Field course in Sri Lanka on Cross-disciplinary Health Research

Course content

Overall program format

For 3 weeks the course participants will be hosted by the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka (RUSL), in Anuradhapura, in the north central region of Sri Lanka. During this time visits will be made to a range of health and research related institutions in the area.

The course includes:

  • Introduction to the health system and public health institutions in Sri Lanka (lectures and field visits)
  • ​Introduction to selected current health challenges and selected health topics (lectures and field visits and group work)
  • Introduction to selected health research trends in Sri Lanka (lectures and discussions)
  • ​Introduction to the Ayurvedic health system (traditional health system)

 

There is emphasis on cross-disciplinary and -cultural group work throughout the course. Students will be divided into groups of 4-6 members. Each group focus on one specific health topic (topics will be announced by faculty). Students will pursue insights into their topic group's area of health research and develop a mini-research project and propose a research  idea (at the end of the course) through field visits, field work, group discussions and debates with staff. Each group will be guided and supervised by a Sri Lankan faculty member or health expert, in cooperation with Sri Lankan students, as co-researchers and assistants.

The course will end with a research symposium with mandatory group presentations (the course exam) and peer discussions.

Learning outcome

The overall objective of this course is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and competences to understand health research and its challenges in a middle-income setting – as Sri Lanka. Upon completion of the course the student will:

Knowledge

  • Have gained a good understand of the challenges of urban, rural, private and government health systems and health research challenges in a middle-income and rapidly changing socio-economic setting of Sri Lanka.

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of a specific global health problem and research priorities as it presents itself in the Sri Lankan context.

Skills

  • Have a basic understanding of the broad variety of health research methods and designs, as applied by Sri Lankan and international research actors including clinical and epidemiological research, bio sampling, GIS mapping, community surveys and qualitative/humanistic health research.

  • Be able to reflect on the selection of research methods to study contemporary health care challenges in the context of Sri Lanka.

  • Be able to reflect on the social and cultural and academic experiences and challenges of working in cross-cultural groups and in foreign research environments

 

Competences

  • Have basic competences in conducting field work in cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural student groups, and thus gaining crucial future research abilities.

The course is an interdisciplinary course applying many different learning activities including lectures, field visits, group work, report writing, verbal presentations, and self-reflections. We aim to present as many different research approaches and activities as possible during the course.

The group work is central for the course, where students independently pursue insights, through field visits into a selected health topic, guided by a Sri Lankan faculty member or health expert, and in corporation with Sri Lankan post graduate students as co-researchers and interpreters.

Likely focus areas dependent on appointed local supervisors (not limited to):

- Environmental Health, Agriculture, Climate change, Disaster management
- Maternal/Reproductive, Child health, and nutrition
- NCDs, including kidney disease, tobacco/alcohol, cancers, injuries, traffic
- Mental health including suicide and self-harm prevention and interventions
- Health promotion, health education, and Health Communication
- Alternative medical systems/local healing practices (Ayurvedic medicine and Bhuddism)

Prior to the course, each student goup will receive a reading list developed by the course leader and the local supervisors, with mandatory and suggested readings.

Prior to the course, all participants are expected to gp throuogh an online pre-departure training course (watch a number of short videos and do group exercises), establish the student groups, organise the first group exercises (online work), dicuss the chosen health topic of interest and develop specific research objecitves and a mini-research proposal (supported by the group supervisors). 

Students must expect to spend up to a total of one week on preparations, readings, group and supervisor Skype meetings/correspondences in the period 15 June to departure date (to be scheduled in groups of 4-6 students).
 

This course is aimed at postgraduate/master level students with interest in all aspects of health, including academic background and/or have experience with veterinary medicine, environmental health/geography, humanistic aspects of health, epidemiology, medicine, anthropology, public health, history, business, et cetera.

- Basic level of knowledge in research methodology at bachelor's level.
- Proficient communication skills (written/oral) in English, as the entire course will be conducted in English

Costs of teaching, supervision and other academic activities during the course are covered by the University of Copenhagen.

Students must cover costs concerning travel, travel insurance (mandatory for the entire course period), visa, vaccinations, food, and accommodation (organized by the course administration at a low rate in mid-range hotels, shared rooms).

Students must ensure proper vaccinations and visa before travelling. With minimum daily expenses, student costs can be expected to be held at a minimum amount of 4000 DKK excluding flight tickets. Accommodation costs app. 1400-2000 DKK. This price is set as the university will organise hotel for all and negotiate a low group price.

Oral
Collective
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, App. 45 min. per group
Written assignment
PRESENTATION (group assignment):
The students work in topic groups and present the sum of their work at a ‘research symposium’ on one of the last days of the course. All group members must be present and contribute to the presentation.

The presentation must consist of a digital presentation (any platform and program is allowed). The presentation is followed by feedback and questions from peers and staff.
The presentation must cover:
1. Introduction and background on the selected health topic/problem
2. Research priorities and research challenges for the selected health topic
3. Proposed research studies/activities for a selected health topic
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Upon completion of the course the student will:

Knowledge

  • Have gained a good understand of the challenges of urban, rural, private and government health systems and health research challenges in a middle-income and rapidly changing socio-economic setting of Sri Lanka.

  • Demonstrate in-depth understanding of a specific global health problem and research priorities as it presents itself in the Sri Lankan context.

     

    Skills

  • Have a basic understanding of the broad variety of health research methods and designs, as applied by Sri Lankan and international research actors including clinical and epidemiological research, bio sampling, GIS mapping, community surveys and qualitative/humanistic health research.

  • Be able to reflect on the selection of research methods to study contemporary health care challenges in the context of Sri Lanka.

  • Be able to reflect on the social and cultural and academic experiences and challenges of working in cross-cultural groups and in foreign research environments

 

Competences

  • Have basic competences in conducting field work in cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural student groups, and thus gaining crucial future research abilities.

Short courses / Copenhagen Summer University

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Field Work
  • 100
  • Preparation
  • 81,25
  • English
  • 206,25