Improving health and reducing inequities worldwide



Gavin Yamey, E2Pi's lead, is the Course Director for a 5-week summer course at UCSF, called Global Health Policy: Transforming Evidence Into Action, which he teaches students in the one-year UCSF Masters in Global Health Sciences program.

The course examines:

  • the actors who shape global health policy and how they exert their power
  • how global health agendas are set
  • the interplay between the two different "worlds" of research and policy
  • how global health students can become "evidence brokers" to bridge these two worlds
  • the processes and contextual factors that shape policymaking
  • the real world implementation of policies from "the top down" or "the bottom up."

Dr Yamey also invites guest speakers to give short lunch-time seminars (called "Policy Sound Bites"). In summer 2012, the speakers were:

  • Paige Brown, Program Director for the Climate and Energy Funders Group at The Consultative Group on Biological Diversity
  • Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the UCSF Global Health Group
  • Lisa Jacobs, global health consultant and former head of governance at the GAVI Alliance
  • Steve Morin, UCSF Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Prevention Science

Other Guest Lecturers during the course were Allyn Taylor, UC Hastings Visiting Professor of Law, who discussed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; Shonali Shome, Legal and Gender Adviser, AIDS Free World, who discussed health and human rights policy; and Rajesh Gupta, Senior Director of Global and Medical Affairs, Napo, who discussed global TB control policy.

"Global Health Policy Idol": a case-based competition

Dr Yamey's 2012 course culminated in an American Idol-style, case-based competition, called "Global Health Policy idol." Working in three groups, students were asked to devise a policy solution to a "real world" health crisis: how to improve access to family planning services in Nigeria, a country with a massive unmet need for family planning. Each group had 20 minutes to persuade a panel of four invited judges that their solution was the most effective and feasible. After each presentation, the judges—Colin Boyle (Boston Consulting Group), Neelam Sekhri Feachem (Healthcare Redesign Group), and UCSF professors Laura Schmidt and Michael Reyes—gave the students constructive feedback based on their many years of experience working in global health. The winning group created a powerful video that set the scene for why action was needed to improve family planning coverage and presented their policy solution in a polished, highly professional style.

Policy Brief competition

Dr Yamey also assigned all 35 masters students the challenge of writing a 2-page Policy Brief aimed at quickly laying out a public health problem and proposing a solution. All briefs were entered into a competition, judged by Global Health Group staff together with UCSF Clinical Nurse Practitioner and Teaching Assistant Alice Ashers. The five best briefs tackled an extraordinary array of topics: eliminating malaria in Zanzibar and the Philippines, encouraging older smokers in Taiwan to quit, improving health care services for pregnant women in US juvenile detention centers, and reducing global childhood deaths from diarrhea.

Winning briefs were peer reviewed, and received professional editing and graphic design, before being published below.

Winning Student Policy Briefs:

Yamey’s popular course features a mix of competitions and opportunities to publish beyond the ivory tower. For example, in 2013 Yamey’s students participated in a Policy Idol competition, as well as a Policy Brief competition. Several students also published their work in the Global Health Hub blog.