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Students on the MSc International Health and Tropical Medicine programme discussed pandemics, during a day exploring some of the major challenges in global health, hosted by PSI's Dr Alice Norton.

Dr Alice Norton


The University of Oxford's MSc International Health and Tropical Medicine (IHTM) programme 'Wicked Problem Days' use problem-based learning and expert input to explore key challenges in global health, including mental health, pandemics, antimicrobial resistance, and the impact of climate change on health.

During last week's focused day on the problem of pandemics, students presented in groups on their assigned topics and dedicated time to discussions with subject specialists. Students worked together to think creatively about viable and sustainable solutions to aspects of the health issues raised. 

The Pandemic Wicked Problem Day was led by Dr Alice Norton, Lead of PSI's Policy and Practice Research Group and IHTM lecturer. Alice was joined by PSI colleagues from across her research group.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Norton said: "Pandemics are the epitome of a ‘wicked problem’ and it is important to study their complexities on a global scale.

"Many of the IHTM students were involved in their country’s pandemic response and it is very valuable to share and learn from their experiences. It is only through a truly global perspective that we can work towards effective responses and solutions."

Researcher presenting on the socioeconomic drivers of pandemics.

Students covered topics including:

  • Origins of pandemics
  • Global surveillance and reporting in pandemic response
  • Research during outbreaks
  • Strategies for strengthening arbovirus epidemic preparedness and response in Brazil: learning from Zika
  • Communication risks during pandemics
  • Social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the afternoon, guest lecturers presented on a variety of topics:

Find out more about the MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine