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What is a Team?

A team is a group of individuals who work together to produce products or deliver services for which they are mutually accountable. Team members share goals and are mutually held accountable for meeting them, they are interdependent in their accomplishment, and they affect the results through their interactions with one another. Because the team is held collectively accountable, the work of integrating with one another is included among the responsibilities of each member.

In the video below, Joan Bragar, EdD, Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor from the Community Health Sciences department discusses the importance of working in teams.

The purpose of this module is to introduce a culture of shared learning and teamwork. Teamwork is an essential part of any organization where each member in a team with different skill sets work together simultaneously towards the same goal. Oftentimes, teams are randomly assigned. In order for a team to be successful, members in a team must learn to work together. This is a resource to guide you through various components of effective team building skills.

Why Team Learning in Public Health?

In a recent journal article entitled MPH Education for the 21st Century: Motivation, Rationale and Key Principles for the New Columbia Public Health Curriculum, BUSPH Dean Sandro Galea and collaborating authors write:

"...recognizing the centrality of collaborative work as a key ingredient in the solution to complex problems, it is vital that a public health education of the future incorporate a strong element of learning that prepares students for team-based research and practice. Although, increasingly, large teams are most effective at competing for research grants and tackling high-level research questions, educational initiatives have been slow to teach students both the value and the skills to be effective team members..."

Module Objectives

After reviewing this module you will be able to effectively launch a team, work in a team to achieve results, and assess the effectiveness of the team and individuals who comprise the team.

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