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Yale School of Public Health Partnership with Mexico Leads to New Online Implementation Science Course

July 20, 2021
by Amber Hromi-Fiedler

The Yale School of Public Health’s (YSPH) Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS) and the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico (INSP) formalized collaboration back in 2019 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was the culmination of a long-standing productive working relationship between INSP and Drs. Donna Spiegelman, the Director of CMIPS, and Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, the Director of the Maternal and Child Health Promotion program within CMIPS.

That formalized collaboration is now bearing some new fruit. On July 19, the online Spanish language summer course “Applications of Implementation Science to Public Health/Aplicaciones de la ciencia de la implementación a la salud pública” was launched by INSP and CMIPS to teach students how to conceptualize and apply the principles of implementation science to the design and evaluation of public health programs and to develop implementation strategies to increase and improve the use of such programs. Twenty-three students are enrolled.

INSP, the host, is the perfect partner to offer this course. The institute has offered summer courses for over 20 years, giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a focused topic while working with experts from around the world. The course is the first of its kind at INSP and will build the capacity of professionals in implementation science. “It may well be the first course of its kind offered anywhere in Latin America,” Dr. Spiegelman informed us. “Along with my co-instructors, I am proud to be among those leading the way in bringing the theory and practice of implementation science to our Mexican colleagues,” she said.

Dr. Tonatiuh Barrientos, Deputy Director General of the Center for Population Health Research at INSP, strongly supports the course. “I am very excited and very happy to be undertaking this collaboration and formalizing the effort to strengthen it”, he said.

It may well be the first course of its kind offered anywhere in Latin America.

Dr. Donna Spiegelman

The course is being led by Dr. Rafael Pérez-Escamilla in partnership with co-instructors Drs. Donna Spiegelman and Elizabeth Rhodes from CMIPS and Drs. Leticia Torres, a former Fulbright Fellow mentored by Dr. Spiegelman, Leith León-Maldonado, and Anabelle Bonvecchio from INSP. The course includes asynchronous modules and synchronous sessions focusing on implementation science frameworks, program impact pathways and RE-AIM framework assessments, and the application of principles of epidemiology and qualitative research to implementation science. Case study learning is the primary focus. The innovative case studies developed for the course include the evaluation of the maternal-child nutrition component of the Mexican conditional cash transfer program Prospera, cervical cancer prevention in Mexico, and type 2 diabetes prevention and self-management in Mexico and India. Students are responsible for a final presentation and paper highlighting the design of a quality control strategy for a public health program of interest to them. The course runs July 19 - August 4.

Dr. Pérez-Escamilla sees this as the beginning of many more collaborative activities to come under the MOU. “If the course is successful, this can move into a certificate program to train the first generation of implementation science researchers in Mexico,” he said. Given the pressing need for countries like Mexico to increase their capacity to adapt and implement proven interventions, this trail-blazing endeavor by the CMIPS-INSP partnership demonstrates robust strategic thinking and shows much promise.

Submitted by Sruly Tootle on July 20, 2021