Student experiences from the EPHI Module at LSHTM

Our Student Liaison Officer, Victor Seck shares his experiences with the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions (EPHI) module at LSHTM. A personal perspective on the module's structure, teaching, and how it introduces students to the world of evaluations
Victor Seck, Student Liaison Officer, Centre for Evaluation

Evaluation is the kind of field that not many people outside of public health are familiar with. As a fledgling in the field of public health, my first experience with evaluation was being tossed into the deep end with my boss telling my team to include an evaluation in the design of an intervention. Naturally, my next questions were “what is an evaluation?”, and “how on earth do I do that?”. This led me down the path of taking the Evaluation of Public Health Interventions (EPHI) module at LSHTM more than a year later.

This post is intended to be my personal interpretation of how I perceived the module, which may be different from how the module organisers envisioned or how the module specifications describe it. For those unfamiliar, EPHI is a “D” block module run by Professor James Hargreaves, Dr Farhana Haque and Dr Fiona Marjorin.

The organisers and lecturers are all fully involved in evaluations, many are regarded experts in the field (as is the case with most LSHTM modules). The module was broadly divided into 3 parts: Impact evaluations, process evaluations, and evaluations in practice. Impact evaluations was mostly focused on answering causal questions, which led to some surprisingly statistics-heavy content covering methods with particular emphasis on quasi-experimental study design.

Process evaluations covered theories and frameworks, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods for conducting and analysing process evaluations. The last part revolved around the realities of evaluations, where we had discussions and panels around themes such as navigating power dynamics.

As with many modules in the MSc programmes, my big picture perspective of EPHI is that it covers a tremendous range of topics, concepts, theory, and methods. I enjoyed how the lessons swung from focusing on academic rigor to the pragmatic realities of actually doing evaluations. Fundamentally, it became clear that evaluations are not merely siloed into process, outcome, economic, formative, or other kinds of evaluations. Instead, they each reflect aspects of the programme being evaluated to answer multiple crucial questions like “how effective is this intervention?” and “for whom is the intervention most suitable?”. Having an answer to only one question is not very useful. While no module will turn you into an expert evaluator instantly, EPHI did open my understanding of the field and serves as a great point to dive into the world of evaluations. 

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