Decision Making in Public Health

Goldie has designed, developed and taught workshops, short courses, and semester-long graduate courses in decision analysis for public health, and has mentored countless graduate students, fellows, and junior faculty. She received the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award from Harvard University, and more than a dozen other awards and citations for teaching excellence and mentorship.

Overhead Transparencies? Are You Kidding?

From her first exposure to decision science in a basement at Stanford University, to piloting a clinical decision making course to faculty at Yale, to teaching the largest decision science course at Harvard, Goldie has consistently experimented with new instructional strategies and pedagogical tools. Her passionate belief that every student in public health should acquire skills in "strategic decision making," "analytic problem solving," and "clear thinking" about complex decisions with uncertainty, tradeoffs, and consequences," has inspired novel ideas about "how" to bridge the gaps between students of different disciplinary backgrounds and varied levels of quantitative "comfort" within the same classroom.

Experimenting with Pedagogy Across Modalities

Technologies are exploding in number, type, content, creator, and use. We have never understood more about cognitive science, learning and thinking, but there are more questions than answers when it comes to pragmatic instructional design and best educational practices.

Graphics for Visual Scaffolding  

Drawing, diagramming, and sketching are a constant in Goldie's teaching. She refused to use PowerPoint in her earliest decision science classes, instead dragging boxes of overhead transparencies and markers to class—and ultimately graduating to a document camera! She routinely uses conceptual mapping as a cognitive scaffolding tool (e.g., often heard saying to students "Now, draw this with me").

Experimenting in the Studio  

Goldie describes her studios as places to tinker, explore, imagine, and design—she argues that "spaces to take risks, prototype, innovate and incubate" should be at every corner of a university "neighborhood."  Not only will they inspire novel pedagogy, they provide opportunities for educators to develop multimodal literacy and contribute to an emerging visual “grammar” for teaching and learning.

Decision Science Goes Online!

Over an intensive 18-month period that included experiments, prototypes, and countless "dry runs", multimedia modules, videos and interactives, problem sets, engagement exercises, and companion notes were conceptualized, designed, and piloted. In collaboration with Senior Research Scientist, Eve Wittenberg, Goldie introduced the the first online introductory course on decision science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health for students in the MPH epidemiology degree program. A comprehensive independent assessment was conducted by the Bok Center at Harvard University, with high evaluations, and more importantly, exams demonstrating competencies in knowledge and skills surpassing some of those obtained with equivalent brick-and-mortar conventional classes.

This video is the first of several from a pilot teaching pack on diagnostic testing. Students are introduced to the relationship between the prior probability, test performance, and posterior probability.

This video is the second from a pilot teaching pack on diagnostic testing. Students use a 2 x 2 table to map the performance of a dichotomous test, visualizing the relationship between the prior and posterior.

This video is one of several videos from a pilot teaching pack on probability revision. In this prototype, students perform probability revision using a flow chart to gain an "intuitive feel" for Bayes theorem.

Mentorship, Teaching, and Coaching

Learning and teaching are part of every ‘conversation’ we have, whether we are policymakers working across sectors, academic colleagues collaborating across disciplines, or mentors educating and training the next generation of change agents.

Reviewing, reflecting, and learning from our high school mentorship program.

Collaborative design and coaching to strengthen media literacy and performance.

Junior faculty are mentored to build, practice, and reflect on visual communication skills. 

Center for Health Decision Science Educational Repository

Explore the Center for Health Decision Science website and Educational Repository and commitment to educational public goods. The Center for Health Decision Science has created a digital virtual community with featured approaches to improving population health through decision analytic methods and tools, a multimedia hub with prototypes and pilots to watch, download, and share, an educational repository with resources for teaching and learning, a university portal to provide guidance to activity across schools and beyond, and a center community page that tells you about our people, pilots, and projects at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Below are three featured resources recently posted.

Teaching Pack. When should we seek more information prior to a decision? How do we select the optimal test? How do we interpret the information? We address these questions in two pilot teaching packs here and here.

Resource Pack. Projecting future trends in child obesity using decision analytic tools, disseminating results using a multimedia pilot, curating resources into a public access resource pack to educate and inform.

Teaching Pack. How do we structure decision problems? What is a decision tree? What is bayes theorem and how is it used analytically? Check out pilot lessons on decision trees and bayes theorem.