The Project Review Module I (PRM I) was organized online by the MediPIET Team from the 8th to the 30th July 2020.
This module was initially planned to be delivered face-to-face on 23-27 March 2020 in Budva, Montenegro but due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, was postponed. The hereby module replaced the postponed face-to-face module in a distance learning format using mainly WebEX and Moodle platforms.
The module was a training exercise for reviewing a fellow’s project (MediPIET assignment) and also for preparing fellows to present their findings and messages to a large scientific audience.
This training provided participants with specific tools and hints on how to present orally a project and its findings or alternatively a protocol and its expected scientific findings in a limited amount of time, using the most appropriate support to efficiently convey the selected message(s). In a broader sense, it allowed participants to prepare for an oral communication at any scientific conference.
The training was based on an open peer-reviewed process, where participants also developed skills to provide constructive feedback in the most useful way for the receiver. Furthermore, participants made use of the feedback received to improve their presentations and projects.
At the end of the module, participants were able to:
● Prepare a scientific abstract presenting their work,
● Prepare an effective PowerPoint presentation for an international conference,
● Choose the main results/message(s) to include according to the limited amount of time available – prepare a Single Overarching Communication Outcome (SOCO),
● Use the most appropriate visual aids to convey their message(s),
● Respond to a number of questions related to their communication(s), explain, defend, and justify their choices and engage in scientific argumentation,
● Provide and accept scientific critiques and suggestions for improvement,
● Formulate public health relevant recommendations based on the findings of their work, especially those that may have policy and/or public health implications.
Due to the online delivery format of the module only 15 participants were expected to attend the module, specifically: Cohort 3 MediPIET fellows from Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kosovo¹ , Lebanon, Moldova, North Macedonia, Palestine² , Serbia, Tunisia and Ukraine. The direct involvement on the COVID-19 response at their countries did not allow three fellows to attend this module, resulting in 12 final participants. External participants from other network member countries could not be invited in this occasion.
A total of 17 supervisors/external experts participated in the review of the fellows’ proposals. Participation of MediPIET supervisors as reviewers was key to cross-fertilize their Institute of Public Health (IPH)/Ministry of Health (MoH) as training sites and strengthen the MediPIET network. MediPIET supervisors gained an overview of projects conducted by fellows in the different training sites and had the opportunity to harmonize quality standards.
The Project Review Module was the first MediPIET module delivered online and its organization and implementation was appreciated by the majority of the participants. Most of them reported that they improved their ability to efficiently communicate their work at international level which was the main learning objective of this module. Aspects such as the timing, the language and the platform used can be improved in future modules.
However, the need for having this module as face-to-face versus online was openly expressed by participants. Given the COVID-19 circumstances and depending on the evolution of this pandemic, future modules may also be organized online and the MediPIET team will increase its efforts to improve the areas where there were difficulties and stimulate the virtual interaction of the participants.
One of the participants expressed all the recommendations/lessons/conclusions in just a paragraph:
The organization of the module and its implementation fully matched with my expectations, since I realized that it is extremely difficult to achieve the initially set goals when the format of the event is changed and the participants are extremely busy with local issues of routine work in terms of the fight against coronavirus disease. Nevertheless, I saw that the Medipiet team did a huge and productive work in conducting the module remotely (thanks for the provision of materials, the Moodle platform turned out to be quite convenient too, and the support and help of the scientific coordinator in almost round-the-clock mode deserves the highest praise), which allowed us to get expected Result. Unfortunately, the networking component also suffers greatly in this format. Perhaps from this we can also conclude that distance learning does not allow to fully immerse yourself in the learning process and achieve better results. But the covid makes its own adjustments …”
MediPIET Team is grateful to the supervisors who participated in this module as reviewers. Although most of them are directly involved in the response to the pandemic, their contributions were highly appreciated. The Team also acknowledges the contributions of all the external experts who supported the implementation of the module and contributed to enrich the fellows’ work.
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
 This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue