Oxford launches online diploma in Global Health Research

The course will teach students how to design, operate and report a high-quality health research study anywhere in the world and how to put findings into practice…reports Asian Lite News

Oxford university is accepting its first students in October 2023 for the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research which is specifically targeted at researchers and clinicians in low income countries, and will offer accessibility never previously available. It is the University’s first academic qualification designed to be taken wholly online and will transform Oxford’s ability to reach and train researchers in the most challenging of settings. By removing this significant barrier to access, the postgraduate diploma aims to strengthen health workforce’ research capacity, regardless of location and context, to meet ongoing and emerging global health challenges and crises.

In eliminating the requirement to travel to Oxford for researchers and clinicians across the world, the postgraduate diploma will drive equity in where health research happens, who benefits from the evidence, and who leads the studies. And in a further step to advance equitable access for students in lower-income settings, 30% of course participants will be supported with fully funded scholarships.

International experts in the subject area with experience of conducting research in the most challenging settings at the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, will deliver the course remotely from their own locations across the world over four terms.Pre-recorded interactive lectures, discussion forum tasks, live virtual classes, and asynchronous one-to-one tutorials form the basis of weekly lessons and have been designed to retain the learning experience and immersive teaching methods that Oxford is renowned for.

The course will teach students how to design, operate and report a high-quality health research study anywhere in the world and how to put findings into practice. It has been designed to support the careers of dedicated and ambitious health professionals and researchers across the globe, from every setting. In particular enabling individuals facing the challenges of diseases of poverty and in the most resource-poor settings to develop scientific, management and leadership skills to tackle these diseases.The course is based on the Essential Curriculum for Health Research which was developed in partnership with the World Health Organisation and based on a study that involved over 7,000 participants. This makes it the first course of its kind where all the component steps identified to undertake quality, practical and appropriate health research studies are covered; making it relevant for research into any disease, in all types of studies and in any setting.

The Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research aims to:Teach the steps and processes required to conduct effective research within the contextual realities of resource constrained settingsEnhance knowledge and raise the standards of scientists and healthcare professionals working in health research in a global contextPrepare students to resolve difficult health research challenges by providing them with the tools, skills and knowledge to conduct high quality, safe and ethical health research Inculcate in our graduates the competence and ambition to become leaders in global health research.In doing so, the postgraduate diploma will support progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) notably SDG 3.B to ‘support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for the communicable and non-communicable diseases that primarily affect developing countries’; SDG 3.C to ‘substantially increase…development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries’ and SDG 3.D to ‘strengthen the capacity of all countries, particularly developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks’.

Professor Trudie Lang, Head of The Global Health Network, University of Oxford said: ‘I’m delighted at the launch of the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research. We have created this course to help address the global disparities in health research by teaching the skills needed to run studies in every healthcare setting. An ideal student could be a highly experienced nurse working in a large public hospital in Bangladesh or Ethiopia, a laboratory scientist in Peru, or members of national and international funding and ethics committees, or those working in regulatory bodies. I’m also very proud that this will be Oxford’s first qualification where travelling to Oxford is not required and that 30% of our intake will have funded places – this is truly transformational and brings true global and diverse access to a qualification from the University of Oxford.”Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford said: ‘This is a truly exciting moment for the Medical Sciences community at Oxford and across the globe.

It is impossible to predict where and when the next global health crisis will emerge so it’s critical that we continue to build the pool of exceptional researchers in every healthcare setting who can become valued contributors to the global research community, while also delivering impact within their local setting. The Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research will do just that for thousands of talented individuals who otherwise would not have that opportunity.’ Professor Martin Williams, Pro Vice Chancellor of Education, University of Oxford said: ‘The launch of the Postgraduate Diploma in Global Health Research shows that Oxford continues to be at the forefront of meeting the challenges of widening access head-on. Alongside the many outreach programmes we run in the UK and overseas, it is another excellent example of our commitment to ensuring talented students around the world can access Oxford’s world-leading teaching and expertise, without financial concerns acting as a barrier.’The application deadline for the 2023-2024 academic year is Friday 9 December, 2022.

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