TUFH Academies for Students

TUFH Academies are guided by the values that all teach and all learn and we all learn best by doing. Our courses are structured with a combination of short lectures (focused on theory) and small group discussion (focused on application).  In addition, participants are guided through conceptualization and implementation of an education innovation project relevant to their setting.

TUFH Academies’ “secret sauce” is the underlying belief in building a community of educators and leaders who learn from each other as much as they learn from global experts, and who turn to each other for ideas and resilience.

Equity: Learning opportunities are available and accessible to all regardless of location, their level of education, their role in health, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or age.

Collaboration: The creation of a culture for health requires a shift from linear pathways of education to an interlinked ecosystem of stakeholders actively supporting the shift towards the new norm of lifelong learning for the mutual benefit of achieving health goals.

Participation: Faculty and students should actively participate and promote lifelong learning. All participants have a voice to prioritize needs, preferred methods and channels and are enabled to engage in sharing their ideas with each other.

Excellence: Excellence is pursued proactively so that approaches, materials, resources, experts, processes, assessments, evaluations, certifications, accreditation are of the highest quality.

Welcome to iSTEP, the International Student Training and Exchange Program, where students from TUFH member institutions can interact with learners from other sectors and other countries.  We offer three courses described below: Social determinants of health; Communication: talking with patients, partners, and communities; and Innovative cities and health.

Innovative Cities & Health Course



Patterns of urbanization and land use transformation are one of the most impactful human influences on global ecosystems and human health and wellbeing. For example, climate change and urban heat island effects have been shown to increase volatility and duration of heat waves and precipitation, with direct and secondary effects evident in increased flooding, disease vectors, food and water shortages and others. More distant, tertiary effects are consequences of these events and changes, such as depression, drug addiction, and impaired childhood development in failing communities. Many of these effects demonstrate disproportional and unjust impacts on ecological and social communities throughout the world.

The education curriculum of health workers, engineers, architects and others needs to start including the consequences of climate change as an increasingly prominent issue in wellness. This course will examine the interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems of the contemporary city that influence people’s health and wellness. Students will learn about innovative approaches to these systems through a series of weekly readings, facilitated discussions, and independent field studies.

Communication: Talking with Partners, Patients, and Communities Course 



Professionals in all sectors need to communicate effectively with individuals and their communities to be able to offer innovations and care to improve wellness. Building relationships with vulnerable individuals and communities is particularly challenging especially when there has been a history of mistrust. While healthcare relationships form a special case of an uneven power interaction, the skills required in all sectors share common features.

During this course students in health, engineering, architecture, arts, and other domains will learn how to build trust, to act with empathy, and to communicate effectively. The international and intersectoral context of the course will encourage exploration of personal issues of bias and hidden assumptions. We will explore the unique and common elements of relationships focused on individual and community wellness. Communication across cultures and backgrounds will be emphasized.

Social Determinants of Health Course



Health Equity requires that “everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier” by “removing obstacles to health such as poverty….. lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality of education and housing, safe environments, and health care.” Achieving health equity requires effective solutions by both investing in systems that are designed to improve social and economic conditions including housing, transportation, education, income and employment assistance, child and family supports, and legal and criminal justice services and integrating these investments into often disconnected medical and public health programs tasked with improving health. The course Social Determinants of Health is based upon the World Health Organization’s Framework. The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels. The social determinants of health are mostly responsible for health inequities – the unfair and avoidable differences in health status seen within and between countries. The topics utilized by WHO are 20 employment conditions, social exclusion, public health priorities, women and gender equity, early child development, globalization, health systems, and measurement and evidence. Through exploration of each of above mentioned topics students will understand what are social determinants of health and how they interact in daily life, leading to better or worse health outcomes.

iSTEP editions



TUFH Institutional Members can register students for free.   Please agree to provide 1 faculty tutor for every 10 students registered. Not an Institutional member yet? Join TUFH with 50% downpayment of the institutional fee and pay the balance later.

Institutions are responsible for providing credit and time for students and faculty to participate.  Attendance is necessary for university credit – students who miss more than 2 live sessions without explanation will be dropped and we will communicate with the institution.


Student Network Organization (SNO) members can register for free.


July 31: Institutions confirm participation

August 31: Institutions provide list of students and tutors

September 15: Individual student registration closed.

October  – May : Each courses meets once a month

For further information contact istep@thenetworktufh.org


iSTEP course schedule

Innovative Cities & Health

2-4 PM UTC

  • Module 1 : Oct 3, 2024
  • Module 2 : Nov 7, 2024
  • Module 3 : Dec 5, 2024
  • Module 4 : Jan 9, 2025
  • Module 5 : Feb 6, 2025
  • Module 6 : Mar 6, 2025
  • Module 7 : Apr 3, 2025
  • Module 8 – Capstone Presentations : May 1, 2025


2-4 PM UTC

  • Module 1 : Oct 10, 2024
  • Module 2 : Nov 14, 2024
  • Module 3 : Dec 12, 2024
  • Module 4 : Jan 16, 2025
  • Module 5 : Feb 13, 2025
  • Module 6 : Mar 13, 2025
  • Module 7 : Apr 10, 2025
  • Module 8 – Capstone Presentations : May 8, 2025

Social Determinants of Health

2-4 PM UTC

  • Module 1 : Oct 17, 2024
  • Module 2 : Nov 21, 2024
  • Module 3 : Dec 19, 2024
  • Module 4 : Jan 23, 2025
  • Module 5 : Feb 20, 2025
  • Module 6 : Mar 20, 2025
  • Module 7 : Apr 17, 2025
  • Module 8 – Capstone Presentations : May 15, 2025