Continuous Learning at Global Health Mini-University

Jarret Cassaniti

JHU∙CCP | Program Officer

This weekend I read an opinion piece in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman and immediately recognized a quote that many of my Knowledge for Health (K4Health) colleagues regularly add to their presentations about knowledge management. The quote, from Alvin Toffler, addresses the future of learning:

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Mr. Toffler predicted the redefinition of the word illiteracy and in doing so, highlighted his point that times change.

Just as we no longer use encyclopedias and card catalogues and instead use digital devices, the internet and search engines, we may soon be using a new method to learn, unlearn, and relearn: in one estimate, by the year 2020, medical knowledge will double every 73 days!

As the amount of medical knowledge expands (some estimates suggest world’s knowledge doubles every four years) many of us struggle to keep up lest we become, in Tofflers words, illiterate. With the need for continuous learning well known, another quote comes to mind, this time from, Samuel Johnson, an author from 18th century England:

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

Since you’re reading this, you probably know that K4Health.org is a great resource for global public health practitioners. The K4Health website has many resources to help you maintain your literacy including Toolkits, eLearning courses, and Forums. It also links to the Implementing Best Practices in Reproductive Health portal which encourages the transfer and exchange of knowledge, evidence-based practices, proven effective practices, experience, and lessons learned in and among countries.

What you may not know is that the annual Global Health Mini-University is being held this Friday September 14, in Washington, DC. The Mini-U is sponsored by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the George Washington University Center for Global Health.

This one day event is a place for you to get information to stay up-to-date on developments in public health and development including two areas that have been in the spotlight for some time: social media and mobile health. Learning about these new programmatic and health communication tools and how they fit your toolbox of traditional tools requires a dedication to continuous learning that the Mini-U’s full schedule of sessions can help you meet.

While pre-registration to Mini-U is now closed, onsite registration is available. If you would like to attend, download and print the registration form and bring it with you to the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center on George Washington University’s campus

Knowing where to go to get reliable information is half the battle, the other half is learning or relearning. K4health is ready to help you with both halves.