Learning Together: A Canada-Cuba Research Collaboration to Improve the Sustainable Management of Environmental Health Risks

By Spiegel, Jerry; Garcia, Maricel et al. | Canadian Journal of Public Health, January/February 2006 | Go to article overview

Learning Together: A Canada-Cuba Research Collaboration to Improve the Sustainable Management of Environmental Health Risks


Spiegel, Jerry, Garcia, Maricel, Bonet, Mariano, Yassi, Annalee, Canadian Journal of Public Health


ABSTRACT

Objective: To build a national Cuban capacity for training environmental health professionals directly linked to the needs of policy-makers and communities.

Participants: The University of Manitoba and University of British Columbia collaborated with an established training centre in Cuba (the Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Epidemiologia - INHEM) and new centres in the Central (Santa Clara) and Eastern (Santiago) regions of the country.

Setting: Cuba

Intervention: In the mid-1990s, a comprehensive curriculum (masters and diploma programs) was collaboratively developed, applying interactive teaching methods, and was delivered through a series of workshops and other interactions in Cuba, and short-term visits to Canada by Cuban PhD students.

Outcomes: The collaboration was successful in fulfilling capacity-building targets (over 50 Masters graduates, 467 Diploma graduates, over 30 trained core faculty in all regional centres as well as new curriculum and new accredited regional programs). Alongside this, a number of collaborative community-based research projects were undertaken in all three regions (drinking water in Santiago; housing and urban renewal, and dengue control in Havana; and tourism-related effects, and effective intersectoral management of population health determinants in Santa Clara).

Conclusion: The collaboration led to adopting new strategies for challenges such as a dengue epidemic in 2002, and new research on the effectiveness of intersectoral management of risks of particular interest to both Cuban and Canadian policy-makers. It triggered an ambitious collaboration between the Canadian-Cuban team and colleagues in Ecuador in order to build a similar national network there, built on South-South and North-South links.

MeSH terms: International cooperation; public health; environmental health; interdisciplinary communication; research; teaching

RÉSUMÉ

Objectif : Créer à Cuba une capacité nationale de formation de professionnels en salubrité de l'environnement directement liée aux besoins des décideurs et des collectivités.

Participants : L'Université du Manitoba et l'Université de la Colombie-Britannique ont collaboré avec un centre de formation bien établi de Cuba (!'Institute Nacional de Higiene y Epidemiologia - INHEM) et de nouveaux centres dans la région centrale (Santa Clara) et la région orientale (Santiago) du pays.

Lieu : Cuba

Intervention : Au milieu des années 1990, on a élaboré par un effort concerté un programme d'études global (menant à la maîtrise et à divers diplômes) qui appliquait des méthodes d'enseignement interactives. On a mis ce programme à exécution au moyen d'une série d'ateliers et d'autres interactions à Cuba, et d'une série de brefs séjours au Canada par des doctorantes et des doctorants cubains.

Résultats : Cette collaboration a atteint ses objectifs de renforcement des capacités (plus de 50 détenteurs et détentrices de maîtrises, 467 diplômées et diplômés, plus de 30 membres du corps professoral de base formés dans tous les centres régionaux, nouveau programme d'études et nouveaux programmes régionaux agréés). En parallèle, des projets concertés de recherche communautaire ont été entrepris dans les trois régions (eau potable à Santiago; logement, renouvellement urbain et lutte contre la dengue à La Havane; et effets touristiques et gestion intersectorielle efficace des déterminants de la santé de la population à Santa Clara).

Conclusion : La concertation a mené à l'adoption de nouvelles stratégies pour relever des défis comme l'épidémie de dengue de 2002 et à de nouvelles études sur l'efficacité de la gestion intersectorielle des risques qui intéressent particulièrement les décideurs cubains et canadiens, et elle a été l'élément déclencheur d'une collaboration ambitieuse entre l'équipe canado-cubaine et ses collègues en Equateur, qui veulent construire un réseau national semblable dans leur pays à partir de liens Sud-Sud et Nord-Sud. …

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