Eastern Europe/Central Asia Regional Summer School and On-Line Course on Global Health

Major political, economic and social developments at the end of the 20th century resulted in significant restructuring of political borders in parts of Europe and Asia. After dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, more than 20 new sovereign states with a total population of over 300 million emerged across a vast territory stretching from the Balkans to the Caucasus and Central Asia. During the past 30 years, this cluster of countries, often referred to as "Eastern Europe/Central Asia" (EE/CA) has experienced unprecedented acceleration of globalization and all the positive and negative effects that go with it, including those that affected the population's health.

In addition to the effects of globalization, several transformations in these countries also have been affected by region-specific developments that further influenced the population's health. Development of regional trade agreements, scaled-up regional transportation networks, free movement of people and goods across countries within the region, forced migration due to regional military conflicts and humanitarian catastrophes, regional defense initiatives, common environmental and climate issues and other processes have created health-related risk-factors specific to this region, requiring regional cooperation and joint planning on courses of action.

In this context, the importance of global health, as a newly emerging and rapidly growing area of practice that creates a framework for conceptual, technical and operational understanding of how countries and key health stakeholders can best preserve human health in the globalized world - can not be overstated in this region.

Effective international cooperation on health requires all countries to possess a robust knowledge of current and emerging health issues and a solid understanding of health cooperation mechanisms and regulations. Addressing the growing need for building professional capacity in these areas within all countries, the academic community has responded with a rapid scale-up of training programs on global health. Most of these programs have been established at universities in the developed regions of North America and Western Europe, as well as in Japan and Australia. More recently, the trend of establishing such programs also has been noticeable in low-income countries of Africa and Asia - often through development assistance provided by high-income countries. However, the middle-income countries of Eastern Europe/Central Asia, haven't been investing in themselves, nor have they been receiving external support to develop professional training programs in global health. Subsequently, in this region of over 20 countries and 300 million population, there is currently not a single university that offers a professional degree in global health.

The Eastern Europe/Central Asia Regional Summer School and on-line course on global health are attempts to partly fill this void. The Summer School, taught by internationally renowned faculty, will be offered annually. It will attract regional participants from the government, private and academic sectors. The on-line course will be offered for free to all participants for self-study. The Institute of Global Health has been working with leading universities in Europe and North America to prepare the curriculum and is exploring opportunities for joint delivery and certification of these training events. Please monitor our web-site for further updates and announcements.

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