Representatives from a community in the developing world will identify a local health problem whose solution requires the collaborative, multi-disciplinary expertise of physicians, public health workers, policy analysts, and lawyers. The community representatives may be officials from the Ministry of Health at the federal or district level of a particular country; representatives of an NGO active in health and health policy in that country; or local professionals. They will come to Pittsburgh at the beginning of the course and meet with the students and faculty. They will lay out the nature of the problem, its salient medical, public health, political, legal, and human rights dimensions, and the various local stakeholders and institutions who are affected by the problem and who would benefit from its solution.
Students will spend the rest of the term analyzing the problem from their respective disciplinary perspectives and developing a policy analysis and action plan that will be presented to the country representatives at the conclusion of the course. During this time students will maintain email and telephone contact with the country representatives. They will also be studying the relevant professional literature, as well as reports from, e.g., the UN, World Health Organization, health and human rights NGOs, the World Bank, and agencies of local government, that will enable them to propose substantial, timely, and actionable interventions.