May 19, 2022


Outstanding health & fitness

In Foundations of Public Health class, the innovative sparks fly | News

Sue Goldie utilizes exterior-the-box training techniques to give college students a organization grasp of a sprawling industry

January 29, 2021 – Colored markers, a sketch pad, and a hefty dose of enthusiasm are some of the crucial equipment that Sue Goldie delivers to her extremely well-liked introductory public health system.

Goldie, Roger Irving Lee Professor of Public Health and director of the Middle for Health Determination Science (CHDS) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, is passionate about providing each and every university student a sound foundation in the principles and science of public health. She developed the 1st iteration of the program 5 years in the past with Dean Julio Frenk in buy to give incoming students—who arrive at the College with a range of instructional, cultural, and professional experiences—with a common conceptual framework for thinking about public health. That class took area over 3 days all through drop orientation, but two many years ago Goldie created a additional detailed system, structured by way of self-paced on-line multimedia modules that students get the summer months ahead of commencing their degree applications.

Goldie cares a ton about pedagogy—which is where by the markers and sketch pad arrive in. In the Foundations study course, she focuses not just on the nuts and bolts of public health, but also on instructing it in the most powerful way doable. For the latter intention, she attracts on her 6 yrs as college director of the Worldwide Health Instruction and Discovering Incubator at Harvard College (GHELI), a job that has set her at the forefront of establishing new pedagogical equipment and tutorial approaches. 

“This training course is special to me not only since I’m committed to ensuring each and every university student is geared up with the public health ideas and literacies to be profitable in their graduate scientific studies, but also because the study course is a laboratory for how we can style and design and combine multimodal finding out ordeals into traditional curricula,” reported Goldie.

According to Nancy Turnbull, senior affiliate dean for instructional courses, the course’s secret sauce may properly be Goldie herself. “Sue is greatly acknowledged as just one of the most incredible instructors in the College,” explained Turnbull. “I consider she’s passionate and outstanding, and an progressive educator. You could not have picked anybody superior to train the class.”

Onscreen, Goldie is vibrant, frank, and individual in her shipping. At the outset, she shares her have circuitous route to medicine and then to public health. “My initially appreciate,” she admits, “was martial arts.” She encourages learners to embrace “being a student” and reassures them that it is ok to not know specifically how their diploma will affect their occupation paths.

Allie Liss, an MPH scholar in health coverage, admits that when she initially listened to about the timing of the Foundations study course, she was fewer than thrilled. “My initial believed was, ‘Really? In the middle of a pandemic? You just explained to me I have on the web lessons and now you are making me do one over the summertime?’”

But that emotion didn’t last very long because Liss observed the class so intriguing and participating. “Not seeking to turn the class off was definitely an concern,” she stated. “Sometimes I would believe, ‘I wish I could spend 10 much more minutes listening to the future lesson.’”

Other college students were also amazed by how much they savored the training course.  “Even nevertheless the program was not stay, it felt that way due to the fact it was so engaging,” claimed Caroline Shannon, an architect who is earning an MPH in health and social conduct. “It turned the nightly entertainment for a whilst this summer in our property.”

Making a foundation—with joy

In advance of the generation of the Foundations system, “the only frequent educational practical experience that college students at the College shared was a prerequisite to consider biostatistics and epidemiology,” stated Turnbull. “Those are obviously pretty foundational disciplines to public health, but it was probable, based on what program you have been in, to graduate from the university with a pretty incomplete photograph of public health.”

When the program was 1st provided in 2015, Frenk had already still left the School to turn into president of the College of Miami. But he returned that calendar year to educate it alongside Goldie. She and Frenk taught that initially program in Kresge Cafeteria through orientation, more than 3 mornings, in two sections of roughly 200 students every. “Julio and I ran close to like speak display hosts,” stated Goldie. “It was hysterical. Every single desk had markers, paper, pads.”

Julio Frenk-Sue Goldie
Goldie and previous Harvard Chan University Dean Julio Frenk training the first variation of the Foundations program in Kresge Cafeteria through orientation in 2015

Goldie felt that compressing content into 3 days for the duration of orientation 7 days was not pedagogically the best way to study. She expanded the curriculum to meet new accreditation prerequisites and develop a system architecture that would give learners with a lot more guidance and adaptability. Doing the job with her teams at GHELI and CHDS, she built, pilot-analyzed, and refined multimedia that would not only be pedagogically effective, but that would produce an open up and inclusive studying ecosystem. Learners now complete four online modules asynchronously more than the training course of the summer time, adopted by an in-human being part when they get there in the fall (previous yr that session was virtual because of to the pandemic).

The program provides info in 10- to 15-moment chunks and incorporates Goldie’s signature colourful sketches, that includes text, quantities, very simple drawings of people, animals, viruses, automobiles, cities, and much more. Goldie starts with the essentials, inquiring college students to look at how they would outline health, public health, and worldwide health. She describes that public health adopts a inhabitants-amount assessment, has underlying ideas and values, and needs an interdisciplinary strategy. She challenges college students to think about the interconnections involving biology, populace, culture, and the environment.

