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ASPHER is the key independent European organisation dedicated to strengthening the role of public health by improving education and training of public health professionals for both practice and research.
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Framework for ASPHER Ambassadors

Publication date: 13.12.2015
Author: Ulrich Laaser

Brussels, ASPHER Office & Honours' Committee
27-01-2014 | 26-08-2015 | 01-12-2015

Framework for ASPHER Ambassadors


ASPHER is the Non-Governmental Organisation, representing the Schools and Departments of Public Health in Europe. Most of its members have joined after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many of them from the Eastern European countries. Several projects have tried to facilitate their re-orientation towards European standards, supported by external funding. However, still many of ASPHER’s member institutions need continuing support as their size in terms of faculty staff is below a critical mass; half of all schools and departments have less than 20 Full Time Equivalents. Whereas paid consultancy by ASPHER is only possible in the framework of funded projects, senior public health professionals belonging to ASPHER should provide their rich experience on a strictly honorary basis (except for travel and daily allowance): They should act as ASPHER Ambassadors in a network organised by ASPHER.

Mission of ASPHER Ambassadors

To visit Schools and Departments of Public Health (SDPH) throughout Europe in order to strengthen the ties between ASPHER members, to provide free of charge advice on major problems, and to contribute to further harmonisation of training for research and service of Public Health in Europe.

To function as advocates in other contexts, coordinated by ASPHER.


All members of the present Executive Board (EB) and of the Honours Committee (HC) can act as Ambassadors as well as other experts if needed. Their missions are coordinated by the elected co-chair of the HC and approved by the Executive Board of ASPHER. If appropriate, a specific mission is to be discussed and approved by the two co-chairs of the HC. After the mission a free report has to be delivered to the HC. The HC reports annually to the EB or on request.

Execution of Ambassador Missions

The initiative can be taken by eligible professionals, by the EB, the HC or by a member institution in need of advice respectively by the responsible ministry. A short proposal has to be submitted by the initiating party, describing the problem, the expected support and the source of required funding for travel and accommodation. The mission can be defined as a visit once in a time or as programme with repeated visits as a long-term mentoring.

Potential areas of support and advice

Advice on curricular structures (especially MPH and BA according to the Bologna format) and their relationship to the achievement of relevant competences/performance standards re. ASPHER’s lists.

Improvement of specific main modules (Epidemiology, Health Management, Health Promotion, Environmental Health) and/or development of modules in new areas (genetic public health, peace and public health, public health ethics).

Analysis of national procedures for accreditation and licensing, and advice on the possibility of European accreditation.

Approach of the national government especially the Ministries of Health and Education to explain and to motivate with regard to further upgrading of their national SDPHs.

To promote and explain the role and on-going initiatives of ASPHER incl. the lead for EPHO7 of WHO.

To inform about research options offered by the European Commissio.

To meet with employers of public health professionals and discuss their expectations.

To give model lectures and discuss with students about their future professional roles.

To liaise with partner institutions and build networks of excellence.

Role format

ASPHER’s Ambassadors should have a clear understanding of their role. Their task is to help and to advice to their best knowledge, they are not decision makers neither should they have a top down approach in discussing local problems, questions, and proposals. They must be proficient in communicating ASPHER’s programmes and policies. Their behaviour should be explicitly modest, listening on what the local colleagues have to say. They should spend at least two days sur place to avoid any hectic. On the other hand their visit(s) must not have a touristic image (therefore the accommodation should usually be e.g. at 3 star hotels, not at a top hotel of 4 or 5 stars). The Ambassador comes to work and this should be enjoyment enough.


The elected co-chair of the HC is keeping a list of all qualified public health professionals (see annexed below) who declared their principal interest in voluntary missions and their area of expertise. The list will be published on ASPHER’s website.

List of voluntary experts (in alphabetical order)

Bjegovic-Mikanovic, Vesna
Brand, Helmut
Foldspang, Anders
Laaser, Ulrich
Levett, Jeffrey
Martin-Moreno, Jose Maria

To be amended

Procedure of Ambassador visits

Welcome and mutual introduction, incl. student representatives
General outline of the SDPH by the dean
Survey II data of ASPHER
Problematic issues (by members of SDPH)
Credentialing, licensing, certification
Future development (action plan proposed by SDPH))
Networks/collaborations/Alumni (proposals for further strengthening)
Questions by the ambassadors
Options for APHEA Accreditation (QUIDS etc.)

Mailing list: Roza Adany Theodor Abelin Francisco Bolumar David Byrne Franco Cavallo Michael Davies Josep Figueras Antoine Flahault Anders Foldspang Zsuzsanna Jakab Ilona Kickbusch Lennard Kohler Ulrich Laaser Jeffrey Levett Halfdan Mahler Martin McKee Jose M Martin Moreno Elias Mossialos Charles Normand Christian Rollet Stojgniew Jacek Sitko Theodore Tulchinsky

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