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.