Pulitzer Center Update

Global Health Lesson Builder Initiative Launches at CUGH 2016

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Cholera map by Dan McCarey.

As a global health school graduate, I'm hopeful that STEM students' education has the potential to impact our world—but the impact is amplified when those experiences and knowledge are communicated well to a lay audience.

Following the roll-out of the Lesson Builder education tool in fall 2015, the Pulitzer Center has partnered with some of our strongest public health university partners to expand university-level education resources.

We are working with faculty members and research assistants to design in-depth course lessons around how to leverage news media as a primary tool for communicating global health to those outside of the academic field. Each lesson includes an exclusive science journalist video interview, along with various Pulitzer Center resources that train students to analyze, debate, critique, and compare science communication techniques.

At the University of Washington, global health research assistant Paul Nevin has designed “Global Health Journalism: A Powerful Tool for MPH Students.” As a former Pulitzer Center student fellow, Paul draws upon his own field experiences as well as those of public health journalist Joanne Silberner to explore story pitching, reporting, and even the ethics of global health coverage. You can find the exclusive interview with Paul Nevin and Joanne Silberner here.

At the University of Michigan, Dr. Zoe McLaren has designed “Tuberculosis: A call to action,” which explores the role of visual journalism in communicating global health issues. Through the lesson, students investigate the implications of visual media coverage on global health policy change, comparing coverage of TB to that of HIV, malaria, and other diseases. You can find the exclusive interview with photojournalist and filmmaker David Rochkind here.

Professor Jennifer Riggan of Arcadia University has designed “Tracking Aid Money: Engaging With the Work of Amy Maxmen.” The objective of this lesson is to conduct a detailed analysis of Amy Maxmen's groundbreaking Newsweek health financing investigation, examining how it compares and contrasts with academically published health financing research. You can find the exclusive interview with Amy Maxmen here.

At Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Marie Diener-West has worked with Pulitzer Center’s Akela Lacy to develop “Telling Science Stories: Data Visualization.” In this lesson, students learn how increasingly advanced data visualization methods make it easier to communicate and understand quantitative data in an accessible way. The lesson draws upon three Pulitzer Center-supported data visualizations, developed by Dan McCarey, and teaches students basic online mapping platform techniques to create visualizations of their own. You can find the exclusive interview with expert Dan McCarey here.

After the development and execution of each lesson, Pulitzer Center journalists visited these courses to engage with students and further explore ways to communicate complex global health issues to a public audience.

More lessons are on the way, particularly at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. The Department of Global Health’s Dr. Ron Waldman is currently finalizing a lesson on telling the story of big data and global health with filmmaker Rob Tinworth. Meanwhile, colleague Dr. Sangeeta Mookherji is working with political reporter Laura Bassett on how long-form coverage of reproductive health can move the dial on public health policy.

By joining our community, you can use or adapt these science communication lessons for your classroom, or better yet, create your own. Together, as we grow a body of university-level education resources, the Lesson Builder will become an increasingly valuable tool to educators around the country.