Boyanagari, IPH’s Assistant Director Education.
“It was thought-provoking and refreshing to engage with the diverse cohort and faculty. The mix of learning approaches including in-person and online lectures, self-reading, skill lab group discussions and coaching sessions was an enriching experience. It provided ample time and space to engage with the students, and help them apply the course contents”, reports PhD scholar Pragati Hebbar.
This educational collaboration between IPH and ITM has been partially supported by the Alliance for Education in Tropical Medicine and International Public Health, facilitating the development of joint educational projects and the participation of staff members from partner institutions and alumni in ITM courses. For ITM Professor Bruno Marchal, co-course director, “this collaboration paves the way for more formalised, long-term agreements with our partners, which are central to the quality of our MSC in Public Health and the short courses.”
For the next academic years to come, further course development are on the agenda. Expected spin-offs could be envisaged in relation to other health system and policy courses being organised by and with the Alliance.
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