introduction   conference description   participants   location   about armenia   college of health sciences
hotel / accomodation   visa   arrival/departure information   funding   contacts
 
Workshop Report
 

Workshop on Curriculum Development for the
New Schools of Public Health
February 12-16, 2003, Kaunas, Lithuania

Open Society Institute, New York
Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

Introduction

During a meeting at the ASPHER conference in Zagreb (September 2002) OSI/ASPHER representatives of new Schools of Public Health program for Macedonia, Moldova and Georgia met with Noah Simmons, Ted Tulchinsky and Ramune Kalediene. It was decided to develop a workshop to be held in Kaunas, Lithuania, in February 2003, to initiate the process of curriculum development for Master of Public Health degree in these newly developing schools of public health, with other possible participants, such as Georgia, Moldova, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. It was decided to focus on a site visit to the program in Kaunas University of Medicine, evolving from traditional Departments of Social Medicine and Hygiene to a Faculty of Public Health, where the model of Public Health School was developed in the current international sense of the term. The Kaunas Workshop was, in part, a follow up on the conference on developing new schools of public health held in Jerusalem in March 2002.

The Workshop was funded by local Open Society Institute (OSI) branches and ASPHER/OSI project.

  1. To observe and study the process of development of the Kaunas SPH in a former Soviet republic in its transition from “Social Hygiene” to the “New Public Health”.
  2. In order to promote a new public health approach in both academic and practice frameworks, in keeping with accepted international standards:
    • a. To propose a core curriculum structure for a MPH program for adaptation/modification within each of new schools of public health based on experience and conditions of each nation.

      b. To identify career paths and potential employers for MPH graduates.

      c. To identify the support needed by graduates to meet expectations of potential employers in the development of the new public health.

      d. To assess and promote the impact of a core curriculum, duration and timing of studies, the cost of the education, availability of part time study for currently employed public health workers, networking of graduates and “lobbying” for future carrier development of the graduates.

Planning and organizing

The main responsibility to organize the Workshop was delegated to KMU representative Dean of School of Public Health Professor Ramune Kalediene. Associate professor Linas Sumskas took part as the Workshop co-organizer. The team of faculty members and doctoral students assisted to organizers in organizational process. OSI office in New York and public health coordinator Noah Simmons as well as OSI public health project managers from the participant countries also were involved in the organizational activities of the Workshop.

Representatives of KMU were responsible for developing the Workshop program, recruiting the local lecturers, organizing logistics and social program.

The following organizing activities were provided by KMU:

  • Planning, coordinating and managing the Workshop;
  • The organization of accommodations, coffee breaks and meals for participants during the Workshop;
  • Preparing the Workshop program, offering training facilities (lecturing rooms and computer classes) for the Workshop participants;
  • Offering teaching equipment (overhead projectors, white boards, flip charts, computers and multi-media);
  • Sending the information letters, taking care of Lithuanian visas, providing other correspondence with the course participants and lecturers;
  • Preparing technical papers, notes, Workshop administrative papers (program, lists of participants, lecturers, evaluation forms, certificates, CD-ROM with Workshop materials etc.);
  • Facilitating the use of printing, copying facilities for the participants and lecturers during the Workshop;
  • Arranging the social program (including welcome party, excursion to Kaunas Old Town and the Museum, excursion to Vilnius Old Town);
  • Providing full local and inter Kaunas and Vilnius transportation for the participants of the Workshop;
  • Providing lecturing, group work and other training activities.

Participants and resource persons

20 participant took part in the workshop (see Annex 1): Albania –1, Georgia – 4, Macedonia –2, Moldova – 4, Kazakhstan – 3, Tajikistan – 3, Uzbekistan – 3. 15 participants were faculty members, 4 represented their Ministry of Health and one was representative of local OSI.

