||Core course: Tropical Medicine and Public Health
Germany - Institute of International Health, Berlin
Dr. Hans-Friedemann Kinkel
|About duration and dates:
||15 weeks, including 5 working days rest and recovery.
|Mode of delivery:
Face to face
Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health,
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Augustenburger Platz 1
Augustenburger Platz 1
Campus address: Südring 3b
ph: +49 (30) 450 565 752
fax: +49 (30) 450 565 989
TropEd representative: Dr. Hans-Friedemann Kinkel
|ECTS credit points:
20 ECTS credits
600 student investment time
400 direct contact hours
200 hours student self-study
BAt the end of each of the following modules that together comprise the Core Course, students will be able to do the following:
Module: Introduction and Orientation (1 week) (see also tropEd core course objective 1, 2, 4 & 5)
Setting the Scene:
- Describe the principles and elements of the Master’s Programme in International Health at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the mobility concept of tropEd advanced modules
- Access the university’s facilities and services (e.g. E-mail account, learning platform, library)
- Define and critically reflect the term International Health considering its history
- Apply standards to present effectively
- Communicate sensitively, considering socio-cultural backgrounds and imprints
Module: Concepts and Research Methods (Social Science, Epidemiology/Statistics, Research Design) (3 weeks) (see also tropEd core course objective 1, 2, 3 & 5)
- Describe basic anthropological terms and appraise key concepts and methods with relevance to International Health
- Discuss social factors that determine the health and wellbeing of populations and particularly disadvantaged populations in o called low- and middle-income countries
- Critically reflect on social, socio-cultural and gender-related determinants of health
- Identify and analyse inequalities and inequities and relate them to the determinants of health
- Define and discuss qualitative approaches and methods for research in International Health
- Apply qualitative research methods, set up appropriately designed qualitative research and critically interpret results of qualitative research in the context of International Health
- Explain definitions of basic epidemiological measures and estimators
- Define, distinguish and compare different epidemiological study designs
- Conceptualise an epidemic outbreak investigation
- Critically assess and analyse routine epidemiological data and draw epidemic curves
- Identify and analyse potential confounders and biases in the different study designs and explain ways of minimising them
- Understand the basic concepts and the role of biostatistics in epidemiology
- Describe sampling variation and the way of establishing minimum sample sizes
- Design, implement and analyse data from an epidemiological survey
- Run basic operations of the epidemiological software tools (e.g. STATA)
- Practice questionnaire design, data entry, data analysis and power calculations by using epidemiological software (e.g. STATA)
- Design a basic epidemiological study on a health problem and a study question of choice
- Critically analyse published epidemiological papers
- Apply the thesis guidelines of the Master’s Programme in International Health
- Search biomedical and life science literature databases for a specific research question, and summarise and critically reflect on the results of the literature search
- Formulate International Health relevant research questions and set up a methodologically sound research outline in order to prepare for the proposal development
- Employ principles and methods of scientific writing
- Describe the dimensions of plagiarism and ghost writing, and demonstrate ways to recognise and avoid plagiarism.
Module: Health Problems (Major Endemic Diseases, Child Health, Adolescent Health, Reproductive Health, Adult Health, Environmental Health) (6 weeks) (see also tropEd core course objective 1, 2, 3 & 5)
Diseases of International Health Relevance:
- Describe, recognise and differentiate diseases with international health relevance including disease patterns, transmission cycles as well as principles and practices of prevention, treatment and control
- Identify and estimate the impact of International Health relevant diseases on society
Disease Control and Prevention:
- Describe and critically analyse treatment, control and prevention strategies related to diseases
- Compare and appraise global disease control initiatives
- Describe basic principles of vaccinology and discuss vaccine preventable diseases
- Identify and describe the most important parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi and vectors of international health relevant diseases
Reproductive and Child Health:
- Identify, describe and analyse major reproductive and child health issues in low-and-middle income societies
- Discuss and critically reflect on sexual and reproductive health related concepts, rights and strategies including maternal mortality, family planning, safe motherhood, management of STI’s, management of gynaecological problems and perinatal health
Other International Health Issues:
- Identify and analyse other international health issues such as chronic/non-communicable diseases, mental health, substance and alcohol use disorders, nutrition, environmental/urban health, etc.
- Debate and appraise the impact and consequences of international health threats and problems challenging the global community.
Health Systems Management and Communication (Health Policy / Planning, Health Economics, Health Promotion, Management (4 weeks) (see also tropEd core course objectives 2, 3, 4 & 5)
Health Care and Health Care Services:
- Describe and critically analyse health care concepts and structures of health care services in so called low-and-middle income countries, e.g. current primary health care strategies, community oriented primary care, district health concepts, and health sector reform approaches
- Identify and analyse the challenges and problems of emergency interventions and humanitarian assistance
- Discuss and evaluate the provision of essential drugs so called in low- and middle-income countries and drugs for neglected diseases.
