Fifteen years of the tropEd Masters in International Health programme: what has it delivered? Results of an alumni survey of masters students in international health

L. Gerstel1, P. A. C. Zwanikken1, A. Hoffman2, C. Diederichs3, M. Borchert3 and B. Peterhans2

1 Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charite – Universit€atsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Objectives In 2010–2011, recent graduates (2008 or earlier) of the Masters in International Health (MIH) (as offered by over 30 universities and institutions collaborating in the tropEd network) were surveyed. We aimed to examine whether the competencies gained proved appropriate for alumni’s current positions and to develop the programme according to alumni’s needs.

Methods An online questionnaire was sent to 327 alumni. One hundred and seventy-seven responded and 99 met the inclusion criteria. We calculated frequency distributions of the answers and performed a bivariate analysis of certain variables.

Results Alumni feel confident in all areas covered by the MIH. Most competencies acquired are perceived as essential or very relevant to their current position. Many respondents (77%) changed jobs after graduation, mostly from curative care to public health. More African and Asian alumni work in their country of origin (66% and 63%, respectively) than alumni from other continents (42%). The respondents had mostly worked at a national or provincial level, but after graduating mostly worked at international or national level. Alumni said that the network’s mobility and flexibility had important advantages and disadvantages.

Conclusions This is the first alumni survey of the MIH programme offered through the international network tropEd. The results suggest that competencies gained by graduates are relevant for their current careers. We recommend offering better guidance to students planning modules and to improve administration.

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