Training and Education

A large part of the IDEA Initiative is teaching and training future professionals in public health. Featured below are a few of the past and ongoing programs, workshops, events, and Public Health courses the IDEA Initiative has helped pull together to further this goal.


Designing Transformative innovation for global health - Health Systems Summer Institute

This course seeks to provide an introduction to transformative health innovation in resource-limited settings through a policy lens. In this age of globalization, the expectations of life-saving technologies cross borders readily, but the diffusion of these technologies, particularly into low- and middle-income countries, often lags behind. This asymmetry in globalization is the root of much health inequity.

While the focus might be on technologies like antiretroviral drugs or treatment for cancer, there are many appropriate technologies that are potentially transformative for improving local health—making water potable, cookstoves more efficient and less polluting, and point-of-care diagnostics more available in clinics. Delivering the benefits of such technologies is not just a matter of hardware, but also of software. That is, trained healthcare workers also have to be in place, not just the bricks-and-mortar of clinics and what equipment they might house.

Transformative technologies and institutions have the potential to improve significantly the health of populations and narrow the disparities between those who have and those who do not have access to health care. Transformative can refer to changes in one or more dimensions of health equity. Innovation that advances health equity can be measured in milestones of lives saved, disability averted or improved quality of life. The design of such innovation can narrow or widen health inequity in a society or impose unintended consequences. The process can count as much as the product: innovation is not just for those in disease-endemic countries, but importantly sometimes, should be by those in disease-endemic countries. Context matters.

This intensive, short course examines the context of what makes innovation potentially transformative. Students will gain exposure to key policy tools such as stakeholder, value chain and market analyses as well as systems thinking. In so doing, they will consider and critique how policy—from intellectual property rights to the structuring of economic incentives with public or private sector funding—can create an enabling environment (or not) for innovation and access in resource-limited settings. The course will discuss a range of approaches for enabling innovation and access to health technologies, from tiering and pooling to push and pull financing. These innovative financing mechanisms have taken various forms, from social impact bonds to advance market commitments. In introducing new technologies or institutions, ethical issues also arise, from double standards to donor-recipient relationships.


Tackling the intersectoral challenge of antimicrobial resistance - Johns Hopkins Health Systems DrPH Program

This course’s inaugural offering was in the 3rd term of 2018 at the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health. The course is part of the DrPH program, with some spots open to other students, and teaches students a systems thinking perspective on policymaking through the lens of an intersectoral, public health challenge of antimicrobial resistance. Students gain skills in shaping policy interventions that catalyze change through effective analysis and use of evidence. This is a required Problem-based course for the new PT DrPH students.  

Why has it taken decades for the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to be recognized as the extraordinary threat it is to the miracles of modern day medicine? The UK Review on AMR forecasts that, if unchecked, AMR will cost up to $100 trillion dollars in economic losses by 2050, and by that year, 10 million people will die of drug-resistant infections–more than the number who die of cancer each year today. What steps account for its rise from neglect to one of the four global health issues ever to be discussed by the UN General Assembly?

Learning Objectives

  • Examine how global policymaking influences and guides the workings of intergovernmental agencies, national governments and local healthcare delivery and food production

  • Analyze the ethical tensions in ensuring access, but not excess of antibiotic use in both healthcare delivery and the food production system

  • Discuss approaches that use monitoring and transparency to ensure accountability for public health goals that could also be applied to AMR

  • Examine the economics, equity and trade-offs of differing models of pharmaceutical innovation and access

  • Identify how conflict of interest potentially influences the policy process and how to safeguard this against such special interests

  • Explain how a One Health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance reveals both tensions and opportunities for intersectoral collaboration

  • Explore how economic incentives and financial approaches can exacerbate or mitigate the challenge of antimicrobial resistance

  • Recognize the disparate impact of policy interventions across countries, sectors and settings of differing resource levels.


