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The Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER)

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.
Home » Secretariat updates » ASPHER 2023 AWARD WINNERS

Secretariat updates

12 Sep 2023


We are thrilled to announce the 2023 ASPHER Awards! We congratulate all the very deserving awardees who celebrated with us in Dublin on 31 August at the Deans’ & Directors’ Retreat Gala Dinner!

Andrija Stampar Medal

Anders Foldspang, Denmark
ASPHER Andrija Stampar Medallist, 2023 

Professor Anders Foldspang is professor emeritus at the Department of Public Health at Aarhus University, Denmark. During his career, he led a large number of public health education programmes, held expert positions in the Nordic region, was active in the Nordic Federation for Medical Education, was a member of the board of ASPHER and was President of ASPHER in 2006-2007.

Anders Foldspang was chair of the medical student movement at Aarhus University, Denmark, and member of the university’s Medical Faculty Council and its Medical Study Board in the early 1970’s, After medical graduation and PhD and DMSc defence (on the theme of: multivariate prediction of the outcome of vocational and social rehabilitation), he taught medical sociology/epidemiology to medical students and courses in basic epidemiologic and biostatistical methodology for PhD students of all medical specialties. In 1994, he founded the MPH course in Aarhus and was its lead until he in 2010 became Dean of the Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg. In 2011 he returned to Aarhus University, since 2018 as an emeritus professor.  

From 2006-2018, Anders Foldspang spearheaded and chaired the ASPHER Core Competency Programme, building and editing ASPHER’s European List of Core Competences for the Public Health Professional, since 2008 together with Chris Birt and, later, Robert Otok. Backed by ASPHER’s membership, it gave substantial support to demonstrate what a public health professional should know and be able to do, within all major parts of the public health discipline. The 2011 edition was endorsed by all European WHO member states as the basis for public health education and further editions were published in 2016 and in 2018 The fact that it continues to be used today is a tribute to his lasting and sustainable contribution to public health teaching and practice.

In 2005 Anders Foldspang together with ASPHER Director Thierry Louvet started ASPHER’s European MPH Programme. He was the first editor of ASPHER’s 40th and 50th anniversary books (2006, 2016). In 2013 he initiated ASPHER’s Honours Committee and was its first lead during four years. In recent times, he continues to actively engage in the ASPHER COVID-19 Task Force and published on the role of European Schools and University Departments of Public Health in the response to COVID

During many years he was socio-medical advisor within the municipality and later research consultant at the Rehabilitation and Research Center for Torture Victims (RCT), Copenhagen.  Following initial work together with colleague Svend Sabroe, on mapping the history of disability assessment since the viking ages, his research has focused mainly on population and clinical epidemiology and health services research, including the use of multiple logistic regression within a number of themes.  In 2018 Professor Foldspang was awarded an honorary fellowship of the UK Faculty of Public Health. His publication record is commendable with a Google Scholar h-index of 37, and i10-index of 65 and over 5,000 citations, thus demonstrating national and international visibility within and outside the scientific community.

Prof Foldspang has received several outstanding distinctions including: Knight of the Royal Danish Order of the Dannebrog; Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom (Honor FFPH); and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCPE); 1971 Gold Medal in Social Medicine, Aarhus University; 2022 Service Award, The UK Faculty of Public Health. 

In 2020 Anders Foldspang published a 68 page book for 4-8 year old children concerning a flying birthday cake ‘Lagkagebogen’ (The Birthday Cake Book). Text and illustrations by himself.

Photo credit: Barbara Katzin


Research Excellence Award

Mohamud Sheek Hussein
United United Arab Emirates University, UAE

Professor Sheek-Hussein is an esteemed physician, academic, and researcher in the field of public health. Dr. Sheek-Hussein continues to inspire and empower the next generation of public health professionals as a professor at the Institute of Public Health at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAE University in Al Ain. 

Recognizing the pressing importance of epidemiology, Dr. Sheek-Hussein dedicated himself to pursuing a career in medicine. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Parma School of Medicine; master’s degree in public health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York, USA; Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the University of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; and doctorate in Public Health from the University of Texas, School of Public Health Houston. His extensive career spans 35 years in the field of public health as a practitioner and academic. Dr. Sheek-Hussein was the Assistant Director and Head of Disease Control and Prevention, Epidemiology, and Public Health Services of the Preventive Medicine Department of Al Ain Medical District. He is a visiting Professor at Harvard University, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Loma Linda University, School of Public Health in the USA. He is a well-known researcher focusing on infectious disease control. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he actively contributed to the National COVID-19 Research Task Force established by the Department of Health and Abu Dhabi Public Health Center. He coordinated and co-authored epidemiological studies and developed recommendations for COVID-19 screening for students in close contact with confirmed cases. Dr. Sheek-Hussein is an active member of the ASPHER COVID-19 Task Force. Thanks to Dr. Sheek- Hussein, many ASPHER Statements were translated into Arabic and distributed to the public health network in the region.


Teaching & Practice Excellence Award

School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science (SPHPSS)
University College Dublin, Ireland 

The UCD SPHPSS has a long tradition of public health teaching to undergraduate and graduate students in medicine, public health, occupational safety and health, food safety, physiotherapy, dietetics and nutrition, and sports science. This multidisciplinary nature of School contributes to the focus of the School, its staff and its programmes on advancing health equity, embracing diversity of its faculty and its students and striving for integrity in teaching, research and other activities. The Master of Public Health (MPH) programme, established in 1983, evolved from a Diploma in Public Health offered at UCD since the early 1900s. It has an extensive international footprint with alumni in over 40 countries and is a member of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree Consortium, Europubhealth+.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UCD SPHPSS established the first COVID-19 contact tracing centre (CTC) in Ireland, in conjunction with the national Health Services Executive and colleagues engaged with seminal work on many other aspects of COVID-19. The UCD SPHPSS is active in health promotion and protection, including  ‘Healthy UCD’, a university initiative linked to the ‘Healthy Ireland’ framework of the Department of Health to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. Research activities at SPHSS span all disciplines represented at the School. The UCD SPHPSS is also a leader in supporting researchers outside of the School with the Centre for Support and Training in Analysis and Research (CSTAR). 

