‘Figure It Out’ Course Expands Reach with EACCR Partnership

Since its launch in 2020 at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), the innovative ‘Figure It Out’ course has taken a step beyond its traditional campus boundaries. “Offering this course outside of the VU for the first time marks a significant expansion of our educational mission,” explains Daniella Brals, AIGHD Research Fellow and course leader. “It embodies our commitment to foster research capabilities globally.”

Originally designed for Global Health students at the VU, the transition of the course to an online format has been a seamless effort. The course now hosts an enthusiastic group of 12 participants from the East Africa Consortium for Clinical Research, mainly from Uganda and Kenya, diving deep into the realms of global health research.

Running from March 1st to May 31st, the course promises an intense finale where participants will showcase their newfound expertise before a panel of seasoned experts. Led by members of the AIGHD team—Dr. Daniella Brals, Prof. Constance Schultsz, Prof. Frank Cobelens, and AIGHD Senior Fellow Guus ten Asbroek—the course navigates through a labyrinth of crucial topics in study design, analysis and dissemination.

Dr. Brals elaborates on the course’s foundational goals: “Students are expected to unravel many complexities through our course, albeit with guidance and plenty of opportunities for consultation. The curriculum is meticulously crafted to cover the entire spectrum of impact evaluation—from designing the study to conducting the analysis and disseminating the results. Whether it’s an RCT, a quasi-experimental setup, or survey techniques, we equip our participants with the tools to choose and execute effectively.”

From trial design to statistical modeling in R and Stata, the course covers a gamut of essential techniques and methodologies. Initially conceived for VU’s Research Master in Global Health, the overwhelming positive feedback from students has inspired a broader vision.

The students, hailing from diverse backgrounds like medical sciences, data science, and statistics, bring a rich tapestry of perspectives to the table. This mix not only enriches discussions but also allows for a dynamic exploration of impact evaluation applications. Weekly assignments further cement their understanding, ensuring that they leave the course not just as students, but as emerging experts in their fields.

Looking to the future, Dr. Brals is optimistic: “Our goal is to cast a wider net, inviting participants from all corners of the globe. By infusing our course with a multitude of perspectives, we not only enhance the learning environment but also contribute significantly to AIGHD’s mission of bolstering knowledge capacity in global and public health.”

Through its ambitious expansion and a commitment to comprehensive education, ‘Figure It Out’ is poised to influence the next generation of global health professionals.