Applying equity-centered principles in an interprofessional global health course: a mixed methods study Stallwood, Lisa; Adu, Prince A; Tairyan, Kate; Astle, Barbara; Yassi, Annalee
Background: Medical students, practitioners and other health professionals are commonly unprepared to address the many complex issues that emerge while conducting research in the Global South. As a response to identified deficiencies in global health education, a hybrid online/face-to-face multi-institutional credit course was developed based on the equity-centered principles advanced by the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR), namely Authentic partnering, Inclusion, Shared benefits, Commitment to the future, Responsiveness to causes of inequities, and Humility. This study aimed to analyze the extent to which the course was effective in fortifying attitudes consistent with the CCGHR principles; identify successes and challenges; and assess how a course such as this can fill an identified gap. Methods: This interprofessional course was offered to 25 graduate and postgraduate students in various health professions and public health. Faculty were drawn from medicine, public health, nursing and social sciences from four universities in Western Canada. A pre-post retrospective survey, key informant interviews and participant observation were used to gather data for this study. Results: Findings showed that student attitudes regarding global health research and practice significantly evolved towards views consistent with the principles articulated. The multiple instructors and hybrid course format created both opportunities and challenges; the interprofessional nature of the cohort was considered a strong asset, as was the fact that many students came from the Global South. Some students suggested that the course could be further strengthened by concretely partnering with institutions in the Global South rather than offered solely to learners registered in universities in the Global North. Conclusions: While weaknesses were identified, results support the conclusion that a course focused on the CCGHR principles could be useful in preparing the next generation of global health researchers and practitioners to mitigate historical limitations in this field. Longitudinal follow-up is warranted to provide more definitive conclusions.
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