Members of the UCD SPHPSS have been actively engaged in collaborative work with ASPHER, contributing to the ASPHER Working Group on Doctoral Programmes and Research Capacities, and to the 5th Edition of the ASPHER European List of Core Competencies for the Public Health Professionals. With representation on the ASPHER Executive Board since 2019, the UCD SPHPSS led on a joint ECDC/ASPHER project to update core competencies in applied infectious disease epidemiology in Europe. The ASPHER Core Curriculum Programme is currently under review led by the UCD SPHPSS Associate Dean for Public Health assisted by a UCD-based ASPHER Fellow.


Early Career Excellence Awards

Lorenzo Blandi, Researcher
School o
f Public Health 
University of Pavia, Italy

Dr. Lorenzo Blandi is one of the most promising young Italian public health professionals. Engaged in activities within the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive medicine and Public Health (SItI) he has always shown seriousness and passion as well as uncommon leadership qualities for his age. 

In 2021-22 he was involved in coordinating the curriculum framework and development of the ToT module of ASPHER's VAX-Train project commissioned by ECDC. He is author of 13 scientific publications (h-index=9) and has a commitment to and passion for public health topics.


Paula Meireles, Researcher and Invited Assistant Professor
Institute of Public Health - ISPUP
University of Porto, Portugal

Paula Meireles got her Master's in Public Health and her PhD in Public Health in 2020 from the University of Porto (U.Porto). She spent 1-month in academic mobility (Feb. 2019) at the Georgetown University Medical Center. In 2020, she was hired as a Junior PhD Researcher to work at the ISPUP's Epidemiology Research Unit (EPIUnit).

Her experience in Public Health and Epidemiology research, including in community-based and participatory research, is centered in The Lisbon Cohort of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) (since 2013) and in the Community-based Screening Network (since 2015). She is engaged in research with many international collaborations and worked with ASPHER in the development of a vaccine hesitancy training module for the ECDC commissioned VAX-Train project.

National and international recognition of her scientific expertise is also shown in her participation in scientific advisory activities and she is an Invited Assistant Professor of the Medical School, University of Porto and is often invited to lecture. She supervised or co- supervised eight Master's students (4 completed) and one resident in Public Health. She currently supervises four doctoral students. In 2023, she was reelected to a second three-year term as a board member of the Associac?§a?o Portuguesa de Epidemiologia (APE).


Flavia Pennisi, Public Health Resident
Faculty of Medicine and Surgery
School of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine
Universita? Vita-Salute San Raffaele (UniSR), Italy

Dr. Flavia Pennisi, despite her very young age, has shown great interest and passion for public health issues. 

During the pandemic she was one of the vaccinating doctors at the hub of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan (which administered a total of 350,000 vaccine doses); she participated in several scientific publications including one on public health training, collaborated on a project on the implementation of the health service in Saudi Arabia and she was tutor of a management training course for clinical doctors in the Lombardy Region in 2021. Flavia is author of 10 scientific publications (h-index=4). Above all, as a Resident, Dr. Flavia Pennisi  shows enthusiasm and passion for public health.


Lisa Wandschneider, PhD
Faculty of Public Health
University of Bielefeld, Germany

Dr Lisa Wandschneider received her PhD from University of Bielefeld. While studying for her doctorate, she worked with ASPHER as an Associate Fellow, progressing the Association’s agenda in the areas of ‘Diversity and Public Health’ and ‘Conflict and Public Health’. During her Fellowship, Lisa so-establishing and coordinating an international working group on diversity and public health developing a syllabi collection to advance public health education on diversity; supported the ASPHER Task Force on Public Health and War co-coordination and moderating two editions of an online seminar series on public health in times of war. Lisa Contributed to the pan-European Thematic Network DisQo on anti-discrimination & health equity led by the European Public Health Alliance. Lisa has had responsibility for supervising master thesis students at Bielefeld University. She is passionate about topics of diversity and inclusion, anti-racism, peace promotion and health equity and contributes to the dialogue in these areas at academic conferences, journals and workshops at the European level.


Brian Wong, Researcher
University of Maastricht, Netherlands

Brian Wong is a global public health expert, and multidisciplinary researcher interested in ageing and life course, digital health, global health governance, immunisation/vaccination policy, and youth engagement. He sits on the Steering Committees for the EUPHA Digital Health Section and the WHO Youth Council, Chair the Board of Trustees for UK Model WHO, and is a member of the ASPHER COVID-19 Task Force. He acts as a Regional Youth Champion for the GHFutures2030 Commission. He was the 2023 WCPH Young WFPHA research lead.

As a young scholar Brian already has an impressive CV, being engaged in many acTIviTIes both on local and global scale. Brian did and conTInues to do impressive work with ASPHER as part of COVID-19 Task Force and the Digital Public Health working group demonstrating independence, hard work, enthusiasm and energy.

Brian co-authored a Lancet Commission report on "Governing Health Futures 2030: Growing up in a digital world" and numerous other articles related to digital public health, meaningful youth engagement, and human resources for health. He has published in high-impact journals and presented work in conferences and global forums.

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