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Global health for Takatsuki senior high school

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Sabrina Ishimatsu, Instructor, meeting virtually with students from Takatsuki Senior High School.

Thirty sophomores and juniors in Osaka, Japan, recently completed the inaugural Stanford e-Course on Global Health for Takatsuki Senior High School. The course, jointly developed and offered by the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and Takatsuki Senior High School, provided students with a broad overview of the importance of global health with a special focus on a few pioneering examples of international work conducted by researchers at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University and the Stanford University School of Medicine. The course provided students of Takatsuki High’s Global Advanced Course with unique opportunities to interact with top global health researchers including the following: Scott Rozelle, PhD, the Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow at FSI and Co-director of the Rural Education Action Program; Kathryn M. McDonald, MM, Executive Director of the Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at Stanford (CHP/PCOR); Phillip C. Yang, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine); C. Jason Wang, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Nomita Divi, Project Manager of the Stanford India Health Policy Initiative; and Karen Eggleston, PhD, Director of the Asia Health Policy Program, and Center Fellow at CHP/PCOR.

From September 2015 to February 2016, the students participated in eight web-based lectures, or “virtual classes,” in English and had the opportunity to engage the guest lecturers in question and answer sessions. The virtual classes covered a variety of topics ranging from stem cell research to building a health care system from scratch. The students completed reading and homework assignments for each topic.

“Teaching this course, I felt the students were given the unique experience to practice and improve their English language abilities in the context of global health and they rose to the challenge. And the guest lecturers were excellent role models to my students,” commented course instructor Sabrina Ishimatsu. “They provided non-Japanese perspectives on global health that may have a strong influence on students aspiring to attend medical school or to pursue their studies in other health-related fields.”

The course’s distinct mix of content with cross-cultural and linguistic aspects was also appreciated by Tsuyoshi Kudo, Takatsuki’s Vice Principal. “Through this course the students learned it is possible and it is enjoyable to learn something new in English,” he said. “I think education at school is to help students realize their potential. In this sense, I feel very pleased that SPICE/Stanford and Takatsuki were able to offer this great course.”

Following his talk on stem cell research, guest lecturer Phillip C. Yang, MD, said, “I truly enjoyed the online experience with the students, and they were very intelligent, inquisitive, and conscientious. During the Q&A their questions were very insightful and relevant. I appreciate the opportunity to experience this unique teaching method.”

The primary aim of the course was to nurture future global leaders who have a profound awareness of the significance of global health. Students who successfully completed the course earned a Certificate of Completion from SPICE, Stanford University.

For more information, please email Sabrina Ishimatsu, course instructor, at sishi@stanford.edu.