The following persons worked as resource persons during the workshop:

  1. Walter Burnett, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, USA;
  2. Sergei Boyarsky, Faculty of Public Health Management, I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow, Russia.
  3. Julien Goodman, Association of Schools of Public Health in European Region (ASPHER), France;
  4. Ramune Kalediene, Faculty of Public Health, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania;
  5. Judy Overall, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University Health Science Center, New Orleans, USA;
  6. Linas Sumskas, Faculty of Public Health, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania;
  7. Ted Tulchinsky, Braun School of Public Health, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel;

Majority of presenters used advanced Power Point computer technology for the demonstration of the illustrative materials. All resource persons have presented for the students the detailed handouts on their presentations, which were copied to CD-ROM’s and distributed to all Workshop participants.

Content and training methods applied in the Workshop

The following topics were presented during the Workshop (see Program in Annex 2):

  • School of Public Health as tool for successful health policy development;
  • The mission statement and core curriculum development;
  • Building Career Paths for MPH Program Graduates;
  • Discussions on Research Forum;
  • Discussions about the needs of health managers in Public Health Training in MPH
    Programs;
  • Integrating and course competencies.

The discussions in working groups were organized took important place. The draft Core Curriculum prepared for Macedonia and the Kaunas experience was examined in the light of existing potential for teaching, career paths for graduates, faculty development and research in the new Schools of Public Health. Basic questions were addressed including the mission statements, and potential impact of the new program in the local environment. The Working groups discussions were organized around for discussion topics:

  • MPH Mission statement and Core Curriculum development;
  • Curriculum/teaching committees and research requirements of MPH program;
  • Career paths and employment opportunities for MPH program;
  • Preparing stakeholders to employ MPH graduates.

Working groups were based on mixed representatives of participating countries and resource persons serving as facilitators. There were two groups: English speaking and Russian speaking. Each group had its own leader and reporters. These reporters were responsible for making short presentations about the results and achievements of the working groups.

 

The evaluation of Workshop: results of the questionnaire survey

Special questionnaires were offered to fill in at the end of the Workshop. 17 participants returned the completed questionnaires. The questionnaire covered basic information about respondents, the ranking of topics, the evaluation of strengths and weakness of the Workshop, and the most wanted topics for future MPH and TOT (trainer of trainers) Workshops. In the evaluation the 17 returned questionnaires were used. The distribution of respondents by country was as following: 4 from Moldova, 3 from Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, 2 from Macedonia and 1 from Albania and Tajikistan.


Fig. 1. The distribution of workshop participants by their position

82% of respondents were faculty members, 12% represented their Ministries of Health and 6% were potential employers of graduates (Fig.1). The participants were asked to rank the Workshop topics according to the usefulness to them. The rank scale varied from most useful to less useful. The means of ranks for each topic of the Workshop are presented Table 1. The most useful topic in this Workshop was “Mission statement and core curriculum development”. In the second place was “The Kaunas Experience”.

1 Table. The most useful topics of the Workshop.

Session and Discussion Titles Means of Ranks
Mission Statement And Core Curriculum Development 6.29
The Kaunas Experience 5.89
Discussion of Faculty Committees 5.47
Building Career Paths for MPH Program Graduates 5.41
Discussion of Research Forums 5.17
Do Health Managers Need Public Health Training in MPH Programs? 4.81
Integrating and course competencies 4.53

2 Table. The topics of the Workshop which should be pursue further.

Session and Discussion Titles
Means of Ranks
Mission Statement And Core Curriculum Development
6.79
Building Career Paths for MPH Program Graduates
6.07
Discussion of Research Forums
6.00
The Kaunas Experience
5.79
Discussion of Faculty Committees
5.57
Do Health Managers Need Public Health Training in MPH Programs?
5.36
Integrating and course competencies
5.21

The less useful topics were “Do health managers need public health training in MPH programs?” and “Integrating and course competencies”. The participants were asked which of the listed Workshop topics should be pursued further. They also had to rank them from the most wanted to the less. The means of ranks for each topic are presented in Table 2. The most wanted topics for future discussion were elected the “Mission Statement and Core Curriculum Development” and “Building Career Paths for MPH Program Graduates”. The less wanted areas were “Do Health Managers Need Public Health Training in MPH Programs?” and “Integrating and course competencies”.

