The first edition of the International Summer School on Advanced Methods in Global Health, which was held online from 6 to 10 September 2021, reached a large and very diverse audience. This interdisciplinary training programme, developed within the framework of ISGlobal’s Severo Ochoa accreditation, drew a total of 300 students from more than 50 countries, with 75% of attendees representing low- and middle-income countries. In addition, thanks to support from the Severo Ochoa programme, 90% of the students were able to attend the course free of charge.
The programme consisted of six modules offered over three different time slots. Each student was able to attend three modules. The aim was to provide an in-depth look at cross-cutting methods for global health, including health impact assessments, eHealth, biomedical data science and the exposome. The programme also addressed key challenges in global health—such as climate change, the disruptive impact of infectious diseases on society and other challenges of our time—through a planetary health approach.
“Every day it is becoming more evident that we need a global perspective to manage the big issues affecting our societies, including COVID-19, climate change, loss of biodiversity, global inequalities and so many more,” commented Manolis Kogevinas, scientific director of the Severo Ochoa programme at ISGlobal. “We need well-trained professionals to address these challenges and I am confident that promoting innovative international courses on methods for global health helps us move in this direction.”
On completion of the programme, students expressed satisfaction in the final evaluation. Melina Aveiro, a participant from Argentina, highlighted the diverse backgrounds of the teaching staff as a key point for incorporating new visions and understanding participants’ different realities. Isabelle Munyangaju, a participant from Mozambique, described the programme as “a leap into the near future for students from low-income countries” like hers. “It introduced me to topics we should start looking into, such as health impact assessments and how the findings impact health policies,” she added. Virgilio António, also from Mozambique, highlighted “the opportunity to learn from other colleagues about how they deal with public health concerns in their countries”, and Rajna Mishra, a participant from India, overcame an initial reluctance to attend an intensive online course thanks to the “highly enriching, enjoyable and interactive experience”.
The expansion and consolidation of ISGlobal’s education portfolio and the development of e-learning options are among the central components of the Institute’s Severo Ochoa programme. The second edition of the International Summer School on Advanced Methods in Global Health will be offered in 2022, with new modules on different topics.