The beauty of competency-based education (CBE) is that it is fluid and flexible, promoting critical application of the course material with a focus on what students should be able to do, as opposed to a singular emphasis on knowledge. The ability of CBE to produce graduates who are competent professionals has made the approach increasingly popular among various health fields. In fact, The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists (CanMEDS) have all developed core competencies for their programs.
Fast forward to 2014. Global health has become a buzzword, conjuring up images of Bill and Melinda Gates projects and Partners in Health initiatives. Once a field that rallied for press, global health is receiving increasing limelight. Global health teaching in undergrad and medical curricula is also increasing and the 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, states study abroad by U.S. based students is steadily increasing and is at an all time high.
Over the past decade, the number of American students in health fields going abroad has nearly tripled, with many opting for programs that take them out of the classroom and into clinics and hospitals. But as participation has increased, so, too, have educators’ concerns.
CFHI helps to identify community strengths, ingenuity, and passion. In close collaboration with local teams, CFHI creates programs and funds community health projects identified and carried out by local teams. This practice is based on the asset-based community development approach, formalized at Northwestern University.
Child Family Health International (CFHI) along with the greater study abroad community gathered the last week in May in Houston at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference. Paul Arntson led off a session entitled “Designing Transformative International Education Programs: What’s Working.” Discussed was having students participate in an asset-based model to examine a community’s strengths rather than weaknesses, which aligns with CFHI’s approach.