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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health

Together for more healthy years
Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
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AJSPH

Aletta Jacobs Research Meet-Up

Datum:11 juni 2018
Aletta Jacobs Research Meet-Up
Aletta Jacobs Research Meet-Up

A summary of the day by our new programme manager Nienke Schripsema

Together for more healthy years. In the second research meet-up organized by Aletta Jacobs school of Public Health, Aletta’s mission was present throughout the day. Prof. dr. Gerjan Navis kicked off with a keynote lecture on prevention, in which she emphasized the importance of multidisciplinarity in public health research and policy, and the role of Aletta in facilitating this multidisciplinarity. The keynote lectures at the meet-up were a suitable example: Aletta got Navis, internist-nefrologist, to talk about prevention, and Antonio Nicolò, professor of economics, about kidney donation. In the lectures, it became clear once again that public health research and policy need to build bridges between disciplines in order to make a serious impact.

First round of workshops
Aletta’s multifaceted approach to public health also showed in the workshop rounds. The two rounds of workshops were organized according to Aletta’s themes: Capability, Sustainability, Justice, Resilience and Participation. Even within these themes, many different aspects of public health came up. For example, in the morning session for the Justice theme, different researchers presented their findings on antimicrobial resistance, the effect of deteriorating economic circumstances on emergency caesarian section rates, and the right to life for unborn fetuses with a disability. The overarching theme, the right to health, brings up many questions regarding a variety of societal mechanisms. Justice in the context of public health does not just deal with law, but also with ethics, economics, medicine, national and international politics, and so on.

Lunch & information market
I was happy to see that even the lunch break was in Aletta style: another multi-purpose event. Not only was a healthy lunch provided; this break was an excellent opportunity to help build connections between all these people who were there because they are inspired by public health challenges. There were poster presentations about data solutions by the Data Federation Hub. Also spokespersons from various different healthy ageing-related institutes provided a short pitch about their work and ambitions, in which they were actively asking for future collaborations with fellow public health enthusiasts.

Second round of workshops
In the afternoon workshop session for the Capability theme, we discussed, among other presentations, a new UMCG initiative: the Leefstijlwijzer (lifestyle guide). Physicians in Groningen’s academic hospital can now write a referral not only for medical specialist care, but also for lifestyle coaching. Using this referral letter, patients can make an appointment with a lifestyle coach and get sound advice on health-promoting changes they can make in their life with regard to smoking, exercise and nutrition. Another excellent example of collaboration between medicine and other disciplines aimed at improving public health!

For me, the research meet-up was a first impression of my new working environment. As the new programme manager of the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health, I will be part of Aletta’s core team and put my efforts in further developing the school into a network with a lasting impact on public health. I have already met many people who are involved in the project and it is clear to me that this is a worthwhile initiative for all people with the ambition of improving public health. Together for more healthy years: I am looking forward to being part of it!