Educating the next global health leaders; a research master’s degree at Vrije Universiteit powered by AIGHD

In collaboration with AIGHD and the University of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers a two-year global health research master’s at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. There are currently 50 students who follow the global health curriculum, and students are able to choose some elective courses. The 4-week elective courses have just finished and based on student experiences, we highlight what they entail and why they are relevant in the education of global health students. This year AIGHD offered two courses, “Future Medicines” and a newly developed course, “Figure it Out”.

Future of Medicine

“Blockchain” is one of the innovations that has potential to drastically innovate and improve health care systems. This course equips students with the necessary knowledge to apply the concept of blockchain to a specific context. New technologies, like blockchain, are very up and coming in the world of science and it is therefore of vital importance to teach the methodology to our future global health leaders. Olivia (U.K) attended the course; “the lecturer is a great storyteller, which is really nice when dealing with such an abstract concept like blockchain and he did a great job at explaining this.” The course invites students to critically examine this new technology; its promise to innovate healthcare, under which conditions this can be done, and in what regards is it overhyped. When reading the course description, there was also an emphasis on the critical analysis of blockchain, it is not the solution for everything. The guest lectures offered in the course provide inspiration and career path advice for the soon-to-be graduates. Anna Lena (Germany), a student who completed this course, says “I finally understand what blockchain is all about. The course is very different from how usual courses are set out as it offers room for critical discussions on many different topics.”

Figure it out

This newly offered course proved successful among participating students, as it provided them with more confidence in performing quantitative research. It offered the perfect mix between qualitative and quantitative methods and the gradual set-up for the course made it very inclusive and easy to follow. Gina (Spain) followed the course and highlights that “the course offered daily 1-hour long consultations for the full length of the course, with lecturers always being at your disposal for guidance.”

The “Figure it Out” course puts the students in a real-life simulation as a researcher. This year’s case study was hypertension. In groups, students wrote research proposals and chose a theoretical model based on the introductive lectures. Students learned to master STATA, a statistical analysis software often used by researchers. Ione (U.K) would definitely recommend the course; “the nice thing about the course is that you must write your own code and run your own analyses on the datasets”.

AIGHD is proud to offer these electives as it equips students with the adequate tools to perform future research in the global health arena. It is part of the core values of our organization; to educate the next generation of global health leaders!