Susan Rifkin - Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health (USA) and the London School of Hygiene and tropical Medicine (UK) - delivered a course entitled "Qualitative Methods for Research" in the period from May 31st to June 10th 2016. The course was tailored to the needs of researchers, PhD students and students and included twelve participants from different departments of the Medical University of Varna and Karin Dom Foundation - Varna.
The eight-day workshop included theory and practice in qualitative studies in the field of healthcare and social activities. Among the main topics were the determination of the research stages and selection of the samples for quality research, conducting of group interviews and focus groups, principles of Participatory Research and Action Research. The lectures on data processing and analysis were of particular value to the participants as well as some of the ethical aspects of qualitative research.
For the participants it was a real challenge and practical experience to carry out their own qualitative studies. Each of them conducted two interviews in English with a student and a member of the academic staff from the English language programme in medicine. The participants did the interview coding and applied the principles of the matrix to their own findings, after which they presented the outcomes of their qualitative research in the form of posters and presentations. At the end of the course the participants obtained certificates.
This is not Prof. Susan Rifkin's first visit to the Medical University of Varna. In April 2015 she delivered a lecture on community participation in health projects and programmes. She is an acknowledged researcher and a practitioner of qualitative research and community participation for solving their own health problems. She has been consultant to the World Health Organisation and the European Commission for many years. Her practical experience includes missions in the USA, China, Iran, India, Nepal, Republic of South Africa, Zambia, Ghana and many other countries around the world. She has been a lecturer in Heidelburg (Germany) and the United Kingdom, author of numerous publications and books on community participatory research and qualitative methods of research in healthcare.
The school is part of the programme dedicated to the 15th anniversary from the foundation of the Faculty of Public Health. The Faculty have a firm intention to turn into a tradition the organisation of lectures, short courses and summer schools on various topics in the field of public health.