4th International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2016)

4th International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2016)

IPHS (IRAN International Public Health Summer School) has been holding short events with the aim of familiarizing students with the field of public health and encouraging them to become more active in this field, since 2013. These events have now been successfully hosted four times. Up until now, the school was known for hosting educational events aimed primarily at students. Lately, with the foundation of AVECEN company, they aim to promote decision-making skills in the field of health for experts, managers, policy-makers and activists in this field.

Therefore, with the aim of training Iran’s next generation of public health personnel and policy-makers, after 3 Summer Schools and one Winter Camp, AVECEN set out to host their 5th event, in July and August of 2016, in the shape of the 4th IPHS event, or IPHS2016. This event, held in collaboration with the School of Public Health of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, was in the form of a simulated and interactive learning environment.
IPHS2016 was a 42-day educational event, comprised of 35 days of online educational materials, and a 7-day course which was held on campus.
The educational syllabus of this event used Harden’s method of educational planning, alongside a detailed literature review and need-assessment, with the help of some of the country’s most prominent professors to revise and update its educational material. Topics such as 1) An Introduction to Public Health 2) Social Determinants of Health 3) Environmental Health 4) Epidemiology and Biostatistics 5) Health Policy and Management were chosen and covered in the course material. Alongside these main courses, four interdisciplinary skills were also added to this year’s course. These were a) Leadership b) Teamwork c) Advocacy and d) Professionalism
In order to make the course as enjoyable and useful as possible, all of the educational content was applied in a science-fiction story setting. The story is set in the year 2200 after humans have managed to turn their home planet, Earth, into an uninhabitable wasteland and have therefore been forced to migrate to other planets. Participants use the knowledge that they have gained during the 5-week online course in this game-like setting, acting as public health specialists in their different planets, each with its own different characteristics. This setting encourages the teams to engage in friendly competition, and this warm atmosphere, combined with the novel techniques and practical use of the things they have learned, make the course an unforgettable learning experience.

Iran Public Health School – WinterCamp16(IPHS-WinterCamp16)

Iran Public Health School – WinterCamp16(IPHS-WinterCamp16)

IPHS Wintercamp 2016 was a 17-day long educational course, comprised of a two-week online course, and a 3-day on-campus course. The course focused mostly on the social determinants of health and their importance, and how to use skills such as advocacy to improve them in the society. The camp used novel and innovative educational techniques to create a fun and exciting environment in which participants could enjoy an optimum learning experience in a friendly atmosphere.

In order to create a course with practical learning materials that would be in line with the issues and challenges of the day, AIDS was selected as the main theme of IPHS Wintercamp2016.
The storyline on which the course was based, featured a fictional setting in which participants functioned as health specialists and engaged in healthy competition in a gamified environment in order to improve the state of the health determinants of the country. A combination of careful planning and implementation of novel teaching methods created an innovative, up-to-date, interdisciplinary learning experience for participants.

139 students of medical sciences from across the country signed up for the course, and a total of 88 from over 21 different universities were admitted. Of these, 69 participated in the 3-day long On Campus course which took place from 24-26th February 2016 in the Students’ Scientific Research Center (SSRC) in Tehran.

From among the unique features in place in IPHS Wintercamp2016, the following could be said to be the most effective in increasing the quality of the educational materials, increasing satisfaction levels among participants, and achieving the overall goals of the course:

1-Creating a simulated environment for decision-making

2-Programming the course to mirror real-life situations

3-Providing practical education to participants in small groups

4- Giving story-based roles to participants, and alignment of the story with the educational goals

5-Creating healthy competition between groups and environments, which in turn encouraged them in their activities and learning

6-Providing participants with the basic information they would need during the online course

7-Providing appropriate feedback to groups during reflection sessions carried out after every episode

8-Having an organized executive program, with special attention giving to participants’ satisfaction


3rd IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2015)

3rd IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2015)

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.

