Lessons from India: outcomes of an overseas field trip for public health students
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University of Wolverhampton United Kingdom
University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Stride Education, India
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A708
Background and objective:
Working in partnership with education and health organisations in India, this field trip aimed to enhance public health students’ knowledge and experiences of working with diverse communities.

Focussing on public health needs, students could reflect and relate these to their own needs and experiences. This experiential learning programme provided students with an opportunity to compare and contrast how public health practitioners addressed health needs in India and explore the impact of policy and funding on practice.

Five groups of around 20 students have been on the field trip since 2014. Students learned about government-initiated public health approaches as well as those coordinated and delivered by NGOs and local populations. The outcomes were assessed through reflective accounts, video diaries and interviews. These highlighted that they were able to appreciate how culture influenced health beliefs and public health practice; they were also able to understand the role the government, NGOs, faith organisations and the collective efforts of society to protect and promote health. This experience enhanced students’ understanding of public health and gave them experiences and insights into practice that could not have been gained from reading alone.

The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us that public health education needs to be global and not bound by national or geographical boundaries, so we are maintaining connections with our partners in India to support learning for public health students in both countries. We are providing a virtual experience through the reflective accounts that were gathered on the field trips and through online discussions with practitioners and public health students in India.

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