Health Policy, Planning and Management:
- Discuss, analyse and use the most important policies related to international health, e.g. the concept of health promotion, Health in All Policies, Poverty reduction strategies etc.
- Appraise appropriate strategies, methods and tools for health planning and management
- Design and relate planning and management concepts to different international work settings
- Analyse and manage potential gender-related and intercultural conflicts in group dynamics occurring in international work settings
- Communicate clearly and professionally in international work settings
Health Economics and Financing:
- Identify and evaluate economic and socio-economic factors influencing the health status of populations and the quality of health care services in so called low- and middle-income countries
- Describe, use and assess basic principles, concepts and tools of health economics, health care financing and social security systems
Major Players in International Health:
- Discuss and analyse the roles of governments and other major players and stakeholders in the field of international health
- Critically reflect the role of colonialism and colonial continuities in International Health
- Critically assess and compare guidelines and recommendations of important health policies developed by major organizations in international health.
Focus or specific features:
Characteristics of the Core Course at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin:
- Emphasise on natural and medical sciences (as compared to more social sciences oriented courses)
- International student body originating from all continents (approximately 60% of the students come from so called low- and middle-income countries)
- Well balanced mix of younger and more experienced, medical and non-medical participants mostly at the beginning of their careers. The average age is around 30 years.
- Three written closed book examinations of ca. three hours each (multiple choice and open-ended questions) in week 5, 11 and 15, contributing 63% to the overall mark (i.e. concepts and research methods 21%, health problems and responses 21%, and health systems, management and communication 21%). Immediately after the written exam, there is a discussion of the exams. Written exams are marked within 1-2 weeks and communicated anonymously (using the student ID as identifier) via the learning platform/Email to the students. Students have the chance to have a look at their marked exams again. If needed, exams can also be discussed individually with the programme coordinator.
- One overall oral examination at the end of the Core Course in week 15 assessing the integrative understanding of the Core Course’s major components, contributing 33% to the overall mark (i.e. concepts and research methods 11%, health problems and responses 11%, health systems, management and communication 11%). Students receive the mark of the oral exam immediately after the exam from the office of the Master’s Programme (verbally and via Email).
- One group presentations (Project Management) of 10-15 minutes usually at the end of week 12, contributing 2% to the overall mark. The mark for the group presentation is communicated via the leaning platform/Email in the days after the presentation.
- One essay (Health Economics), usually due at the end of week 13, up to 1200 words, contributing 2% to the overall mark. The essay is marked within one week after the deadline and communicated anonymously via the learning platform/Email.
The student passes the Core Course if the overall mark is 60% or above. If a student has not achieved the pass mark of 60% at the end of the Core Course, he/she is allowed to re-take once those written and/or oral exam parts that were below 60% during the re-taking period mid-January. A second re-take of exams is allowed but may be linked to conditions set by the Committee of Admissions and Degrees, such as re-doing the Core Course or parts of the Core Course (at no extra cost) in the following year and/or using a different type of assessment.
Students receive two grades for the Core Course based on their overall mark:
− A German mark according to the German (absolute) 6 point decimal grading system (1.0 – 1.4excellent/sehr gut]: 90-100%, 1.5 – 2.4 good/gut]: 80-89%, 2.5 – 3.4 satisfactory/befriedigend]: 70-79%, 3.5 – 4.0 sufficient/ausreichend]: 60-60%, 4.1 – 6.0 not sufficient/ungenügend]:
The distribution of the specific content topics/sessions of the of the Core Course at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in relation to the overall tropEd core course sections is as following:
● Introduction and learning skills: ca. 1 ECTS (0.5 to 1.5 ECTS credits), 22 h contact of total 31.5 h SIT
● Concepts, theory and methods for global health research (quantitative and qualitative): ca. 5 ECTS (4.5 to 7.5 ECTS credits), 105 h contact of total 157.5 h SIT
● Global health concerns (e.g. SDGs, health emergencies, communicable and non-communicable diseases, sexual and reproductive health and rights, environmental health, injury), and response strategies: 7.5 ECTS (4.5 to 7.5 ECTS credits), 150 h contact of 225 h SIT.
