Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of international interdisciplinary collaboration on global public health issues has become clear. Autumn Nobles and Hanya Qureshi, Yale School of Medicine (YSM) second-year MD students, have responded to the need for such collaboration by developing a series of 11 educational forums with students at schools in international settings, and launching Yale Global Health Students United for Regional and Global Education (YGH SURGE).
Their call to partner schools and schools within the Office of Global Health Education’s global networks was received with such enthusiasm that the targeted pilot group of 30 students soon expanded to more than 50. The participating institutions recognized the importance of providing their students with these types of interactions.
Nobles and Qureshi began hosting these online education sessions in July 2020, with health care, business, and law students from 15 different countries representing over 16 institutions. Their goal is to discuss and assess how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected different regions, societal sectors, and topics (for example, refugee health, supply chain management, mental health). Each weekly 90-minute session begins with a discussion of a case study, prepared by students from a particular institution and region.
At the conclusion of this series, the students hope to draft a joint set of recommendations/op-ed pieces from the global professional student perspective on the pandemic, and potentially engage in other collaborative academic projects about the pandemic.
Long-term, Nobles and Qureshi envision using this pilot framework to model and develop an ongoing interactive global health online learning curriculum for professional students that would expand beyond COVID-19 to address major shared global health topics and concerns.