On August 10, the Instituto Nacional de Saud Publica (INSP or the National Institute of Public Health) held a celebration and related symposium on the 20th anniversary of the INSP summer school and the 10th anniversary of their virtual education program. Mr. Tony Mazzaschi, ASPPH senior director for policy and research attending the celebration and participated in the panel discussions held at the INSP campus in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Dr. Mauricio Hernandez Avila, Dean of INSP; Dr. Laura Magaña Valladares, Academic Affairs; and, Dr. Eduardo Cesar Lazcano Ponce, Center for Population Health Research, spoke about the history of the both the summer program and the distance learning program. Recent participants in the summer program were recognized, as were INSP and visiting faculty that were important to the success of the summer program over the years. Dr. Jonathan Samet, who facilitated Johns Hopkins University’s involvement in the program, also spoke about the history of the summer program. Dr. Samet is now Director, University of Southern California Institute for Global Health.
The celebratory part of the day was followed by a 90 minute panel discussion on “The future of schools of public health: epidemiological, education and technological scenarios.” Participating were Drs. Julio Frenk (Harvard), Mike Klag (Johns Hopkins), Stefano Bertozzi (University of California, Berkeley), Howard Hu (University of Toronto), and Mauricio Hernandez Avila (INSP). Dr. Laura Magaña Valladares served as moderator. The panel discussed a wide range of topics, including: the future of distance learning, the increasing use of mobile computing to access content, the utility of MOOCs (massive open online courses) versus SPOOCs (small, personalized open online courses), the importance and challenges of faculty-student and student-student interactions in a distance learning setting, and the role and challenges of evaluation and credentialing in a digital environment.
The afternoon was broken into three discussion groups with a more limited audience of guests and INSP faculty. The topics focused on 1) the mobility of students, teachers and resources to achieve “real networks” and advance global health; 2) educational technology; and, 3) certification of competencies. The diversity of the audience and their unique national perspectives resulted in thoughtful and rich discussions. A document summarizing the discussions is planned.