2nd IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2014)

2nd IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2014)

The 2nd IRAN International Public Health Summer School (IPHS2014) was held during September 2014, and lasted 7 days, in association with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and Center of Excellence on Teaching and Learning Clinical Skills. 95 participants from both Iranian and international origin were present in this program. The course was presented under the theme of “a window to the future of health”. Presentations by esteemed public health professors and engaging teamwork in a simulated setting were the strongpoints of this program.

Besides the lectures by the professors, complementary workshops and gamification of team activities were used so that more than half of the 51hour time of the school was attributed to active learning and enhancement of skills. Leadership and systematic thinking, health informatics, health policy and health management were among the topics discussed.

IPHS2014 was comprised of two main educational parts. Main lectures delivered by the professors followed by more detailed mini-lectures that were presented by IPHS trainers. Also, participants took part in a series of engaging teamwork activities to solve health challenges. IPHSup (Ideas for Public Health Startup) sessions were also held to help the participants develop a startup idea for public health. IPHSup sessions were used to create  future employers and health managers. The whole program of IPHS2014 was marked on several occasions. The scores were then applied to a treasure grid. The motivation of finding the ultimate treasure gave an extra punch to the program.

Of all the 335 applicants only the top 95 were accepted, based on the assessments of the registration forms. The number of participants was kept limited so as not to affect the quality of the program

Applications were received from several countries including Iraq, Netherlands, Australia, Afghanistan, Slovakia, South Africa, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Zambia, Tanzania, Sudan, Kenya, Emirates, Belgium, India, Pakistan, Poland, and Egypt. Most of the applicants were students of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry. Radiology, genetics, epidemiology and public health, microbiology and midwifery students were also among the applicants.

The main supporters of IPHS 2014 included the Iranian Red Crescent population and Isfahan’s municipality. Refah bank central branch in Isfahan, the Isfahan cultural heritage organization, and Raha pharmaceutics were also among the sponsors of the program. Shiraz University of medical sciences made considerable help to the post-IPHS tour.

1st IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2013)

1st IRAN International Public Health Summer School(IPHS2013)

The IPHS2013 training program had two sections including public health sessions (PHS) and Training New Trainers (TNT). Each of these sections was three days long. In total, the IPHS2013 training programs lasted 43 hours, 19 hours for PHS and 24 hours for TNT.

The 1st IPHS was held on the 10th to 15th of September 2013 on the beautiful Kish Island of Iran. This exclusive event gathered 40 students from Middle Eastern and European countries. The programs consisted of a coherent schedule of dynamic speeches and even more engaging group activities. The core team of the IPHS2013 project was chosen from among the most talented and most involved students of the Iranian Medical Students Association (IMSA – previously, IFMSA-IRAN). Two main themes were pursued in IPHS2013, the basic concepts of public health and training of new trainers.

The public health-related subjects included:

1-      Primary Health Care
2-      Social Determinants of Health
3-      Global Health and Challenges
4-      Management of Public Health Interventions and Services
5-      Research Methods in Public Health
6-      Mobile Health (mHealth)

The appropriate order of topics, their logical relations, presentation methods and active participation in discussions; significantly improved the quality of training.

A training new trainer (TNT) is one of the official courses of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), which aims to train new trainers around the world. This course (which is supervised and approved by IFMSA) was held for the third time in Iran. The purpose of considering this course in IPHS2013 was increasing participant’s capability in presentation skills, team work and team management. 123 students applied for IPHS2013, Out of whom only 46 people were chosen to participate. 12 foreign participants from Switzerland, Norway, Czech Republic, Austria, Iraq, and Tanzania were accepted; Iranian participants were from Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Kerman.

IMSA executed IPHS2013 with the principal support of the International Campus of Tehran University of Medical Science; along with the cooperation of the Regional Knowledge Hub for HIV/AIDS Surveillance (HIV/HUB), Kerman student research center and Kerman University Vice Chancellor of Education Support.