“One of the attributes of our subject is that we really don’t just identify the difficulties and examine them,” she tells the college students. “We also check with, ‘How do we respond to them?’”

Goldie emphasizes that knowledge public health difficulties involves consideration of both health disorders (diseases, injuries, and physiologic states like pregnancy, and many others.) and the “conditions” for health (social, financial, political, and environmental elements that impact health). To aid learners visualize these tightly connected principles, she attracts a diagonal line bisecting a rectangle, with a single of the triangular sections representing “health conditions” and the other symbolizing “conditions for health.” Mentioned Shannon, “Having a diagram that clarifies the strategy is so powerful. The image of the diagram retains me from getting to memorize matters.”

Goldie utilizes easy line drawings—she phone calls them “cognitive organizers”—to introduce students to public health concepts

Russell Simons, who’s doing the job on both an MPH in health policy at Harvard Chan College and an MD at the University of Chicago, said that Goldie identified an exceptionally available way to get across the rough-to-grasp principle of “disability-adjusted life years,” or “DALYs”—a populace measure that captures both equally morbidity and mortality. To illustrate the concept, Goldie sketches a line symbolizing the timeline from start to demise in a state with the optimum daily life expectancy in the earth. She overlays a basic narrative illustration, monitoring a particular person in excess of the class of their daily life, describing an regrettable taxi accident at age 37, ensuing in numerous yrs of disability, and then a lethal heart assault at age 65. She identifies two zones on the illustration: the a long time of healthy existence shed because of to disability (YLDs) just after the accident, and the many years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs) from the heart assault. Once learners grasp that these are the two most important components of DALYs, and that they represent the “gap” among the greatest nations can attain and what is really reached, she discusses the solutions and assumptions behind the principle.

Goldie’s visual representation of the idea of “disability-altered existence several years,” or “DALYs”

Goldie finds that drawing sketches is a lot a lot more productive than merely conversing about a concept. “People discover superior from words and pics than from words on your own,” she points out. “We have separate channels in our brains for visible and verbal information and facts, and both of those have limits on how a great deal can be processed at one particular time.” She says conceptual diagrams assist learners arrange content into a coherent structure, though the procedure of drawing allows for details to be introduced piece by piece, staying away from what is referred to as “cognitive overload,” which can impede understanding. She encourages students to choose notes in a similar way, sketching together with her. “In addition to being consistent with the science of how we learn, I assume that the upbeat style of our studio classroom places pupils in a unique way of thinking,” she says, adding, “I discover persons smile a lot additional when we have colorful markers out.”

Reaching out

Goldie claims it can be challenging to reach college students from a large vary of backgrounds—they could be doctors or current university graduates, journalists or architects. “How do you obtain a way to invite that complete heterogeneous community into your space and assure that each and just about every a person of them is in a position to meaningfully have interaction with the written content?” she asks. “It’s hard to do.”

The pandemic only designed it more durable. To offer you context to present study course films, Goldie recorded a lot more than two dozen further videos past spring, quite a few of which drew from the health disaster unfolding in true time. “Trying to leverage what is actual in your day to day existence and what is most salient to you is a person of the most helpful ways for someone to study,” she reported. She jury-rigged a property studio by inserting an iPad in entrance of her, to movie her talking, and mounting her Apple iphone overhead, to seize her drawing. She is brief to credit her staff members at each GHELI and the CHDS Media Hub, the place experimentation and prototyping of pedagogical tools is the daily work. “The pandemic is a stark example of why ongoing innovation and pedagogical experimentation in the digital area is so crucial,” she claims.

At property, Goldie works by using an iPad mounted in entrance of her and an Apple iphone mounted overhead to seize her drawing in motion

For Goldie, the Foundations training course is a do the job in progress. She lately done a sequence of films on pandemic threat and is doing the job on new supplies focusing on local weather, ecosystem, and health for the summertime 2021 version of the system. In addition, Goldie is thinking of a selection of course types in which chances for engagement could keep on in the course of the tutorial year. Even now, the “classroom” portal in just Canvas—the online platform where by Harvard Chan students can accessibility their system websites—provides a entire host of resources curated for college students to use all year, ranging from glossaries and tip sheets to source packs from the GHELI repository.

Goldie was unhappy that she did not have a likelihood to satisfy her pupils in particular person this drop. Whilst she admits that it is challenging to recreate the strength of a dynamic classroom in an on-line natural environment, she insists that college ought to be striving to make electronic “learning spaces” that encourage social link devoid of bodily existence. “When I am instructing on the web, I consider I am getting a discussion with a group of a few learners in my office environment sitting across the table—that’s the studying setting I am seeking to build,” she claims. “When I talk to the pupils, I want them to come to feel I am current, and that I’m speaking with them from the coronary heart.”

Karen Feldscher

images courtesy Sue Goldie