Academic staff from the UST College of Education, Graduate School, and the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery joined researchers from the Center for Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases (CERID) and the Central Department of Public Health Institute of Medicine (IOM) of Tribhuvan University, Nepal, in piloting a partnership project between local communities and universities to explore the range, scope, and perceptions of community-based learning in public health courses.
This international collaborative initiative brings together the experts from UST in the fields of family and community medicine–Dr. Ma. Teresa Tricia Bautista (Co-Investigator); food technology–Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Arenas, Ph.D.; adult literacy and lifelong learning–Prof. Camilla Vizconde, Ph.D. (Co-Investigator) and Asst. Prof. Gina Lontoc, Ph.D., as they address the question, “How best can universities engage communities in a mutually respectful and equal partnership to advance public health education?”.
The research commenced with interviews, focus group discussions, and documentary analysis to explore current approaches to community-based learning in each participating institution. Furthermore, community members, medical students, and university researchers will collaborate in developing methods for co-investigating local and indigenous health knowledge.
The two research teams from the Philippines and Nepal convened from April 12 to 19, 2023, to finalize the project implementation plans, share comparative perspectives on public health and community-based education within courses, and formally launch the undertaking. While in Nepal, they engaged with health professionals, students, and academics to learn about the public health context, participating institutions, and university-community partnerships.
This interdisciplinary endeavor is funded by the Medical Research Council – Public Health Intervention Development (MRC-PHIND) in the United Kingdom and is managed by the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation based at the University of East Anglia. The UNESCO Chair team provides guidance in integrating ethnographic and participatory approaches into the 18-month project.