● Global health policies, health systems, their management, financing and strengthening: ca. 5.5 ECTS (4.5 to 7.5 ECTS credits), 102 h contact of 162 h SIT
● (Exam Procedures incl. Discussions: ca. 1 ECTS, 21 h contact of 24 h SIT)
Learning methods of the course are based on the principles of adult learning and on the lifelong-learning approach adapted to postgraduate programmes. The various skills and knowledge levels within the student group are taken into account and the mutual sharing of thoughts, ideas and competencies is encouraged and facilitated. Different didactic methods include a variety of teaching/learning approaches: Interactive presentations led by lecturers (ca. 60% or 240 h) and students (ca. 2% or 10 h), problem-orientated group work (ca. 7% or 28 h), case studies (ca. 2% or 8 h), seminars including film discussions (ca. 1.5% or 6 h), workshops (ca. 3% or 12 h), laboratory and computer practicals (ca. 9% or 36 h), field work (ca. 1,5% or 6 h) and excursions (ca. 1% or 3 h).
Students are recruited from a variety of backgrounds relevant to International Health. They include medical doctors, nurses, health scientists, public health specialists, pharmacists, dentists, veterinarian, nutritionists, biologists, social scientists, social workers, psychologists, health educators, health programme managers, economists etc.
The programme is open for applicants worldwide. Applications from applicants from so-called low- or middle-income countries are particularly encouraged. Health-related professional experience in so-called low- or middle-income countries is a clear advantage for being accepted for the Core Course.
Minimum entry requirements:
● Completion of a 3-year Bachelor's programme (or equivalent, 180 ECTS credits) in a health-related field (see above-mentioned professions)
● Internationally recognised English proficiency certificate equivalent to a TOEFL score of 550 paper /213 internet /80 online, or IELTS score 6+, or DAAD grade A or B in all categories.
Maximum 50 students per course.
Approximately 45 tropEd MScIH students and 5 doing the Core Course as part of the Diploma of International Health (DIPH) or the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Public Health (DTMPH).
Students and participants must attend 85% of the teaching time/contact time.
The following selection criteria apply:
● Professional background (will be ranked based on closeness to the field of IH/GH)
● First degree results
● Professional experience relevant for International Health
● Professional experience in so-called low- and middle-income countries
● Motivation for the Core Course and/or the Master’s programme in International Health, as explained in a letter of motivation
● Proof of ability of funds to cover tuition fees
● Recommendations by an academic and/or professional body
Complete applications are reviewed and graded according to the selection criteria listed above by the members of the Committee of Admission and Degrees (CAD). Successful applicants who applied during the regular application period receive a letter of acceptance usually around mid May.
4,500.00 € for applicants who are enrolled in the Master’s Programme in International Health (tropEd students)
5,625.00 € for DTMPH and DIPH participants
40-150 € for Stata software license
The German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - DAAD) offers annually 3 full scholarships for the Master’s Programme in International Health of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The deadline for application is 15th October the year prior to the start of the Core Course. Further details can be found here: https://internationalhealth.charite.de/en/application_admission/application_daad_epos_scholarships/
Major changes since initial accreditation:
Major changes since the last accreditation:
● In August 2017, a new course coordinator took over.
● Since 2018 we see an increasing number of applications and also the number of students starting the Core Course rose from 25 in 2017 to 50 in 2019 (35 in 2020 – related to COVID-19) and 50 in 2021
● In 2019 the Statutes of the Master’s programme were revised and aligned to Charités Legal Framework for Studying and Teaching (Rahmenordnung für Studium und Lehre) as well as the Berlin Higher Education Act (Berliner Hochschulgesetz)
● In 2019 a revised structure of fees became effective. The fees for the Core Course rose from 3,500 € to 4,500 €
● In 2019 the Master’s Programme was re-accredited, according to the requirements by the Accreditation Agency for Study Programmes in Health and Social Sciences (“AHPGH - Akkreditierungsagentur im Bereich Gesundheit und Soziales”) for the maximum period of 6 years (until 12/2025) through the Internal Quality Assurance System for Studies and Teaching (Internes Qualitätssicherungssystem von Studium und Lehre) of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
● Since 2020 we have appointed additional academic (1.0 full time equivalent - FTE) and administrative (0.5 FTE) staff. With effect of 2023, we will have 2.0 FTE academic positions and 2.5 FTE administrative positions plus a 0.5 FTE student support position. From 2023 onwards 1.8 FTE academic and 1.5 FTE administrative positions will be open-ended contract positions.
● In 2020 and 2021 (related to the COVID-19 epidemic) the Core Course was delivered successfully fully online. The experience with the online teaching has resulted in more confidence in using online and hybrid (online and face-to-face) delivery modes in teaching. This again allows to recruit more international lecturers and through this to increase the diversity of the faculty.
● Constantly since 2017 the programme of the Core Course has been adapted to new topics (e.g. substance and alcohol use, community oriented primary care, colonial history, development theory, corruption if health, alternative economics, Pandemic preparedness, Influenza & SARS etc.). Since the last accreditation the diversity of the faculty increased (especially regarding gender and origin) and the contact time in teaching during the Core Course has been limited to a maximum of 6 hours per day.
