Title: International Health Core Course
Country: Germany
Institution: Germany - Heidelberg Institute of Global Health, University of Heidelberg
Course coordinator: Anna Munz
Date start: 2024-09-16
Date end: 2024-12-20
About duration and dates: The core course is offered over a period of 14 weeks from September to December every year. University application deadline: 30 April for the same year’s course.
Classification: core course
Mode of delivery: Face to face
Course location: Im Neuenheimer Feld 365, Room 007
69120 Heidelberg, Germany
ECTS credit points: 20 ECTS credits
SIT: Contact hours: 453 SIT
Self-study hours: 147 SIT
Total: 600 SIT
Language: English
Description: By the end of the core course, students should be able to:
- identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health problems of populations in a cross-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle-income societies.
- critically collect, analyse and appraise qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care in low- and middle-income societies.
- plan sustainable improvements of health systems taking diverse intercultural settings as well as social and ethical responsibilities into account.
- clearly communicate and work professionally in a multi-disciplinary team.
Focus or specific features: Description:

Module 1: Creating a Learning Community
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Describe the objectives, content and structure of the Master of Science in International Health programme at Heidelberg University
- Access the facilities and services of Heidelberg University, including information, computer and library sources
- Discuss the basic concepts of group dynamics and apply them effectively when working in teams

Module 2: Introduction to International Health and Health Systems
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Identify the elements, structure, and essential services of health systems in various countries
- Discuss historical perspectives in International Health
- Analyse the impact of political and economic factors on the health status of individuals and populations
- Discuss the roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders in International Health and explore strategies to promote cooperation at the international, national and local levels
- Identify and appraise the impact of endemic infectious and non-communicable diseases in their own country and in other countries of low- and middle-income
- Explain the impact of the demographic change on community health
- Explain the types of health systems and the differences between them

Module 3: Determinants of Health
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Discuss the health challenges faced by individuals at different stages of life and within diverse and evolving community structures
- Identify issues specifically related to reproductive health and infant morbidity and mortality
- Identify issues specifically related to poverty, equity and gender in low- and middle-income countries
- Assess the situation of non-communicable and chronic diseases as well as cancer in low- and middle-income countries
- Explain the basics of drug policy and drug supply in various health systems
- Discuss the principles of medical anthropology
- Explain how a group’s culture influences their health status and health behaviours
- Explain the health impact of exposure to biological and chemical agents, water, noise and air pollution
- Appreciate the impact of globalization on the health status of low-income workers
- Discuss the role of proper nutrition in preventing diseases and in maintaining health

Core Module 4: Qualitative and Quantitative Research Foundations in International Health
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Recognise the importance of epidemiology, bio-statistics and qualitative methods for health management
- Dispose of appropriate epidemiological knowledge to cope with key epidemiological questions within their working environment
- Select and apply appropriate statistical tests to collect data, analyse scientific papers and design research proposals
- Use computers and statistical software for data management and analysis (e.g. Stata)
- Carry out qualitative research on selected questions related to International Health
- Design research programs with appropriate sensitivity to the target community and with adequate protection for the human subjects involved
- Report on qualitative research findings and to present these to an audience using effective methods of presentation
- Design and implement survey instruments for evaluation of health programs
- Assess the quality of data provided by health information systems and indicators

Module 5: Health Policy and Health Economics
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Describe key milestones of international health policy development of the last decades
- Explain the relationship between health policy and the health status of a population
- Identify major stakeholders in policy development for low- and middle-income countries
- Explain basic health economic principles and understand more complex economic concepts and evaluation methods
- Discuss the fundamental concepts of health care financing including health insurance systems
- Identify situations where it is appropriate to use market-based or public/collective systems to provide health care services
- Explain the financial management cycle

Module 6: Health Planning and Management
At the end of this module, participants should be able to:
- Explain the principles of health planning including the development of indicators
- Contribute actively to the planning of health-related programs
- Identify opportunities and methodologies for quality improvement initiatives within a variety of health care settings
- Discuss principles of health management and apply health management-related soft skills like leadership, communication and conflict management
Assessment Procedures: In total, there are three examinations, each contributing one third to the overall core course mark.

1. One closed book written exam of three hours in week 5 covering content of modules 2 and 3.
2. One closed book written exam of three hours in week 10 covering content of module 4 with 70 % of the mark, plus one essay assignment (2500 words) contributing 30 % to the mark.
3. One closed book written exam of three hours in week 13 covering content of module 5 and 6 with 80 % of the mark, plus a group work assignment (20 min group presentation) with 20 % of the mark.

