More than 100 global health academics in central London, unified by the desire to transform the education for health professionals, devoted a day in February 2012 to “Transformative Education for Global Health: Preparing Professionals for an Interdependent World.”
The program [click for pdf] featured workshops, case studies, and opening/closing remarks from Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet and a Commissioner of the 2010 report, “Health Professionals for a New Century: Transforming Education for Health Professionals in an Interdependent World.” He reminded participants of the interdependence of health and health care across the globe and the vital importance (and fragility) of viable healthcare systems.
“In the spirit of transformative education, the floor was open to staff and students of all levels—from undergraduates to heads of institutions—and all disciplines,” said one of the organizers, Dr. Anita Berlin, who is a general practitioner as well as Senior Lecturer and Sub-dean in medical education at the University College London (UCL), the host institution.
The audience reflected the growing spectrum of interest among the various disciplines, but also “a wide range of interpretations” about what is needed for the global health workforce of the future, she reported. Throughout the day, participants considered the role of transformative education as “a continuum—unified by a shared concern for relevance, engagement, social justice and change—with the development of the individual at one end and the activities of entire institutions at the other.”
The program was a collaboration among key “Bloomsbury” institutions–the area of central London with a concentration of academic organizations close to the British Museum: UCL (a multi-faculty research intensive university), The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (world renowned school of public health), The London Centre for International Development (a cross-disciplinary collaboration) and The Institute of Education (the UK’s pre-eminent school of education) .
Erica Wheeler, from Human Resources for Health at WHO Geneva, set the scene by referring extensively to the Health Professional 21 report. She highlighted the maldistribution of health professionals and the many challenges associated with measuring impact and achieving generic global goals, while maintaining local relevance. The rest of the presentations and workshops covered the key topics, offering opportunities to transform global health education from a wide range of perspectives.
Debate was very lively–with some creative, interdisciplinary sparks ignited. In summing up the meeting and thinking ahead, participants agreed to keep the momentum going and look at novel but robust impact evaluations of transformative and inter-disciplinary education.
pdf of 28-page program, including abstracts, case studies, posters, and workshop presentations.
To come: powerpoints of some of the presentations