The IRAN International Public Health Summer School (IPHS) is a one-month long educational course that tries to interest students in the fields of public health and familiarizes them with its core concepts. The IPHS2015 program took place during the July and August of 2015 and included three weeks of distance learning course accompanied by one week of an on-campus course. 88 Iranian and International students participated in this course. IPHS2015 was held in partnership with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences at its Center of Excellence on Teaching and Learning Clinical Skills.
The mission of the IPHS Team is to make the learning of public health, joyful; during the IPHS2015 program, to address the results of our need assessment and literature review, a systematic, academic approach via Harden’s educational planning model was used to revise the educational contents of the program. Through this renovation, the main educational domains were defined as: (1) Introduction to public health, (2) Social determinant of health, (3) Environmental health, (4) Epidemiology and Biostatistics and (5) Policy making and Health management. Also, four interdisciplinary domains were added to the educational contents including (1) Leadership, (2) Teamwork, (3) Advocacy, and (4) Professionalism. For each domain, a set of cognitive and affective goals were defined; the educational contents were designed based on these goals.
According to the overall goals and objectives of IPHS Team, blended learning was chosen as the main educational strategy; story based, gamified and simulative education methods were the innovative approaches that were added to the program. The entire IPHS2015 plot took place in a post-apocalyptic world in 2200 where Earth had been destroyed and people had populated other planets. The participants were educated on the basics of public health during the distance learning course after which, during the on-campus course, they were sent to different planets as public health professionals; there, they were given missions to enhance the health status of their planets. The activities of the participants were based on the educational goals and their entire individual and group activities were evaluated and ranked.
The IPHS2015 is an example for incorporation of innovative educational methods in the field of public health. Based on this and our previous achievements in the IPHS team, we intend to not only broaden our programs for medical students but also to design new educational courses for other related organizations to enhance their capabilities; therefore, we hereby state our invitation of collaboration with all interested individuals and organizations.