The character of the closed book exam questions varies. It may include:
1. Multiple choice questions
2. “yes” – “no” statements
3. short case scenarios with answers in essay style (up to 10 lines)
4. short case scenarios with small calculations

A maximum of 100 points can be acquired per examination, with a max total of 300 points for all three examinations. Participants are expected to achieve a minimum of 180 points (3x60) (out of 300 points) by the three examinations to pass the core course. If this figure is not achieved, for resit the chance of a fourth written exam is given to the participants, covering the content of the entire core course. The result of this exam is their final grade. If the student fails this exam, he/she cannot be admitted to the final oral exam of the MScIH programme.
Content: The four main categories of the MIH core course as defined by tropEd are:
1. Introduction and orientation
2. Concepts and research methods (4½ - 7½ ECTS)
3. Health problems and responses (4½ - 7½ ECTS)
4. Health systems, management and communication (4½ - 7½ ECTS)
Details please see table 1 (attached).
Methods: The learning methods of the course are based on the principles of adult learning. The various skills and knowledge levels within the participant group are considered and participants are encouraged to share their thoughts, experiences and ideas.

Methods include a variety of teaching/learning approaches:
- Interactive lectures with plenary discussions to introduce knowledge and concepts (48%)
- Group work with group discussion to conceptualise new knowledge and putting the knowledge into practical contexts (32%)
- Seminars and workshops to discuss specific subjects in depths (5%)
- Tutorials/ Computer-based exercises to intensify specific learning with tutors (5%)
- Role plays to apply knowledge in practice (2%)
- Individual presentations with visualisation to train presentation skills (3%)
- Home assignments with individual studies (in total 4 days)
- Sharing and cross fertilization of knowledge among participants (cross-cutting)

Due to the fact that students have different professional backgrounds, we encourage the students to share their experiences with one another.
We take care that lecturers continuously change the learning methods they use and pure theoretical input is limited, though in general every topic is introduced first by a lecture.
Clear group work assignments facilitate group work, the result of which is always presented in plenary.
Prerequisites: The course is open to professionals in the health sector holding a higher academic degree (usually equivalent to a bachelor’s degree after at least 4 years of academic full-time training, accounting for at least 240 ECTS). Applicants must have at least one year of working experience (two years for DAAD scholarships) in the management of health services or programmes in low- and middle-income countries.

Proficiency in the English language is required. Participants for whom English is not their first language must provide evidence
of at least 6.5 IELTS score or a TOEFL computer-based version (CBT) score of at least 237, or an internet-based version (IBT) score of at least 92-93.
Exemption from this requirement may be granted to those who completed higher education in the English language.
Maximum 25 participants per course, no limit for tropEd students
Selection: Based on application documents (grades first degree, recommendations, motivation letter etc.). In addition, we try to achieve a balance of gender, educational backgrounds and nationalities to ensure the best possible learning environment (without compromising on the quality of the individual candidates).
Fees: 4000 Euro
Scholarships: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for Heidelberg MScIH. Scholarships are also available through KAAD and the course is eligible for the awards of the CSLA programme of the Open Society.
Major changes since initial accreditation: The course coordinator has changed since the last accreditation.
There were no major structural changes to the course over the last years, however, some fine tuning within the topics was done according to the feedback from the participants and the change of priorities within the public health field.
Student evaluation: Positive feedback:
• To start the course with an “intercultural retreat” is a highly welcomed approach.
• Participants appreciated the programme’s international outlook and described its intercultural setting as an enriching experience that gave them a global perspective on public health issues.
• Participants highlighted the value of learning from lecturers with extensive work and research experience, as well as external consultants from international organisations. This allowed them to gain insights into real life examples and made theory more tangible.
• Participants positively mentioned the variety of teaching methods employed by the lecturers of the course. Many students particularly liked the use of case studies, interactive activities and group work.
• Participants appreciated that lecturers took their time to provide them with a clear understanding of central concepts and methodologies.
• Participants were happy with the overall organisation of the programme and thankful for the support they received from both teaching and administrative staff as well as from the IT.

Room for improvement:
• Participants felt that the workload for some parts of the core course was too high to be studied and fully grasped in the given timeframe.
• Some units are too theoretical, participants would have liked to have even more practical examples in some topics.
• Lecture slides are sometimes handed out too late.
• Further improvement of knowledge exchange between MScIH students and alumni.
Lessons learned: In the last years, we observed a greater variety of professional backgrounds of the participants. In former years more physicians attended the course, nowadays there is a much broader scope. The curriculum should be, therefore, seen as dynamic and will be adapted according to the participants' needs.
It is important to act on participants’ comments and feedback, to ensure that content and methods continue to respond to students’ needs. As participants particularly value hands-on learning practical input was increased where necessary and possible.
Lecturers are continuously reminded to send in presentations beforehand to ensure handouts are available on time.
We have introduced a Buddy Programme for incoming MScIH students matching students and alumni with the same geographical background to promote a smooth start in Germany as well as the opportunity to exchange and build relations with former course participants.
tropEd accreditation:
Accredited in Brescia 2005, re-accreditation Stockholm 2010, in Barcelona October 2011 and in April 2016. Re-accredited EC Telco Dec 2021. Valid until Dec 2026.
Email Address: grys@uni-heidelberg.de
Date Of Record Creation: 2012-01-10 03:11:12 (W3C-DTF)
Date Of Record Release: 2012-01-10 09:23:11 (W3C-DTF)
Date Record Checked: 2022-01-21 (W3C-DTF)
Date Last Modified: 2024-01-12 17:33:50 (W3C-DTF)