Jim Katzenstein: Collaboration with Medical University in Tanzania to Provide Global Learning Opportunities
California State University, Dominguez Hills is partnering with Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU), a medical school in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to provide a global learning opportunity for nursing and medical students in both Africa and the United States. Dr. Jim Katzenstein, a full time lecturer in the department of Management and Marketing at CSU Dominguez Hills, is the liaison between the two universities and facilitated discussions that led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding last month.
Katzenstein, who became acquainted with HKMU while doing philanthropic work as executive director with nonprofit HealthSpan International, says that the collaboration was conceived out of a shortage of educators in the health care field.
“[HKMU] is a family-owned business,” he says. “They called me because they’ve been struggling for 10 years to get students. The government said, ‘We’re going to provide scholarships for people to go to your university.’ The only problem was that the student body expanded but the faculty didn’t. They’re chronically short of nurses and doctors, both to teach and to practice, so they called me. They asked, ‘Is there something you can do to alleviate the problem?’”
Katzenstein, who serves on the Academic Senate at CSU Dominguez Hills, approached Provost Ron Vogel and the two brainstormed on a plan to bring online and possibly on-site learning opportunities to students at HKMU.
“The overall idea is to use [Dominguez Hills’] Distance Learning and online courses to project content to HKMU that they don’t have. That would involve sharing technology and integrating courses from here so that they fit over there. Expanding on that, we could become a major educator of people who want to become nurses and doctors – nurses primarily – in Africa."
The MOU, which was signed at CSU Dominguez Hills on March 4 by Keto Mshigini, vice chancellor, and Mbelwa Kairuki, a trustee of HKMU and special assistant to the Foreign Minister of Tanzania, outlines the benefits of the partnership, including exchanges of faculty between the two institutions and collaborative research. It has not yet been decided which institution will issue the degree. Katzenstein says that the initial program will probably issue a certificate in health sciences to students.
“It’s a solution to brain drain,” says Katzenstein. “If we can pull this off for HKMU, it provides an opportunity to attract students from all over Africa. This will provide a stream of health care workers into the continent who will be educated there, so there’s a better chance they’ll stay there.
“Southern Africa has the worst human resources for health care anyplace in the world,” says Katzenstein. “The World Health Organization threshold is 2.5 [health workers] per 1,000 capita. The Sub-Saharan African average is 1.3. So there’s this chronic shortage of doctors, nurses, midwives, managers, clinicians. I look at this as a better way of making a major impact on the capacity of the nations of Southern Africa to build health.”
Katzenstein says that CSU Dominguez Hills students will benefit greatly from a global experience with HKMU in the future.
“It will give our students an opportunity to understand the world at large,” he says. “To understand what it is to be poor, to understand what it means not to have health care, at the worst, what it means to watch a child die and know that there are resources in the world that could have prevented that. Hopefully, it will inspire them to not just throw five dollars in a pot but to go and do something [with] the skills that they get from an education.”
For more information on Katzenstein and his work with HealthSpan International, click here.
- Joanie Harmon
Photo above: A memorandum of understanding was signed between CSU Dominguez Hills and Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU)
in Tanzania to create a global learning opportunity for nursing and medical students in both Africa and the United States.
L-R: (Standing) Dr. Margaret Gordon, dean, College of Extended and International Education; Dr. Jim Katzenstein, lecturer, Management and Marketing; Dr. Barbara Chrispin, emerita faculty, Management and Marketing
(Seated) Dr. Keto Mshigeni, vice chancellor, HKMU; Ron Vogel, provost, CSU Dominguez Hills; and Mbelwa Kairuki, trustee, HKMU and Special Assistant to the Foreign Minister of Tanzania
Photo by GK
Jim Katzenstein teaching nursing students at the University of the Mountains, a private medical school in Cameroon.
Courtesy of Jim Katzenstein