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New programme will train the next generation of health leaders

See also...
-Tanaka Business School
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-The London Schoool of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
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For immediate use
Wednesday 5 January 2005

Public health educators in developing countries will have access to intensive leadership training, thanks to a new programme launched today by Imperial College London and the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The Public Health Leadership Programme, funded by the Soros Foundation, is designed to support health professionals who have taken on training and managerial responsibilities in their organisation. It is aimed specifically at public health educators in Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, areas that face particular challenges. Dr Rifat Atun, director of the Centre for Health Management at Imperial and joint director of the Programme with Dr Richard Coker of the London School, explains:

"The health systems in these areas are reforming in order to respond to changing illness patterns, emerging challenges such as HIV, consumer expectations and research shortages. This requires large scale strategic change and public health professionals need to be armed with key competences to be able to manage this effectively."

Senior figures in medical organisations are often doctors who, though highly qualified in their field, do not have training in health management strategies. The course will address this by focusing on developing the teaching and learning skills of participants and applying these to critical public health management areas, such as mental health and infectious diseases, adds Dr Coker.

A key aim of the course is to enable participants to begin using their new knowledge as soon as they return home and one-to-one tutoring sessions will be used to develop strategies for their particular situations. This will be followed by a period of project development at home with long-distance support from tutors in London.

Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College London, says:

"The provision of good affordable healthcare is something every government in the world has to tackle and it is especially an issue in developing countries, where they are dealing with a unique set of challenges. It's clear that an efficient health system needs top quality management. This course, led by experts and tailored specifically to meet the needs of professionals in these areas, is a vital step towards creating that."

Professor Sir Andy Haines, Dean of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, adds:

"Changing public health priorities and needs in Europe and Central Asia make this course imperative. It will facilitate the development of existing and new health leadership to address the growing threats of infectious diseases and high levels of mental ill health and other non-communicable diseases."

The Public Health Leadership Programme is designed and directed by the Centre for Health Management at Imperial's Tanaka Business School and the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition, part of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It will begin in June 2005 and lasts for five weeks. It is supported by the Open Society Institute, part of the Soros Foundation, which has provided initial funding of $600,000 over two years.

For further information contact:

Abigail Smith
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: 020 7594 6701
Mob: 07803 886248

Raymond Hainey
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Press Office
Tel: 020 7927 2073
Mob: 07979 401509

Notes to editors

About the Open Society Institute

The Open Society Institute (OSI) is a private operating and grantmaking foundation based in New York City that serves as the hub of the Soros foundations network, a group of autonomous foundations and organizations in more than 50 countries. OSI and the network implement a range of initiatives that aim to promote open societies by shaping government policy and supporting education, media, public health, and human and women's rights, as well as social, legal, and economic reform.

About the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is Europes leading school of public health. Our mission is to contribute to the improvement of health worldwide through the pursuit of excellence in research, postgraduate teaching and advanced training in national and international public health and tropical medicine, and through informing policy and practice in these areas.

About Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,000) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.