Training the next generation of global health experts: experiences and recommendations from Pacific Rim universities

Globalization and Health
http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/
[Accessed 25 June 2016]

.
Research
Training the next generation of global health experts: experiences and recommendations from Pacific Rim universities
Mellissa Withers, David Press, Heather Wipfli, Judith McCool, Chang-Chuan Chan, Masamine Jimba, Christopher Tremewan and Jonathan Samet
Published on: 23 June 2016
Abstract
Background
Finding solutions to global health problems will require a highly-trained, inter-disciplinary workforce. Global health education and research can potentially have long-range impact in addressing the global burden of disease and protecting and improving the health of the global population.
Methods
We conducted an online survey of twelve higher education institutions in the Pacific Rim that spanned the period 2005–2011. Program administrators provided data on program concentrations, student enrollment and student funding opportunities for 41 public health programs, including those specific to global health.
Results
The Master of Public Health (MPH) was the most common degree offered. A growing demand for global health education was evident. Enrollment in global health programs increased over three-fold between 2005–2011. Very few institutions had specific global health programs or offered training to undergraduates. Funding for student scholarships was also lacking.
Conclusions
The growing demand for global health education suggests that universities in the Pacific Rim should increase educational and training opportunities in this field. Schools of medicine may not be fully equipped to teach global health-related courses and to mentor students who are interested in global health. Increasing the number of dedicated global health research and training institutions in the Pacific Rim can contribute to building capacity in the region. Faculty from different departments and disciplines should be engaged to provide multi-disciplinary global health educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. New, innovative ways to collaborate in education, such as distance education, can also help universities offer a wider range of global health-related courses. Additional funding of global health is also required.