LEAP Workshop & Practicum Cluster on Access to MEdicines

The IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative is hosting a set of practicum & internship opportunities for Hopkins masters students. Centered around the theme of “Access to Medicines,” these projects are an opportunity for students to learn from and network with the other students in the cluster as well as our partners in the various organizations hosting student projects. The practicum & internship cluster on Access to Medicines covers topics ranging from drug pricing to antibiotic resistance. Comprised of projects housed in a network of organizations, this cluster will allow students to gain valuable work experience while seeing how their individual project fits within a network of initiatives that together work to improve access to medicines. Students participating in this cluster will have the opportunity to meet regularly with the other students and learn from the inspiring preceptors through regular discussion sessions, lunches and seminars. Anthony D. So, MD, MPA will be the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member overseeing the cluster and acting as secondary preceptor for the projects. To learn more about the projects and apply, visit the Practicum Opportunity Site and search "Access to Medicines".

For the first time this year, students had the opportunity to participate in a day-long introductory workshop, Leaders for Enabling Access to Pharmaceuticals (LEAP), at the Public Citizen headquarters in Washington DC on November 9, 2018. This workshop invited Johns Hopkins students from across all schools with a strong interest in public health and a desire to learn more about the field of Access to Medicines. Students participating in the workshop did not need to be part of the Practicum Cluster program, but it was encouraged for all those interested in the Practicum Cluster to attend the workshop. During this workshop, students had a chance to hear from and meet with experts from the field of Access to Medicines representing partner organizations around the Washington, DC area and beyond. The event featured panels on a number of topics, including innovation and access to health technologies, drug pricing, trade and intellectual property rights, and antimicrobial resistance. Students engaged in discussions with speakers and had lunch in the company of Rob Weissman, President of Public Citizen. Finally, this workshop was an opportunity to meet other students with shared interests to start building a network in the field of access to medicines across Johns Hopkins.



The IDEA Initiative, in partnership with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations and ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance, organized the international online social design competition, Innovate4AMR, inviting students from around the world to develop innovative solutions for antibiotic stewardship in resource-limited settings. The first cohort of winning teams from around the world were invited to Geneva in November 2018 to present to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and follow a three-day course on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), stewardship strategies, and project implementation approaches. There, students attended talks and workshops on AMR, discussed with experts how to make strategic improvements to their innovation, and received feedback on how best to operationalize their project.

Antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, occurs when bacteria develop the ability to stop the drugs used to treat them. Antibiotics are the cornerstone of many of the miracles of modern-day medicine, from cancer chemotherapy to organ donation. The loss of effective antibiotics would mean reverting back to a time when simple infections might become untreatable. Each year, 700,000 people die due to drug-resistant infections and, if unchecked, this number may rise to 10 million deaths a year by 2050 — more than the number of people that die of cancer today. Antibiotics should, therefore, be considered a resource to be used with care.

Innovate4AMR asked students to propose strategies to tackle the underuse, overuse and misuse of antibiotic prevalent in a range of settings, from hospitals and clinics to outpatient pharmacies. In addressing AMR, student teams working across disciplines have much to contribute in proposing how to redesign the healthcare system. The hope in organizing such a global movement was to engage and enlist the next generation of leaders in developing innovative, scalable approaches to address the challenge of conserving existing antibiotics. Those in the healthcare sector have a particularly crucial role to play in finding new solutions. The competition therefore aims to empower students across the globe to strive for a world free of untreatable infections.

With over 1000 people signed up for the listserv, Innovate4AMR received 145 proposals from student teams around the world. After several rounds of judging, 11 winning teams were selected from Peru, India, Uganda, Honduras, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada, the Philippines, the USA and China. Students from these teams had the opportunity to present their proposals at a capacity-building workshop, supported by the WHO and South Centre, in Geneva during World Antibiotic Awareness Week.


Global health equity scholars

Through its work with the JHU Alliance for a Healthier World, the IDEA Initiative collaborates with the Global Health Equity Scholars in the Alliance’s Transformative Technologies and Institutions arm. The Global Health Equity Scholars Program was established in 2017 to facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations between Hopkins students across all schools and divisions. Scholars conduct research, lead student group events, and facilitate interactions between experts from several disciplines. They contribute to the innovative work of the Alliance under the direct mentorship of thematic leaders and senior staff.