Using consensus methods to develop a country-specific Master of Public Health curriculum for the Republic of Maldives
Authors Robotin M, Shaheem M, Ismail AS
Received 2 September 2015
Accepted for publication 11 November 2015
Published 12 February 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 73—80
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Maria Olenick
Peer reviewer comments 2
Editor who approved publication: Dr Anwarul Azim Majumder
Monica C Robotin,1,2 Muthau Shaheem,3 Aishath S Ismail3
1Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2Cancer Programs Division, Cancer Council New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; 3Faculty of Health Sciences, Maldives National University, Male, Maldives
Background: Over the last four decades, the health status of Maldivian people improved considerably, as reflected in child and maternal mortality indicators and the eradication or control of many communicable diseases. However, changing disease patterns are now undermining these successes, so the local public health practitioners need new skills to perform effectively in this changing environment. To address these needs, in 2013 the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Maldives National University developed the country's first Master of Public Health (MPH) program.
Methods: The process commenced with a wide scoping exercise and an analysis of the curricular structure of MPH programs of high-ranking universities. Thereafter, a stakeholder consultation using consensus methods reached agreement on overall course structure and the competencies required for local MPH graduates. Subsequently, a working group developed course descriptors and identified local public health research priorities, which could be addressed by MPH students.
Results: Ten semistructured interviews explored specific training needs of prospective MPH students, key public health competencies required by local employers and preferred MPH training models. The recommendations informed a nominal group meeting, where participants agreed on MPH core competencies, overall curricular structure and core subjects. The 17 public health electives put forward by the group were prioritized using an online Delphi process. Participants ranked them by their propensity to address local public health needs and the locally available teaching expertise. The first student cohort commenced their MPH studies in January 2014.
Conclusion: Consensus methods allowed a broad stakeholder engagement with public health curriculum development and the creation of a country-specific curriculum, informed by local realities and needs.
Keywords: public health, education, MPH, curriculum development, consensus methods
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