Project-based training as a tool to tackle occupational health challenges in developing countries

Leonardo Briceno, K. Radon, D. Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Introduction To know the prevalence of exposures and diseases
at workplaces is crucial for the development of intervention
strategies and healthcare planning. However, in many low
and middle-income countries (LMIC) research is no priority.
One reason is a lack of experts able to carry out sound epidemiological
research at workplaces. One way of preparing such
experts is through project-based training. We therefore implemented
a project as training method in our blended learning
Master in International Occupational Safety and Health
Methods Students start by identifying their research interest
based on existing worker’s health problems. They develop a
study protocol to assess working conditions and health at a
self-selected workplace. After ethics approval, they carry out
the project during the 2nd term of the program. In term 3,
they learn to analyse and interpret data and develop a teaching
intervention. In the final term, students write the master thesis in form of a scientific paper. Throughout the process,
they are accompanied by a tutor.
Results Since its beginning in 2012, the number of participants
in the program is stable with 10–12 students/year. All of them
are OSH experts with at least 2 years of experience in the
field coming from eight Latin American countries. Students
evaluate the project-based learning approach as positive. Of
the 43 graduating students, 9 research papers were published
in journals. More than half of the graduates teach students at
local universities and thereby act as multipliers. Few continue
to carry out research mainly due to lack of priority in their
home countries.
Discussion The project-based learning approach contributes to
occupational health research in Latin America. The concept
might be promising also for other LMIC. However, due to
the individual tutoring the program is cost intensive, publication
of the results challenging and work opportunities for
researchers limited
Original languageSpanish (Colombia)
Pages (from-to)A-305
Number of pages306
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 24 2018

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