The newspaper of Imperial College London
 Issue 148, 19 January 2005
Taking Imperial from strength to strength«
UK-Thai scientific collaboration boosted by new agreement«
Cirque du Soleil in the main entrance«
A nose job«
Frizzy hair today, gone tomorrow«
New microscope gives boost to UK nanotechnology«
Lord Sainsbury visits Imperial«
Imperial leads the way in surgical training and innovation«
New programme will train next generation of health leaders«
Tea off to good health«
Success halts trial«
The perfect Formula«
Spotlight on new R&D solutions«
Imperial students are best trainees«
Cash boost for Wye’s top new scholars«
In Brief«
Media mentions«
What’s on«

New programme will train next generation of health leaders

by Abigail Smith

Public health educators in developing countries will have access to intensive leadership training, thanks to a new programme launched this month by Imperial 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, the 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, LSHTM, 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”, added 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.

The rector said: “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, added: “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 Tanaka business school and by 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.

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