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Third Annual Urban Health Summer Institute Grows, Offers Skills Training and Application-Based Courses

Students preparing for the GIS Workshop, a course in the 2018 Urban Health Summer Institute

June 27, 2018

More than 70 attendees from across the country gathered at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) in June to engage in experiential training as part of the third annual Urban Health Summer Institute.

Organized by the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative, the Summer Institute featured five courses held over seven days. The Summer Institute offered attendees the opportunity to gain skills in tools, evaluation and data analysis methods for public and urban health research.

Courses included: Introduction to Multilevel Analysis for Urban Health Research; Using GIS for Urban Health; Introduction to Bayesian Analysis for Public and Urban Health; Introduction to Program Evaluation; and Introduction to Community-Based System Dynamics.

Students chose from courses instructed by leaders in public and urban health, including Drexel UHC Director and Dornsife Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, who led the Introduction to Multilevel Analysis for Urban Health Research course with co-instructors Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, MPH and Usama Bilal, MD, PhD, MPH. This year, the Drexel UHC also welcomed Jill Kuhlberg, PhD, MSW as an instructor for the newly offered Community-Based System Dynamics course. Dr. Kuhlberg is a researcher at North Carolina State University, where she currently evaluates the Health Matters program.

Since the Summer Institute first launched in 2016, the Urban Health Collaborative has more than tripled its enrollment in the program, growing from over 20 attendees in 2016 to more than 70 attendees in 2018.

Faculty and staff are excited about the growth of the program, which provides a unique opportunity for attendees to acquire – and apply – skills.

“The Summer Institute provides students and working professionals the opportunity to access hands-on training from the talented faculty and staff of the Dornsife School of Public Health,” said Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM, associate professor and associate dean of academic and faculty affairs at DSPH. “Over just a few days, attendees can broaden their knowledge, skills and research abilities.” Michael co-leads the Training Core of the Drexel UHC with Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, MPH, assistant professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Participants included DSPH students, public health and related professionals from organizations including the United Nations Population Fund, UC Berkeley School of Public Health, the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, the Philadelphia Mental Health Care Corporation (PMHCC), the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the University of Alcala and more.

In the exit survey and across social media, participants remarked on how much they learned in the short summer courses.

“The [Community-Based Systems Dynamics] course allowed me to gain a tangible and useful skill while networking and having fun, without having to miss too much work time,” said Claire Slesinski, MSPH, project manager for the Salud Urbana en América Latina (SALURBAL) project, a five-year Wellcome Trust funded project based at the Drexel UHC and the Dornsife School of Public Health. “Now that I understand Community-Based Systems Dynamics in more depth, I’m looking forward to using its methods for understanding urban health systems, seeking out ideas for new and improved policies and interventions, and strategic planning.”

The Drexel UHC plans to announce the courses for the 2019 Summer Institute in Winter 2019. To stay up to date on this and other events, visit the UHC website or subscribe to the monthly newsletter.