Global Health Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Challenges, Adaptations, and Lessons Learned

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  • 1 Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • | 2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • | 3 Internal Medicine, Allina Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • | 4 Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • | 5 Internal Medicine HealthPartners, St. Paul, Minnesota;
  • | 6 Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota;
  • | 7 Emergency Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Global health education programs should strive continually to improve the quality of education, increase access, create communities that foster excellence in global health practices, and ensure sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the University of Minnesota’s extensive global health education programs, which includes a decade of hybrid online and in-person programing, to move completely online. We share our experience, a working framework for evaluating global health educational programming, and lessons learned. Over the decades we have moved from a predominantly passive, lecture-based, in-person course to a hybrid online (passive) course with an intensive hands-on 2-week requirement. The pandemic forced us to explore new active online learning models. We retained our on-demand, online passive didactics, which used experts’ time efficiently and was widely accessible and well received. In addition, we developed a highly effective synchronous online component that we felt replaced some of the hands-on activities effectively and led us to develop new and innovative “hands-on” experiences. This new, fully online model combining quality asynchronous and synchronous learning provided many unanticipated advantages, such as increasing access while decreasing our carbon footprint dramatically. By sharing our experience, lessons learned, and resources, we hope to inspire other programs likewise to innovate to improve quality, access, community, and sustainability in global health, especially if these innovations can help decrease negative aspects of global health education such as its environmental impact.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Kristina Krohn, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. SE, MMC 741, Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail: kroh00040@umn.edu

Financial support: This work was supported by the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Educational Innovation Grant.

Disclosure: The University of Minnesota Global Medicine program is funded through registration fees from course participants, institutional agreements, and support from the University of Minnesota. W. M. S. has royalties for an UpToDate chapter and a one-time honorarium for educational consultation to Fishawack/BioEmergent Technologies.

Authors’ addresses:Kristina Krohn, Michael A. Sundberg, Adriana Dhawan, and Hope Pogemiller, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, and Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, E-mails: kroh00040@umn.edu, msundberg@umn.edu, dhawa027@umn.edu, and poge0008@umn.edu. Nasreen S. Quadri, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, and Internal Medicine, Allina Health, XXXXX, MN, E-mail: quadr015@umn.edu. William M. Stauffer, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, and Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, MN, E-mail: stauf005@umn.edu. Viviane Tchonang Leuche, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, E-mail: tchon002@umn.edu. Sarah Kesler, Alma Habib, Beth Scudder, and Sarah Sponsler, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, E-mails: kesle002@umn.edu, habib043@umn.edu, bscudder@umn.edu, and radic011@umn.edu. Tsige H. Gebreslasse and Brett Hendel-Paterson, Global Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, and Internal Medicine HealthPartners, St. Paul, MN, E-mails: tgebrela@umn.edu and bhendel@umn.edu. Megan K. Shaughnessy, Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, MN, E-mail: megan.shaughnessy@hcmed.org. Bobbi Pritt, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, E-mail: pritt.bobbi@mayo.edu. Stephen Dunlop, Emergency Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, MN, E-mail: stephen.dunlop@hcmed.org.

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