The EARTHS (Education And Research oriented Training in Health Sciences) summer school is a training programme specifically for the In-country/In-region scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The scholarships are awarded to outstanding Master and PhD students from developing countries for completing their studies in their home country or region. The summer school is hosted at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW), ‘Health Sciences Department’. It is conducted by the HAW in cooperation with the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine. ’EARTHS’ is targeted towards students who have a primary qualification in a human health related field such as medicine, psychology, public health, veterinary sciences etc.
Every year since 2017, 26 DAAD scholarship holders have been visiting the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in the month of June to participate in the “EARTHS” Summer School in Hamburg, Germany. 2020 has been different; the COVID-19 pandemic required us to switch to an online summer school format. “EARTHS 2020 goes digital” was a great success; it brought together 25 brilliant researchers from 15 different countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The “EARTHS 2020 Supplementary Online Course” was scheduled from 4th August to 29th September 2020. It included online workshops, a series of online lectures in the field of health sciences and intercultural networking sessions along with a few asynchronous sessions including a virtual Hamburg city tour, quizzes and podcasts. With this online programme we aimed to give the EARTHS 2020 participants the opportunity…
- … to get to know and connect virtually with the EARTHS fellows, the HAW students and research staff,
- … to gain an insight into the basics of evidence-based public health, scientific writing, basic statistics and impactful presentation skills
- … to explore selected global health research topics and tools of science communication
- … and to get a glimpse of the city of Hamburg, the German language and culture.
The outcome has been exciting discussions, the development of creative public health projects and the growth of a network across countries and individual disciplines. A special highlight has been the co-creative production of 5 short videos by the EARTHS participants and HAW students. Current and highly relevant global health topics such as mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic and the scope of digital applications in this context or the obesity pandemic or malaria control were addressed in the videos. All students were located in different countries across the globe and contributed to the topic from their perspective.
Our goal of strengthening the research and teaching skills of the young scientists, raising awareness on current global health issues, sensitizing EARTHS participants and HAW students to different health care situations and perspectives, sharing some aspects of the German culture, building bridges across cultural and religious divides and having fun were more than achieved even via digital means.
As part of the DAAD-EARTHS online summer school 2020, the scholars from 15 developing countries, including Africa, Asia and Middle East, produced their own short films. In these films, selected threats and challenges for public health- The Public Health Challenges of the 21st Century, were presented and discussed.