The respondents were asked to list the strengths and weaknesses of the Workshop. The most commonly mentioned strengths and weakness are given in Table 3. Very good organization, well selected Workshop topic and possibility to exchange the information and experience were the major strengths of the Workshop.

3 Table. Strengths and weaknesses of the Workshop.

Strengths
  1. The possibility to exchange the information and experience;
  2. Very good organization (transportation, hospitality etc.);
  3. The possibility to compare the Kaunas experience with experience in different countries;
  4. Good selection of Workshop topics;
  5. Very attentive and pleasant organizational staff;
  6. A lot of possibilities for further collaboration between Workshop participants.
Some
weaknesses
  1. The lack of time for site seeing in Lithuania;
  2. The lack of time for practical work during the Workshop;
  3. The more detailed coverage of topics is recommended;
  4. Difficult to discuss in working groups due to diversity of problems in each country.

Too short cultural and social program and lack of practical work were the major weaknesses of Workshop by opinion of few participants. Also some participants expressed their willingness to extend the discussions on Workshop topics in similar seminars organized in the future.

The participants were asked to write their suggestions for future MPH program development Workshops and TOT (Trainer of Trainers) sessions for MPH programs. The most wanted topics for MPH programs development are presented in Table 4.

4 Table. The topics which could be covered in the future MPH program development Workshops

The main topics
  1. Public health practice and organization of public health system;
  2. Organization of research work and preparation of Master Theses;
  3. Evaluation and assessment of training needs;
  4. Management of the Schools of Public Health;
  5. Recommended fields in the core curriculum of the MPH;
  6. Development of distance learning;
  7. Biostatistics and research methods;
  8. Health economics and management.

The mostly expected curriculum areas for TOT sessions for MPH programs were: research skills development; epidemiology and biostatistics; health economics, management and policy; health promotions; qualitative research methods; medical law; basic of social and behavioral sciences.

General atmosphere of the Workshop was very friendly and supportive. All participants benefited from exchange of information and informal discussions. Workshop provided nice possibility for representatives of different countries to set the plans for further collaboration and bilateral projects. It is expected that such communication will continue in the future and will strengthen development of Schools of Public Health in the Former Soviet countries and Eastern Europe.

Conclusions:

  1. The workshop reached the objectives:
    • the experience of Kaunas Public Health Faculty was used as excellent example, analyzing successes and pitfalls of newly developing SPH;
    • the mission and the core curriculum of SPH was discussed;
    • career paths and employment opportunities for the graduates of SPH were analyzed;
    • future career development of PH professionals was described.
  2. Workshop provided unique possibility for health politicians, representatives of ministries, people from universities and non-governmental organizations, senior and young public health professionals to work together towards common vision of developing SPH, which is sometimes complicated inside the countries.
  3. General atmosphere of the Workshop was very friendly and supportive. The major success of the workshop, as identified by majority of participants was exchange of information and informal discussions. Workshop provided nice possibility for representatives of different countries to set plans for further collaboration and bilateral projects.
  4. It is expected that such communication will continue in the future and will strengthen development of Schools of Public Health in the Former Soviet countries and Eastern Europe.
  5. Kaunas workshop served as good background for continuing project “Building the training capacities for the schools of Public Health in former Soviet Union countries”. By this project Kaunas Faculty of Public Health is going to continue active collaboration in providing consultations, visiting faculty programs, training seminars and distance learning for newly developed Schools of Public Health.

 

Report was prepared by:

Workshop coordinator Prof. Ramune Kalediene
Workshop manager Assoc. Prof. Linas Sumskas
Workshop assistant PhD student Mindaugas Stankunas


© American University of Armenia | Open Society Institute 2003