Solutions that stick: activating cross-disciplinary collaboration in a graduate-level public health innovations course at the University of California, Berkeley

Am J Public Health. 2015 Mar;105 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S73-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302395.


Since 2011 we have taught a public health innovations course at the University of California, Berkeley. Students gain skills in systematic innovation, or human-centered design, while working in small interdisciplinary teams on domestic and global health projects with client organizations. To support acquisition of meaningful problem-solving skills, we structured the course so that the majority of learning happens in scenarios that do not involve faculty. Taken by students representing 26 graduate programs (as diverse as epidemiology, city planning, and mechanical engineering), it is one of the 10 highest-rated courses offered by the School of Public Health. We present the blueprints for our course with the hope that other institutions whose students could benefit will borrow from our model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Education, Graduate / methods*
  • Education, Public Health Professional / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Models, Educational
  • Problem-Based Learning*