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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2011 Sep;85(3):397-404. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.2011.10-0524.

South-to-North, cross-disciplinary training in global health practice: ten years of lessons learned from an infectious disease field course in Jamaica.

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Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, and Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica.


Global commerce, travel, and emerging and resurging infectious diseases have increased awareness of global health threats and opportunities for collaborative and service learning. We review course materials, knowledge archives, data management archives, and student evaluations for the first 10 years of an intensive summer field course in infectious disease epidemiology and surveillance offered in Jamaica. We have trained 300 students from 28 countries through collaboration between the University of the West Indies and U.S. partner universities. Participants were primarily graduate students in public health, but also included health professionals with terminal degrees, and public health nurses and inspectors. Strong institutional synergies, committed faculty, an emphasis on scientific and cultural competencies, and use of team-based field research projects culminate in a unique training environment that provides participants with career-developing experiences. We share lessons learned over the past decade, and conclude that South-to-North leadership is critical in shaping transdisciplinary, cross-cultural, global health practice.

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