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Pedagogical Vision of the Educational Environment at Epidemiology and Global Health

Our educational environment is grounded in three core principles. They represent our ambition and standpoint as to which are the most central themes for public health education, research, policy and practice.

The core principles permeate especially the content of our teaching at our master programs, and are formulated as follows:

  • Everyone has the right to health and healthcare - We believe that there is a global need to renew health systems based on the primary health care core values of the right to health for all; and social justice, efficiency, equity, participation and solidarity. A transformation must be designed according to population needs and each country´s unique preconditions.
  • Health is embedded in society, environment and shaped by history - Human beings are social beings, interdependent on each other and the natural environment, and people’s health and health-related practices develop through this interdependence. Individuals therefore do not bear sole responsibility for their health.
  • Inequities threaten public health - The goal of public health is a good overall and equitable population health. The widespread social inequities expressed in health, health care and health promotion are a disease of society that threatens the fulfilment of these goals, but public health has the potential to help curing it.

The core principles embrace our pedagogical vision, which is inspired by the concept of transformative learning, defined as “a process by which previously uncritically assimilated assumptions, beliefs, values, and perspectives are questioned and thereby become more open, permeable, and better validated” (Mezirow, 2000). This pedagogical vision is aided by close interaction between research and teaching, and our emphasis on understanding both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The vision takes its practical expression in the following didactic strategies, which guide the planning and implementation of our teaching activities:

  • Active learning through a student perspective – To stimulate deep learning and reflection, students must be actively engaged as subjects rather than passive recipients of knowledge. We therefore put special emphasis on activating the students, e.g. through group discussions, seminars, role-plays, practical exercises, presentations, and “flipped classroom” techniques.
  • Collaborative learning – Learning viewed as a social process occurring through interaction with others strengthens communicative and problem-solving skills. This strategy is expressed in our teaching through frequent reflective and problem-solving group works, and open and respectful discussions during lectures and discussion sessions.
  • Reflective approach to learning – To support life-long learning, it is important that students develop the ability to reflect on their own learning process. We encourage reflection on the learning process, course structure and course content through continuous open communication between staff and students, as well as student representation in the formal bodies of Program Council and the Student Council.

We use the core principles, pedagogical vision, and didactic strategies - and the interface and interplay between them- as helpful tools to assess, reflect on and develop our educational environment.