|Health, Science, Engineering and Public Policy
Rationale: It is well known that some of the largest gains in life expectancy in the last century were made by primary prevention of disease and injury using engineered solutions enabled or prescribed by progressive public policy decisions. Examples include potable water distribution, sanitary sewage systems, and improved conditions in workplaces. Despite this fact, there is often a disconnect between health personnel who study the basic mechanisms and risk factors for disease; engineers and scientists who design systems, processes, materials, machines, and structures; and policy makers who content with both scientific evidence and political realities.
Objectives: The primary objectives of the proposed project are to cultivate interchange between undergraduate health science, environmental science, engineering, and policy-oriented students, expose them to public health research ideas and methods, provide them with an understanding of historical successes and failures, and promote the application of this new combined knowledge base to the prevention of disease and injury associated with human activities.
Specific aims are:
Methods: In the first two years of this TLEF grant (2004/05 and 2005/06), seven modules have been designed and tested by teams of Bridge Program doctoral and masters students under the supervision of faculty mentors. Each module provides about two weeks (six hours) of teaching material supplemented by readings/assignments delivered via WebCT. In the first year, four modules were completed. The three modules designed this year are outlined in the Progress report.
In the third year of the grant, we propose the design and testing of an additional four modules covering different topics. Module topics will be selected in consultation with students and faculty from the undergraduate programs listed above. The following is a list of topics proposed to date, selected in part from the research of Bridge graduate students:
Determining the best modes of delivery will be part of the module development process. The modules will be designed so that instructors who did not develop the materials can deliver it easily. The Bridge faculty have considerable experience in the creation of "exportable" training materials such as these. Examples include the Institute for Resources and Environment's Integrated Watershed Management CD-ROM which has been sought and used around the world, and web-based modules on Evidence-based Medicine and Causation developed by the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology and used in the undergraduate medical curriculum and other courses.
John Gilbert, Principal of the College of Health Disciplines, is enthusiastic to offer the new course under the college's banner: IHHS (lnterprofessional Health and Human Service). This course designation allows students from most faculties to enrol and have the course counted towards their degree requirements. Michael Doebeli, Director of the Integrated Sciences Program in the Faculty of Science, is also interested in offering the course as one of the Integrated Sciences core courses (ISCI). This would mean that students in the Integrated Sciences Program can take the course for ISCI credit in partial fulfillment of their degree requirements.
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Kay Teschke, Bridge Program, Faculty of Graduate Studies