Collaborating with the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network and regional public health leaders

Author (s): 

Denise Traicoff

The Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), founded in 2009 with a vision of better health for people in the eastern Mediterranean region has been a strong advocate of improving field epidemiology and surveillance.  EMPHNET is also leading efforts to strengthen the management skills of leaders of public health programs in the region. In July Sara Andrist and I teamed up with EMPHNET in Amman, Jordan to conduct two initiatives related to successful program operations.

I worked with Dr. Mohannad Al-Nsour and Mohammad Zraiqi to design and conduct a management workshop, focusing on the ‘people’ aspect of management. Based on the theme “Building strong teams for successful field epidemiology training programs”, 12 participants, representing Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, explored topics such as team building, coaching, root cause analysis, teaching adult learners, and program advocacy. At the end of the workshop, participants developed goals to address public health challenges specific to their countries. One participant said she would “use the 5 steps technique for teaching complex topics such as regression analysis.” Another participant said he would “[do a] fishbone analysis of the drop in coverage of vaccinations.”

We introduced an innovative method for course evaluation, which aims to more accurately capture any connections between training and application on the job. Based on the book, Predictive Evaluation, by Dave Basarab, participants conclude the course by writing specific goals related to what they learned in the course. These goals can then be analyzed to identify common themes and opportunities to improve the training.

EMPHNET also requested SMDP’s assistance to develop an evaluation framework for the organization. According to Sara Andrist, SMDP evaluation specialist, “The timing is perfect for EMPHNET to consider an evaluation framework. Organizations that set indicators in the early stages of program development have greater success at monitoring their progress and comparing results against their goals and objectives.”

 

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