The Diamond Model for Global Health
In a globalizing world, health must not be seen as the concern of single nation states. Instead, the connections between changing geopolitical trends and health threats at the global level and their solutions at the local level should be the focus.
Recognizing this imperative, three academic institutions from Asia, Europe and North America established an innovative educational model in 2010. From the onset, the intention was to expand the model worldwide and build a global network of partners with equal status, equal contribution and equal benefits. The partnership now consists of seven institutions spanning five continents. It leverages transdisciplinary, transnational collaboration to tackle extant and emerging issues such as migration, healthcare provision and access, climate change and environmental degradation.
Conceptualization of the model was inspired by the diamond. The carbon atoms of diamonds are bonded the same way thus giving diamonds their superior strength. The partners are the atoms within the model and each one is crucial for supporting the network. The individual roles and values of the institutions are respected and equitable participation in knowledge generation, diffusion and application across the institutions is paramount. Interconnectedness is manifest in all facets of the model.
There is ongoing dialogue among the institutions and the partners meet annually to discuss and evaluate educational activities to ensure students are provided with an equitable and transformative learning experience. Two jointly developed online courses—Foundations of Global Health 1 and 2—are offered to all students, and an interinstitutional exchange program allows students access to one another’s courses. During the annual learning symposium in Manipal, India, students from all the institutions work together. In addition to creating system maps of various health topics, they investigate how India’s healthcare system is linked with and shaped by its place in the world.
The academic sector is increasingly cited as having the potential to effect significant change. To this end higher education must provide an intellectual and operational arsenal that is broad based, high calibre and accessible. The diamond model engages students, educators and researchers across disciplines, countries and institutions in addressing local and global health challenges and producing impactful research.
Global Health Consortium
In 2010, McMaster joined forces with Maastricht University in the Netherlands to create a best practice model of international collaboration in higher education. Since then, the MSc Global Health program has evolved, and is now delivered in co-ordination with a network of partner universities.