A new innovative learning laboratory will provide students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Fairbanks School of Public Health with the opportunity to engage in reciprocal learning with community and academic partners in Sweden and Norway.
“We are thrilled to offer a pioneering approach for students, faculty and communities to engage in discourse and progress around advancing health,” said Paul Halverson, founding dean and professor at the Fairbanks School. “The Nordic health system model is a global exemplar known for its patient treatment outcomes, cost efficiency, and emphasis on high quality of life. Our school will have the unique opportunity to learn from and employ these population-level solutions in our home communities.”
The Nordic Health Studies Program currently includes a 10-day study abroad course in Norway and Sweden for undergraduate and graduate students and an intensive Oslo-based residential week for scholars in the Doctoral Program in Global Health Leadership. The Fairbanks School is planning to engage in virtual faculty exchanges and study internship exchanges. Plans are also underway for a semester-long study abroad program.
“This partnership will highlight for our students that we are all interrelated and interdependent and that solutions to local problems can be stimulated by perspectives from other places,” said Sue Babich, associate dean and professor at the Fairbanks School. “The curriculum is inclusive of approaches practiced in Denmark, Finland and Iceland – all countries that have universal healthcare systems and execute them in distinctive ways. We also have an eye on applying this model to our existing partnerships in Africa and the Caribbean and Latin America.”
The program will serve as a center of excellence in curriculum internationalization, integrating learning and solution-creation among academic partners and community members, to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the globe.
“One of the hallmarks of this program will be our partnership with global health policy leaders like Ole Berg and Mats Brommels,” said Halverson. “Their experience has led to advancements in the Norwegian and Swedish health systems that will be invaluable to this partnership. Both are key connectors in establishing this partnership and our ability to expand to other Nordic countries.”
In addition to Halverson and Babich, the program is led by an international team of scholars including: Egil Marstein, professor of the practice, Fairbanks School; Ole Berg, emeritus professor, University of Oslo, Norway; Mats Brommels, MD, emeritus professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.