Title: Global Health Fundamentals I (equivalent to Core Course for the tropEd Master of International Health)
Country: Spain
Institution: Spain - Barcelona Institute for Global Health - University of Barcelona
Course coordinator: Dr. Nuria Casamitjana
Date start: 2024-09-13
Date end: 2024-12-19
About duration and dates: Approximately 12 weeks of study (classes run Mondays to Fridays from 9:00h – 13:30h, with a 30 min. break).
Classification: core course
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location:
University of Barcelona
Faculty of Medicine
C/ Casanova, 143
08036 Barcelona, Spain
ECTS credit points: 20 ECTS credits
SIT: 500 hours SIT (approximately 1/3 of which are contact hours)
Language: English

Core courses introduce students to the fundamentals of international /& global health as stated in the following aims: By the end of the core course students should be able to…

• critically reflect on the collection, analysis and appraisal of qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care equity.

• identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health concerns of populations in a trans-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle-income settings and on global level

• propose sustainable improvements of health systems addressing inequities and considering diverse intercultural settings as well as social, legal and ethical responsibilities.

• describe the role, decision-making process and impact of global health policy actors

• collaborate and clearly communicate in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural setting
Focus or specific features:

Learning Objectives related to the tropEd aim, “Critically reflect on the collection, analysis and appraisal of qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care equity:”
By the end of the core course students should be able to:
• Critically interpret and evaluate relevant literature on global health.
• Describe, manage and analyse basic global health quantitative data.
• Use statistical tools applied to global health
• Estimate the expected impact of global health interventions.
• Describe how quantitative and qualitative methods can contribute to the design, implementation and evaluation of global health interventions.
• Develop tools for collecting quantitative and qualitative data.
• Explain the process of analysing quantitative and qualitative data and interpret the results of quantitative and qualitative studies.
• Describe how to develop disease surveillance and how to interpret surveillance data.
• Understand the basic stages of the investigation of a disease outbreak.

Learning Objectives related to the tropEd aim, “Identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health concerns of populations in a trans-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle-income settings and on global level”:
By the end of the core course students should be able to…

• Identify and understand the principal determinants that influence population health in different parts of the world.
• Describe the methodology used to identify and measure the impact of health determinants and health inequalities.
• Incorporate knowledge of health determinants and inequalities into the design of policies and interventions.
• Describe the burden of diseases that affects low and middle-income societies and their determinants /risk factors.
• Describe prevention, control & management of major health concerns of populations in low- middle- income settings.

Learning Objectives related to the tropEd aim, “Propose sustainable improvements of health systems addressing inequities and considering diverse intercultural settings as well as social, legal and ethical responsibilities”:
By the end of the core course students should be able to…

• Describe the principal components of health systems and their particularities in LMIC
• Describe how and by whom global health policies are formulated, as well as their principal implications for health systems and programmes in LMIC.
• Be able to identify the principal stakeholders, including organizations, public and private, which play an important role in global health issues, and their interrelations with health policies and systems.
• Analyse successful experiences in the formulation of policies and the organization of health systems in LMIC.

Learning Objectives related to the tropEd aim, “describe the role, decision-making process and impact of global health policy actors.”:
By the end of the core course students should be able to…

• Discuss the history and the present of the global architecture of global health.
• Identify who formulates global health policies and how these policies are formulated, as well as the implications of these policies for health systems and programs at national, regional and global level.
• Explain the principal components of health systems and the differences between systems in both developed and developing countries.
• Describe the main agencies and organizations, public and private that take on a significant role in health systems.
• Illustrate how health programmes and interventions can be integrated into a health system.

Learning Objectives related to the tropEd aim, “collaborate and clearly communicate in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural setting”:
By the end of the core course students should be able to…

• Formulate strategies to obtain information critical to developing solutions that address global health problems.
• Develop strategies to solve global health problems by integrating complex information from diverse disciplines with a trans-disciplinary approach.
• Apply knowledge and transferable skills in the field of global health.
• Work in multidisciplinary teams to find and implement solutions that address principal global health problems and challenges, with professional ethics and respect for human rights.
• Effectively communicate in a multi-cultural way the results of health interventions or evaluations.
During the course, research techniques are taught and critical thinking is practiced so students can analyse and interpret data in order to enlarge global health knowledge and to contribute to evidence-informed design, implementation and evaluation of health policies, programs and interventions.

The core course also includes skill-building seminars relevant for global health career development.
Assessment Procedures:
The grading system is expressed as a numeric score up to one decimal, out of 10.

1. A monitoring system will be used to control class attendance. Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of sessions in order to be admitted for evaluation .
2. Each module of the core course will assess the acquisition of its specific learning objectives in terms of knowledge / skills / competencies
3. Final assessment of the “core course” to assess the integration of the different blocks/modules: students must complete a case study-based paper addressing 5 questions related to the core course content.
4. The final grade of the core course, will be calculated as follows:
a. 80% of the average of the five modules grades weighted by number of credits of each one
b. 20% of the grade of the final exam.

