Skip to content
Florence School of Transnational Governance

Open 2 Health team defines new training curriculum in Bogotá

An STG delegation met with counterparts from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotà to seek ways to best prepare professionals for future health crises.

13 April 2023


In March, a delegation of the School of Transnational Governance’s (STG) Open to Health (O2H) programme crossed the Atlantic to meet the team at the partner institution Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

In 2021, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the STG and Universidad de los Andes launched the university-based training network O2H, which is supported by the Open Society University Network (OSUN). The aim of the programme is to expand the professional knowledge base relevant for the intersections of health systems’ resilience and governance. O2H provides trainings in health governance and crisis resilience to professionals with and without a background in public health, with a focus on low- and middle-income countries.

In Bogotá, the two teams came together to finally get to know each other in person, and to work on the design of the next chapters of the programme.

“The COVID- 19 pandemic laid bare not only the requirement for more public health professionals at the frontlines of the pandemic but also the dire need for a stronger cooperation and sharing of resources, information, expertise across various regions and scales of global health governance. Future health threats may span pathogens, to chemical, biohazardous substances and natural disasters (…) The Open2Health programme is designed with professionals in mind who would like to navigate these complex intersectoral issues and create policy relevant advice for the field of health governance,” says O2H Programme Manager and Scientific coordinator Swasti Mishra, after returning to Florence. “The next generation of professionals engaging in preparedness as well responding to health crises will deeply benefit from an ability to understand multisectoral forms of collaboration required to resolve the issues they might be tackling. This expansion of knowledge and acquiring of new skills will of course deeply benefit from stronger global synergies.”

The three lead partner institutions of the O2H programme, STG, Universidad de Los Andes and BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health in Dhaka, Bangladesh, offer faculty members with diverse disciplinary backgrounds prepared to address the needs of health systems in various government sectors and different socio-economic and geographic settings. Professor Pasi Penttinen, Chief Executive Officer of the new Gulf Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Riyadh, recently took over the lead of the STG's work on public health, including O2H. In the academic year 2023-2024, Pentinnen will will teach a course on 'on transnational health hazards related to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials and agents.' In Bogotá, Oscar Bernal, Professor of Public Health, is the driving force behind the initiative and has been on board since the programme’s inception. Oscar will be teaching a course on the role of data informed decision making along with key concerns in working with data-driven measures for crises prepraredness.

O2H is conducted entirely online: “The programme has two broad foundational courses focusing on creating an advanced understanding of the key institutions, initiatives, and developments in ‘global health’ as they relate to pandemic planning and preparedness at the global, national and sub-national levels;” explains Mishra. “Additionally, the programme has several shorter elective courses considering the multipronged approach that will be required for collectively preparing for and managing a future health crises (…) We then have other courses that combine top faculty on health governance together with lead practitioners on preparedness.”

OSUN fully funds participation, which is therefore free of cost for the candidates accepted for the pilot phase of health resilience certificate programme. Currently, 71 participants take part in the trainings spread across Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. “We are very proud of the highly interactive nature of all courses and the number of synchronous hours with faculty that are provided to the participants. The animations, pre-recorded lectures, quizzes, fieldwork in their own professional settings, all lead upto thorough discussions in the synchronous sessions. Instead of relocating to gain education, our participants are able to directly apply what they learn in their work settings and simultaneously form professionally relevant new transnational networks,” emphasises Mishra.

The success of O2H is also made possible by the efforts of the digital learning team at the STG . In Bogotá, the school’s e-learning designer and pedagogical expert Mina Sotiriou hosted a workshop on evaluation and curriculum design. The visit also explored opportunities for more intensive collaboration with the digital learning team at Universidad de los Andes to meet the diverse needs of the programme.

Now back in Florence, the team is preparing for a four-day residential training session at the STG in October 2023. This final course aims to bring together all themes and skills with the goal of focusing on a new kind of global health diplomacy.


More about Open To Health (O2H)

Last update: 13 April 2023

Go back to top of the page