by improving education and training
of public health professionals
for both practice and research
Deans' & Directors' Retreat - Erice, Sicily
26-29 May 2019
Ashkelon and Tel Aviv, Israel, November 2018
Ljubljana, Slovenia 2018
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of public health leadership. Countries that had strong public health leadership were better able to design and implement rapid and effective responses that reduced the spread of infection, minimized the impact on lives and the economy, and engaged with the public. As we move into the second year of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that public health professionals at local, national, and international levels, working with others involved in the management of the outbreak, are equipped to assume leadership roles. This means that they must keep up to date with the rapidly changing knowledge of this disease and what works, and what does not, to control it. They must ensure that they have the skills and competencies needed to address not just the pandemic, but also the complexities of communicating information to the public, and fixing the fractures in our societies that left so many people vulnerable to the consequences of this disease. And this means that they must come together, transcending disciplinary and professional boundaries, to find solutions. Public health organisations and workforce remain the backbone of the response to pandemics and any future health threats – they must be empowered to enact effective, agile, and responsive measures.
The momentum for cooperation created by the COVID-19 crisis must continue after the pandemic subsides. Moving forward, it is of utmost importance that public health is strengthened at its core, to ensure that it can respond to pandemics and other potential future health threats. We, the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) and the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) are committed to continuing our long-standing collaboration, working to ensure that the European public health workforce stays strong, welltrained, and committed as public health leaders. ASPHER and EUPHA – recognizing that public health leadership is now more important than ever – are coming together in solidarity to emphasize the need to:
- Promote multidisciplinary approaches, taking into account the breadth and depth of the field of public health;
- Promote the exchange of practice, research, translation of knowledge, training and public policies in collaboration with stakeholders throughout Europe and the world, to increase coordination in responses not only to COVID-19 but in general; and
- Continue to engage with European and international networks to ensure better coordination.