For 10 weeks this summer, the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy will host a cohort of Egyptian public health scholars through the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program. This will be the second time that CUNY and IU will have the honor of hosting Egyptian scholars, and is again the only public health group selected for the program. IU and CUNY will build off of previous experiences to develop a curriculum focused on teaching methodology, pedagogy, resources, and technology in order to facilitate faculty development and collaboration among the junior scholars.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given over 370,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, scientists and other professionals the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
“We are honored to again be selected to host these scholars and further develop the collaborative relationship we started last year between our schools and the junior faculty from Egypt. As a previous faculty Fulbright Scholar to Egypt, I’ve enjoyed a long history working within the country and look forward to this venture,” says Shawn Gibbs, Ph.D., M.B.A., C.I.H., executive associate dean for Academic Affairs at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and co-principal administrator of the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program.
With collaboration being a major goal of the program, the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy will work together to host the faculty scholars on both campuses during their time in the U.S. and participate in distance learning throughout the program. Through this collaboration, the Egyptian scholars will be able to complete a Population Health Informatics course specifically for countries with a developing public health infrastructure designed by co-investigator Ashish Joshi, Ph.D., M.B.B.S., M.P.H., associate dean of Student Affairs at CUNY.
“Having worked with Dr. Gibbs to host scholars from Libya during our time in Nebraska in 2013, I am happy to have the opportunity to work with him and the team at Indiana, including my counterpart at IU, Dean Mohammad Torabi, and Dr. Carrie Docherty, IU School of Public Health associate dean for Community and Global Engagement,” says Ayman El-Mohandes, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and Egyptian native. “We had a great program last year and I am certain that our two institutions will give the junior faculty members from Egypt an excellent experience again this summer. Through this collaboration, I am confident that the visiting scholars will have a positive impact on public health in Egypt.”
The visiting scholars will receive a broader education and cultural experience during their time in the U.S., and will develop a collaborative network that they can access upon their return to Egypt thanks to Dr. El-Mohandes’ extensive work experience in public health in Egypt and Dr. Gibbs’s experience as a Fulbright Scholar to Egypt.
“Collaborating with international scholars is an important aspect of the School of Public Health. We are continually working toward raising global awareness and fostering connections among the faculty and students with international partners. The Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program is a fantastic opportunity to build meaningful connections that can last for years to come,” says Dr. Docherty.
The scholars, who are all full-time university faculty, will participate in an academic program, mentoring and various cultural experiences during their time at IU and CUNY. Through these experiences both inside and outside the classroom, the Fulbright Junior Faculty Development Program strives to “equip scholars with the knowledge and tools needed to build the capacity of their home institutions and to advance the education of future generations,” according to the Institutes of International Education (IIE).
“We’re committed to providing the visiting scholars a positive experience and know they will leave with a greater understanding of curriculum development, and the teaching and research competencies necessary in public health,” says Dr. Gibbs. “Most of all, however, we want to make the scholars force multipliers for both public health education and the positive perception of U.S. scholars. We want these junior faculty to be able to go back to Egypt prepared with the knowledge and inspiration they need to move public health and public health education to new levels at their home universities and within their communities as a whole.”