Detailed information on assessments of the five modules integrating the core course follows.

Global Health Challenges:

Evaluation is based on individual and group work. Each group will develop the profile of a LMIC using a global health approach (see Annex 1 for a description a country profile development).

1. Individual: Level of student participation in classroom (10% of final grade
2. Group work I: Three short oral presentations presenting the progress done constructing the country profile. (45% of the final grade).
3. Group work II: Written work summarizing the country profile, integrating what groups have presented in the classroom plus the comments from the faculty and other classmates. (45% of the final grade). This exercise requires writing a maximum of 1,500 words, plus an additional page of bibliographical reference.

The instructions for students and the rubric associated to this course are included as examples in Annex 1 and 2.

Resit: Students who fail will be given an opportunity to resubmit their written work incorporating the feedback form the faculty within 15 days after first grade communication.

Health Systems & Policies

Evaluation is based on individual and group work.

1. Case studies (20%):
At the beginning of the course, students will be presented with case studies that analyse country health systems. Each case will be assigned to a group of 7-8 people, who will apply all of the course concepts to that case, through the response to a series of pre-established questions. Each group will be assigned a date to present collective group work via a PowerPoint presentation (4 slides) on four questions concerning the country case study, announced in advance.

2. Abstract/ written work (40%):
Each student must complete a written abstract (250 words) summarizing the main features of the health system(s) of the country case studies based on the main responses to the total set of questions asked, for his/her specific country case.

3. Two online multiple-choice exams of 10 questions each (40%), and at the middle of the course and the other one at the end. Each exam represents 20% of the grade. Each exam will be graded separately.

Students who fail to pass the evaluation in the first opportunity will be asked to pass a written exam to answer 5 open-ended questions in two hours.


The evaluation will be assessed individually according to the following criteria:

• The final grade will be calculated as the mean of the scores of two different exercise packages: a) quizzes (40%) and b) practice assignment (60%). Each package score needs to be 4 or higher out of 10 to calculate the mean. The final grade required to pass is 5 or higher out of 10.

Resit: The student with a global score less than 5.0 will be required to undertake an extra quiz or practical work with questions about all session contents.

Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Students in the course will be evaluated individually with a written exam. The exam will cover all topics of the course and will contain 25 questions. 20 of the questions will be multiple choice and 5 will be open-ended. Each of the multiple choice question weights 1 out of 30, and each of the open-ended questions 2 out of 30.

Resit: Students who do not pass the first exam will be asked to do a similar exam (number and type of questions, similar duration) with different questions.

Fundamentals of Qualitative Health Research

Evaluation is based on individual and group-based work.

• Group Work at the end of the course: Group presentation (11 slides) of discussion on applicability of findings of specific group-assigned qualitative research report to inform global health policy, programs and field operations (40%).

• Individual test: A multiple-choice test including 20 questions from mandatory readings will be done during the last session hour (60%).

Resit: Students failing to pass will have the possibility of undergoing a second examination after a face-to-face meeting with the course coordinator to assess reasons for poor performance and agree on a personalised action plan to maximise performance.

Communication of grades from all courses include written and/or oral feedback of each evaluation component to the students.

Final Integrated Exam (20% of the core course)

The final integrated exam will be an open-book exam. Based on a case study made available to students at least one week in advance, they will need to answer 5 open-ended questions, one per each of the courses that form the core course.

Resit: students failing the core course exam will be given the opportunity to do a second exam based on the same case study, but with 5 different questions.
1. Introduction and orientation (0,5 ECTS –included within hours attributed to the following blocks)

• Introduction and orientation will start online 3 before the onset of the teaching sessions and will continue both online and face-to-face until 6 weeks of the course have been reached.
• Three weeks before starting the sessions, students will be asked to enrol in the virtual campus (based on a moodle platform), where orientation material (documents, references, tutorials) will be available to induce them into the program.
• Before starting the sessions, students will be invited to join the Facebook Alumni page so they can interact with current and past students, an ask for peer advice and academic and practical matters.
• During this period prior to the start of the sessions, students will receive regular communications via the virtual campus (accessible in the moodle platform but also directly received in their e-mailn addresses) on practical and logistic information and how to get ready for the course. They can also ask questions to the program coordination.
• The students will attend an initial 2-hour session with directors and coordinators of the programme for an overall introduction to the course and the different blocks.
• During the first 6 weeks of the program, each student will be scheduled to have at least 1 tutorial meeting with a member of the program coordination, to discuss their adaptation to the course dynamics, and their choices in relation to advance modules and final project topic and supervisor. Options for future career development may also be discussed. Students will undergo at least one meet each, but can request additional interviews as needed, even beyond the first 6-week period.
• On Fridays throughout the duration of the module, students will attend seminars and skill-building workshops on topics related to global health. During the first weeks of the course students will attend introductory seminars on how to develop a research project.

