The Global Health Policy Lab engages Dartmouth students in team-based projects conducted in partnership with Ministries of Health, nongovernmental organizations, and community partners in resource-constrained settings. The projects combine formal coursework at Dartmouth with a term of international field research culminating in the production of a policy brief for a partner institution. Global Health Policy Lab projects involve a credit-bearing course in the fall term followed by ten weeks of field research in an international setting. Past Global Health Policy Lab teams have focused on topics such as:
- The creation of a palliative care program in Kosovo
- The use of telehealth to increase access to specialty care in Peru
- Substance abuse treatment among indigenous youth in Greenland.
In Fall 2019, students will participate in the course Global Health Field Research: Methods and Practice (INTS 82.01) to prepare to undertake independent, team-based field research. Course components include the following:
- Topical sessions with a range of subject matter and country experts from Dartmouth, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other institutions
- Advanced research methods workshops
- Project management clinics taught by Tuck School of Business School faculty
- Training on global health ethics, research ethics, and intercultural awareness.
By the end of the fall term, students will develop a comprehensive literature review on their research topic and formulate a research methodology for their projects. In the subsequent winter term, teams will travel to country sites to implement their research plans. Teams gather data through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and meetings with local and international experts. Within the country, teams may visit multiple sites to learn about the larger context for their research question – for example, last year's Peru team visited hospitals in three cities, each in a different region of the country, to learn about the range of health access issues that a telehealth program could address.
At the end of the winter, teams will use their research findings to create a policy paper, which is then delivered to the Ministry of Health or project partner. Producing the final product requires students to synthesize data from a wide range of sources, reconcile different perspectives and interests, and translate their findings into language that is accessible and useful to decision-makers.