Founded in 1966, ASPHER is the key independent organisation in Europe dedicated to strengthening the role of Public Health (PH) by improving the education and training of PH professionals for practice and research. It represents the scientific and academic components of the PH workforce education and advanced training.
ASPHER members are collectively committed to PH capacity building. Whilst respecting the European diversity of national and regional contexts in which each school of PH operates, ASPHER promotes structured processes of sharing evidence-based PH, models of innovation and good practice, and mobilizing schools of PH (SPHs) to be pro-active in shaping the PH core competencies.
ASPHER`s strategic vision includes the promotion of the highest standards of education and training for practice increasingly involving cross-sectional intervention and global as much as EU wide and national issues. A key role of advocacy and communication to promote and incorporate European values into the wider PH movement is also assumed by ASPHER.
ASPHER mission and vision correspond to the findings of the ASPHER 2015 project (2009), and they are also reflected in the 10 Theses on the future work of ASPHER as proposed by its incoming President-Prof.Helmut Brand:
1.Secure the future of SPHs in times of economic crisis.
2.Help the Health Systems in the European Region to integrate an educated PH workforce.
3.Cooperate with international organisations like EU and WHO in capacity building of the PH workforce.
4.Cooperate with the European PH Association in the development and advocacy of European PH.
5.Expand the educational basis of SPHs to Lifelong Learning.
6.Expand the organisational basis of ASPHER by integrating new SPHs.
7.Support the seven ASPHER working groups to secure ongoing developments.
8.Build and secure a high standard in PH Education through exchange of best practice examples, integration of new educational methods and accreditation.
9.Promote research in SPHs through collaborative projects and networks.
10.Develop Alumni Networks of SPHs to Social Networks.
The ASPHER 2015 strategic planning initiative identified a clear strategic direction for the association, manifested in the work plans of the seven working groups which were set up based on top priorities emerging from the consultation process. The general objectives of each working group are outlined below:
1) Global Health (hosting the European Academic Global Health Alliance - EAGHA): to create a single forum for interested academic institutions with involvement in Global Health to exchange views and ideas, so as to develop a European voice on Global Health issues and influence relevant policies;
2) Accreditation for PH Education: to develop the standarisation and quality criteria with respect to PH education leading to the establishment of a European Accreditation Agency for PH Education;
3) PH Core Competencies: to develop and to refine a European system of competencies to support both PH education and PH practice, appropriate to the population health challenges and PH systems across Europe;
4) Innovation and Good Practice in PH Education: to propose PH performance standards (related to European PH competencies) and to translate them into teaching/training modules for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education in PH;
5) Doctoral Programmes and Research Capacities: to define the models and formulate recommendations re: European standards for PhD in PH, leading to organisation of a common European PhD training programme in PH;
6) Ethics and Values in PH: to devise an ethical framework for PH teaching/practice and promote its adoption;
7) PH Advocacy and Communication: to motivate Schools of PH to promote academic and advanced training programmes based on evidence and research related to PH advocacy and communication topics including health literacy and interventions to change behaviours.
Other activities - ASPHER Forums: Annual Conference/European Public Health Conference, Deans` and Directors` Retreat, Young Researchers` Forum, Resource Centre for PH education & training (including Members` Blog, Public Health Career Portal, Public Health Reviews Journal (PHR) and Internet Journal of Public Health Education (I-JPHE)).
See also in p.1.5.1: 10 Theses on the future work of ASPHER by Helmut Brand, ASPHER President-Elect; 2012-2013.
To assure a smooth continuation of the Association`s 2011 operating agenda, ASPHER`s work programme for 2012 will include 2 tracks of activities and 1 horizontal stream of actions:
TRACK 1. CAPACITY BUILDING: PH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT/PH PROFESSIONALISATION
A. To bring together representatives of stakeholder organisations with a view to establishing a "European Forum for Public Health Competencies" aiming to oversee and validate the process of developing and refining a European system of public health competencies. Working with European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and European Public Health Association (EUPHA), and with involvement of both the European Commission and the European Office of WHO, it is hoped that a series of meetings on governance of a European system of public health competencies may be convened throughout the course of 2012, to which a core group of senior representatives of major PH stakeholders across Europe would be invited. These meetings should agree on a list of all the potential uses of public health competencies which would further influence the nature of the stakeholders invited to participate in subsequent governance arrangements.
B. Assuming that this is successful, it is hoped that a launching meeting of a "Forum" might take place in late 2012 as a back-to-back event to European PH Conference.
ASPHER Working Group in lead of this track:
PH Core Competencies
TRACK 2. CAPACITY BUILDING: PH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT/INNOVATION AND GOOD PRACTICE
A. To build on the results of the two surveys carried out in 2011 to assess the performance among Schools of PH and PH service institutions - the proposed public health performance standards (in collaboration with WFPHA), and to further continue the work on translating them into teaching/training modules/curricula for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education in PH, paying attention to the principles of inter-disciplinarity and multi-professionality, but with a vision in mind of a harmonised education, continuing training and lifelong learning for PH in Europe within the framework of the Bologna process; and to test such standardised teaching modules on public health performance, to develop a basic guide for Problem Oriented Learning and to introduce supportive elements of distance learning on the ASPHER website.
B. To organise Young Researchers Forum (as a preconference to European PH Conference). The annual Young Researchers Forum is a unique opportunity for MPH, PhD and postdoc researchers to present their work to a select audience of peers and key representatives of the European public health community. The Forum to take place in Malta in 2012, will follow the success of previous years` events: Lodz (2009), Amsterdam (2010), and Copenhagen (2011).
ASPHER Working Group in lead of this track:
Innovation and Good Practice in PH Education
H-TRACK HORIZONTAL STREAM OF ACTIVITIES: CAPACITY STRENGTHENING/MOBILISING SCHOOLS OF PH
Through its various activities, ASPHER hopes to accommodate its members needs and thereby enhancing members` identification and engagement with the network; strengthening the Association`s operating structure and membership network. It is assumed that in 2012, the Secretariat along with the Executive Board will set up the agenda for site visits to strategic locations within the member network. There will also be a continuous effort to profile annual Deans` and Directors` Retreat as the cornerstone of the Association`s organisational life. Notably, the Association will also take greater advantage of one of it`s most high profile committees, the Honours Committee composed of the Association`s past presidents and Andrija Stampar medalists; the Committee will officially meet for the very first time in 2012, using as the platform for its meeting a conference to take place in Maastricht or Brussels in June celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty and EU mandate in health. In combination, all of these activities will allow the Association to benefit fully from the two year operating grant funding (subject to success of this re-application).
ASPHER Working Groups in lead of this track:
PH Advocacy and Communication