A collaborative multidisciplinary and without-walls research curriculum in global health

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene








© 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Longitudinal and collaborative global health research curricula to train a well-versed global health corps through skills building in assessment and evaluation are lacking. A without-walls research curriculum was offered to medical and public health students between 2007 and 2015. Mentored cross-disciplinary research projects were developed and implemented in partnership with communities. A multilevel mixed methods design, including semi-structured interviews, post-curriculum surveys, presentations, publications, postgraduation metrics, and feedback from project sites, evaluated educational outcomes. Students (N = 25; aged 27 ± 1.9 years; 90.5% female) participated in the studies in 12 countries, resulting in 26 national-level presentations and 24 peer-reviewed publications, including per student average and range of Institutional Review Board submission (0.95; 0-3), poster presentation (0.85; 0-3), oral presentation (0.65; 0-2), and peer-reviewed submission (1.05; 0-4). On average, the studies (40% mixed methods) lasted 2 years. Analyses and manuscript writing were the most challenging; data collection and presentations were the most rewarding. Majority of the participants strongly agreed with achieving skills in community engagement, interviewing techniques, research design and implementation, research dissemination, and career development. Interview themes included expectations and learning goals, effective mentorship, impact on career goals, and ethical learning. Mentorship qualities were accessibility, real-time problem solving, research expertise, advocate, and balancing guidance with independence. Project sites' feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding the projects' impact. Postgraduation participants hold positions in humanitarian organizations, research programs serving the underserved, and primary care residencies, fellowships, and faculty. This experience illustrates the feasibility and effectiveness of mentored global health research and underlines the crucial link between community collaboration and scholarship for effective global health practice.