2. Concepts and research methods

• Biostatistics (100 h SIT, 4 ECTS)
• Fundamentals of epidemiology (50 h SIT, 2 ECTS)
• Qualitative methods (37.5 h SIT, 1.5 ECTS)

Total = 7.5 ECTS

3. Health problems and responses

• Global health challenges (100 h SIT, 4 ECTS)
• Fundamentals of epidemiology (37.5 h SIT 1.5 ECTS)
• Qualitative methods (37.5 h SIT, 1.5 ECTS)

Total = 7 ECTS

4. Health systems and policies, management and communication

• Health systems and policy (100 h SIT, 4 ECTS)
• Fundamentals of epidemiology (37.5 h SIT, 1,5 ECTS)

Total = 5,5 ECTS

For details, see table 1

In addition to the modules indicated in the required blocks, students must attend Friday workshops and seminars that are part of these courses and cover topics including: introduction to research proposal development, communication and presentation skills, scientific writing, quotation and referencing systems, teamwork and leadership skills.

Global Health Fundamentals I focuses on participative learning methods and, in addition to expert lectures, encourages course coordinators and professors to focus their teaching methodology on:
• Discussion & Debate;
• Assessment of readings;
• Calculus exercises;
• Data exploitation and analysis;
• Case study analysis

In participating in such activities, either individually or through group work, students build the transferable skills and gain core knowledge and competencies necessary in the field of global health.

Specific learning method and activities may vary between the five courses that make up Global Health Fundamentals I module, depending on the type of content covered in each course.

Currently, rubrics are provided to students to be informed about assessments of all courses/modules.

The UB Moodle platform is used for communication with students, sharing all course information and materials, to upload written submission and perform online tests.

Entry requirements:

o Candidates must apply through the University of Barcelona website and provide verification of their academic qualifications, i.e. Bachelor diploma and transcript as indicated in the website.

o In addition, candidates have to complete a standard University of Barcelona application form and must provide the following documentation:
o A detailed curriculum vitae.
o A motivation letter.

Language requirements:

The Master is taught entirely English. Candidates who do not speak English as their mother tongue will be asked to demonstrate their language level.

Non-native English speaking tropEd candidates must provide an English language level TOEFL test 550 or 213 computer-based or 79/80 internet-based or IELTS band 6.0 or equivalent. An interview in English is compulsory

The maximum number of students accepted in this program is 30. There is not limit for the number of tropEd students within the total accepted.

Applications that meet the pre-requisites will be accepted for the selection process.

A panel made up of the program directors and program coordinators will review all applications. Students will undergo a pre-selection to make sure they meet the pre-requisites and have submitted all the required documents (including letters of recommendation, C.V. and letters of motivation). Pre-selected students will be interviewed and candidates will be finally selected based on:

1. CV and previous grades
2. Past work / study experience;
3. Plans to apply skills and knowledge gained through the Master as discussed in the letter of motivation and the interview; and
4. Recommendations from professional or academic reference.

In the event of over-subscription, the best candidates based on previous criteria will be selected.
Fees: 2023-2024 tuition for the core course Fundamentals of Global Health I is 3.500 € or 175€ per ECTS credit plus university taxes (around 80 €).
Scholarships: Scholarships are currently not available
Major changes since initial accreditation: There have not been major changes regarding the structure of the core course since its re-accreditation in 2014. However, feed-back received from students in courses evaluation has been integrated to improve content and methodology whenever needed.

Major changes in other areas include:

• The program is not bilingual anymore and now English is the only working language.
• The learning objectives and course contents have been adapted according to the reformulated aims approved by tropEd
• The format of the first course, Global Health Challenges, was changed from mostly a disease-based approach, to a perspective based on disease groups and crosscutting issues.
• Additionally, content on fundamentals of health determinants was reinforced in the same first course, Global Health Challenges.
• The time tables of the courses on Biostatistics and Fundamentals of Epidemiology were revised in order to make them more complementary to each other, as advised from students’ feedback.
• Student’s participation has a lower weight in the student’s assessment overall, as advised by the students’ feedback.
• Regarding assessment of the different courses that integrate the “core course” feed back from students was very useful to improve in defining assessment tools. Currently, all courses have developed specific rubrics that facilitate grading of students
• The UB Moodle platform has been increasingly used to interact with students
Student evaluation: Student feedback is collected for each course in the Master’s degree via an online survey, as well as through face-to-face sessions with course coordinators at the end of each course.

Overall, students have been rating the core course 4 points or over out of 5 in the last 5 years.
During face-to-face feedback sessions, students have also assessed the course positively, although expressed concerns about the workload involved. Mentoring and tutorial sessions, including support for time management skills, were reinforced to help students deal with the program requirements.
Students also preferred course programs with not too many teachers and greater presence of the course coordinators in the classroom. In that sense, the syllabi and faculty allocation to sessions was revised to make course session more consistent.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in September 2012 and re-accredited in November 2014 and in June 2019 in Umea, Sweden. This accreditation is valid until June 2024.
Email Address: nuria.casamitjana@isglobal.org
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-10-09 03:46:32 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2012-10-09 04:24:05 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2019-09-02 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2024-06-11 10:18:22 (W3C-DTF)