During the opening of the Academic Year on Monday 17 September 2012, Dr Jitse van Dijk was presented with the Gold Medal from the Pavel Jozef Šafárik University in Košice (Slovak Republic) for the many years of highly successful cooperation.
Dr Jitse van Dijk (Graduate School SHARE/ Public Health Research) has been taking an active part in the collaboration with Košice since 1995 by helping to devise research and education programmes and supervising PhD students. The PhD students work largely in Košice, but the PhD is always awarded in Groningen. Eleven PhD students have defended their theses since the start of the collaboration in 1995. October and December of this year will see another 4, and 13 more PhD students are expected to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by 2015/16. The vast majority of them continue to work at the P.J. Šafárik University or the Košice University Hospital.
Research at the universities in the Slovak Republic is still developing after having been largely concentrated outside the universities in Academies of Sciences. From the very beginning of the collaboration with Košice, Van Dijk has tried to establish a clear position at Šafárik University for the research and the researchers with whom he works. The foundation of the ‘Košice Institute for Society and Health’ (KISH) Graduate School in 2004 represented real and structural progress in this respect. Van Dijk was rewarded for the establishment of this institute and all his hard work with a Silver Medal in 2003 from the Faculty of Natural Sciences in the Šafárik University in Košice, and from the Faculty of Medicine in the same university in 2009.
The main focus of research at the KISH is on integration of the chronically ill into society and differences in the health of people in various layers of society. Theses have been written on topics including differences in health among adolescents and differences in health among young Roma and non-Roma people in Slovak society. Research in Košice is making enormous progress and the KISH has now secured itself a firm position within the Faculty of Medicine.
In 2009, the cooperation with Košice resulted in the endorsement of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Groningen and P.J. Šafárik University. In addition to this collaboration, the University of Groningen also operates several Erasmus agreements for student and staff exchanges in the Slovak Republic with Košice as well as the Comenius University in Bratislava.
Jitse van Dijk
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