EEach teaching session is evaluated by a weekly standardised evaluation form, available in the learning platform. The coordinator has several oral feedback sessions with the class, additionally students can easily approach the coordinator and administrative staff to ask questions, make suggestions and raise complaints.
The positive feedback outweigh the negative aspects by far:
● General selection of topics and themes, also the timeliness of topics
● Holistic and critical approach of the teaching
● General selection (diversity) of faculty and quality of teaching
● Administrative organisation of the Core Course
● Friendliness, approachability and helpfulness of all academic and administrative staff, as well as the generally caring atmosphere
● Flexibility of the studies
● Students enjoy studying in a diverse and multicultural environment
● Though students enjoy the selection of topics and recognise the importance of each of the topics, many students find the Core Course very dense with too little “breathing space” to digest the contents
● Some students are not very familiar with the written exam style and the multiple choice questions and have difficulties in the beginning. In order to support students to familiarise with the exam style we provide mock exams before each written exam.
● Non-medical students feel sometimes challenged by medical concepts and clinical terminology/jargon (though, we remind lecturers teaching in the health problems section to minimise technical language or where unavoidable provide also colloquial terms).
We have increased our academic as well as administrative staff by 50% FTE in order to provide a more intensive and flexible support to the students. This was also necessary because the number of students has increased significantly since 2017.
In order to afford the staff we need, to offer adequate salaries, and to run the Programme financially stable (the Master’s programme is completely self-funded, i.e. through fees), we need to increase the fees again by 2023.
Based on the very good experiences with Online teaching during 2020 and 2021 we are now making more use of hybrid teaching (see above). While we are more flexible to have lecturers teaching online, we still prefer students coming together in the class room.
As a result of the online teaching, several lecturers have revised their didactic concepts which resulted in more participative and student centred teaching.
Accredited 1998 in Berlin. Re-accredited in September 2006, May 2012 (Lisbon), May 2017 (Munich) and Bagamoyo June 2022. This accreditation is valid untiln June 2027.
We recommend the following textbooks:
● Ruth Bonita, Robert Beaglehole, Tord Kjellström - Basic Epidemiology, 2nd edition (2007, WHO)
● Michael J Campbell - Statistics at Square One (2021, Wiley Blackwell)
● Michael J Campbell - Statistics at Square Two, Understanding Modern Statistical Applications in Medicine (2006, BMJ Books)
● Antony Stewart - Basic Statistics and Epidemiology - A Practical Guide, Fourth Edition (2016, CRC Press)
● David D Celentano, Moyses Szklo - Gordis – Epidemiology, (2019, Elsevier, Inc.)
● Kenneth J Rothman - Epidemiology - An Introduction (2012, Oxford University Press)
● Nick Beeching, Geoff Gill - Lecture Notes - Tropical Medicine (2014, Wiley-Blackwell)
● (Oxford Medical Handbooks) Andrew Brent, Robert Davidson, Anna Seale - Oxford handbook of tropical medicine – (2014, Oxford University Press)
● Camilla Rothe - Clinical Cases in Tropical Medicine, (2014, Saunders Ltd.)
● Edward T. Ryan, David R. Hill, Tom Solomon, Naomi E. Aronson, Timothy P. Endy - Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases (2019, Elsevier)
● Laura Nabarro, Stephen Morris-Jones, David Moore - Peters’ Atlas of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology (2018, Elsevier)
● Richard Wilkinson, Michael Marmot - Social Determinants of Health: the Solid Facts - Second Edition (2003, WHO)
● Commission on Social Determinants of Health - Closing the Gap in a Generation - Health Equity Through Action on the Social Determinants of Health (2008, WHO)
● Erik Blas, Anand Sivasankara Kurup, World Health Organization - Equity, social determinants and public health programmes (2010, WHO)
● Richard Parker, Jonathan García (eds.) - Routledge Handbook on the Politics of Global Health-Routledge (2019)
● Babulal Sethia, Parveen Kumar - Essentials of Global Health (2019, Elsevier Limited)
● Michael H. Merson, Robert E. Black, Anne J. Mills - Global Health - Diseases, Programs, Systems, And Policies (2020, Jones & Bartlett Learning)
● The economics of social determinants of health and health inequalities a resource book (2013, WHO)
|Date Of Record Creation:
||2012-01-19 23:21:49 (W3C-DTF)
|Date Of Record Release:
||2012-01-20 05:38:17 (W3C-DTF)
|Date Record Checked:
|Date Last Modified:
||2023-01-11 13:21:53 (W3C-DTF)