Teaching and learning in Health Policy and Systems Research - getting involved in the next steps
The Teaching and Learning Thematic Working Group of Health Systems Global recently elected two new co-chairs - Gina Teddy and Francisco Oviedo Gómez. They are supported by Meike Schleiff, the working group’s coordinator. In this blog, Gina, Meike and Francisco reflect on the origins of the thematic working group, its key achievements so far, and the next steps for the new leadership team and the group as a whole.
It is our great pleasure to share with you some updates and the new directions for the work of the Teaching and Learning Thematic Working Group (T&L TWG). The T&L TWG is fundamental to the field of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) and Health Systems Global (HSG). This is because we have a critical role to play in building the field through capacity and competency development, supporting research and policymaking, enabling and expanding training opportunities, and educating stakeholders across the world. By virtue of our education and training function, we also play a role in attracting, recruiting and training potential members, while upgrading and sustaining existing ones.
About the Teaching and Learning Thematic Working Group
The T&L TWG was established in 2013 to improve teaching and learning of HPSR around the world. Its aim is to disseminate information on teaching and learning by supporting members and emphasising teaching and learning applications in low- and middle-income countries and disadvantaged populations. The T&L TWG provides a platform for networking and experience sharing using web-based tools, has developed a database of HPSR training opportunities, and contributes to the peer-reviewed literature related to teaching and learning in HPSR.
We work with other Thematic Working Groups (TWGs) within HSG, for example Social Science Approaches for Research and Engagement in Health Policy & Systems (SHaPeS), on issues of mutual interest. This work includes planning cross-cutting capacity development strategies such as conducting a needs assessment, compiling reading lists and teaching materials, and facilitating interaction and learning among SHaPeS and T&L TWG members.
The T&L TWG is one of 10 member-driven TWGs under HSG. We are multi-disciplinary in nature with a membership comprised of educators, researchers, decision-makers and implementers with interests in building capacity for teaching and learning in HPSR. Dina Balabanova and David Peters, the founding co-chairs, established the T&L TWG with the aim of mapping out HPSR educational institutions, supporting mentorship and networking HPSR educators.
Achievements So Far
Since inception, we have:
- Conducted a mapping study and identified hotspots where HPSR capacity is particularly limited. The report was launched in February 2015 and is available on our webpage. This study was supported through a grant from the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research.
- Launched an interactive repository for materials on teaching and learning HPSR, including curricula, syllabi, competencies, lectures, case studies and other learning and examination materials. This work was funded through grants from the Wellcome Trust and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. We continue to negotiate with key institutions and networks to allow the inclusion of more open access material in the repository.
- Developed a list of members and experts to facilitate the sharing of experience and information on teaching and learning HPSR. This is done mainly through email lists and our LinkedIn group.
- Organised two sessions at the 3rd Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (Cape Town, 2014). The first was an organised session entitled “HPSR Training: A Global Mapping Study" and the second a satellite session that allowed our members to meet and exchange ideas (more about the symposium).
- Held two sessions at the 4th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (Vancouver, 2016): an organised session on innovations in HPSR teaching and a satellite session on priority areas of HPSR teaching and learning such as syllabus development, educational research for HPSR, and pedagogy and teaching methods (more about the symposium).
- Established, in 2015, a Strategy Group consisting of the co-chairs, T&L TWG members from each region and members of other TWGs, to help steer the work of the T&L TWG and define its strategy for the coming years.
- Created Regional Champions for the teaching and learning of HPSR across the globe, using the WHO regional classification. The Regional Champions represent the African, Americas, European, South East Asian, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions. These Regional Champions help to steer the activities and agenda of the T&L TWG and define strategies for the HSG symposia.
Our Next Steps
- Planning for Liverpool 2018: Very soon, we will begin a participatory discussion to plan for the T&L TWG’s sessions at the 5th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (Liverpool, 2018). While it is still over a year away, the abstracts for the TWG sessions will be due in a few months! We will be hosting a series of webinars to develop potential topics of interest to members, based on the discussions at the Vancouver symposium. Liverpool will be a point of engagement with educators and those interested in teaching and learning in HPSR. Most importantly, it will be an opportunity to coordinate with other TWGs.
- Fundraising: The T&L TWG is seeking funding to support some of these plans and activities. Currently we do not have funds for specific projects and conferencing activities. We are seeking funds to support activities such as the translation of teaching materials into multiple languages, workshops and conferences, research projects in teaching and learning, and competency and curriculum development.
- Strategy Group: This group consists of thoughtful, committed, and highly experienced HPSR experts who provide feedback and guidance on the work of the co-chairs and coordinator, as well as the direction of the T&L TWG. We look forward to further engaging them regarding priorities and processes for achieving our goals.
- Advocacy: We want to continue to disseminate the findings of the global mapping study and use this as a platform for advocacy to increase investment in HPSR teaching and training. Further opportunities for research and advocacy will be identified. This may include events, possibly jointly organised with journals or professional associations, to promote HPSR in regions with limited capacity.
- Regional Champions: Actively engaging the Regional Champions is our foremost priority. The regions have different levels of development in terms of teaching and learning and the HPSR-field overall. Whereas Africa, Europe, North America and some parts of South East Asia are highly developed in HPSR, the same cannot be said of the South American, South Pacific and Mediterranean regions overall. Meanwhile they can be very helpful in raising awareness, developing the training database, hosting webinars, supporting regional members, language translation and expanding the T&L TWG networks.
- Quarterly webinars: The T&L TWG is planning quarterly webinars on topics related to the annual work plan or other topics of interest to members. This will create a platform for us to engage with the broader network. The purpose is to share experience, add value, discuss teaching and learning strategies and innovations, engage more people, and do some scoping and planning work towards the symposium sessions in Liverpool.
- Blog & newsletter: Blogs and newsletters will be complementary in outlining the T&L TWG’s direction and upcoming priorities. Through blogs such as these, the T&L TWG wishes to outline our plans, direction, activities, news and announcements, upcoming events, opportunities and other relevant information. Relatedly, the T&L TWG has been producing quarterly newsletters, which we will continue to share with our members on our social media platforms and through emails (read the August 2017 quarterly bulletin).
- Breaking the language barrier: In some of our regions, language is a significant barrier to participation. Beginning with a focus on French and Spanish, we would like to work on translating core T&L TWG communications and also some of the content on the HPSR database.
Gina Teddy, Meike Schleiff & Francisco Oviedo Gómez