Newsletter

The Formation of the German Network of Young Professionals in Public Health (Nachwuchsnetzwerk Ă–ffentliche Gesundheit): Reflecting transformative change in Public Health in Germany

by Kerstin Sell on behalf of the Network

A wave of transformative energy has been building up in Germany’s Public Health community over the past years. After the 2015 Leopoldina report powerfully presented the necessity for reform in Germany’s Public Health institutions and academic landscape, along with the country’s politics and policies, the actors in the Public Health community have joined forces to work towards a new Public Health strategy for Germany. The conference Zukunftsforum Public Health (Future Forum PH) has been critical in facilitating community networking, interdisciplinary exchange of perspectives and preparing a road map for the strategy development.

At the second Zukunftsforum Public Health in December 2017, early career public health professionals, students, and researchers sought to find a medium to connect with each other, network, discuss and work on common interests. This led to the formation of the German Network of Young

Professionals in Public Health which we would like to introduce here.

Initially, the network consisted of an informal mailing list that anyone who self-defined as a young person with an interest in Public Health could join after review by the moderators. News about the network was shared by word of mouth, but as the network became more formalised, new members were informed about its existence through publications and the visibility of public engagement of the network.

In addition to the email exchange, regular conference calls were established, a network statute was adopted, a corporate design and a homepage were launched, and a coordinating committee was elected. Within the first months of the network’s existence we published an article about our perspectives as young professionals on Public Health in Germany with a focus on necessary reforms in Public Health education and training (Akçay et al. 2018). Careers in Public Health have been an ongoing topic in the network as the urgency to reform Public Health education in Germany has become very clear through the exchange of the network members’ experiences.

At the third Zukunftsforum conference in January of 2019, participation of young professionals and students had increased remarkably. A network meeting was organised for the day following the conference to enable reflection about our role as Young Professionals in Public Health at the conference and within the German Public Health landscape. The network meeting also offered the opportunity to continue brainstorming and discussing the Zukunftsforum’s main topic: the new Public Health strategy for Germany. From the brainstorming process we were able to derive recommendations for the strategy development from our perspective, which we subsequently published on our homepage. An executive summary of this paper has been accepted for publication recently.

While our network is growing and facilitating exchange, cooperation and a platform for discussion among young professionals in Public Health in Germany, it is also still evolving and diversifying. We hope to be able to report on further interesting projects and initiatives in another EuroNet Newsletter in the future.

As our homepage is in German, please feel free to contact the speakers of the network sprecher@noeg.org for more information.

Reference: 

Akçay et al., Public Health in Germany from the Perspective of Young Professionals. Gesundheitswesen 2019; 81(03): 176-181. DOI: 10.1055/a-0795-3477. (Article in German)

News from Erice (ASPHER – Deans’ and directors’ retreat)

by Erica De Vita and Filippo Quattrone,

PH residents University of Pisa, Italy

The 2019 edition of the Deans’ & Directors’ Retreat organized by the European Association of Public Health (ASPHER) was held in Erice (Sicily, Italy), from 26th to 29th of May.

The congress dealt with educational issue in some of the most relevant topics in public health such as vaccinology, digital health, climate change and workforce development.
A parallel session of the congress was dedicated to Italian schools of public health.

It was a unique occasion for Directors and Residents from all over Italy to discuss together about the status of public health education in Italy.

Erica De Vita and Filippo Quattrone, two members of SItI residents` committee (EuroNet MRPH member), had the opportunity to illustrate the expectations of residents and to propose some solutions
In particular five expectations were highlighted:

  • Recognize that the status quo of public health education is unsatisfactory.
  • Act for quality standards and homogeneity among all schools of public health.
  • Promote collaboration among schools on public health education.
  • Adopt innovative technologies and methods in public health
  • Involve actively residents in their own education.

In addition, two improvements were proposed:

1) to write, with the contribution of all Italian school, a national core curriculum based on ASPHER list of core competencies for the public health professional.

2) to develop a e-learning portal where sharing courses among different schools. The proposals found the approval of the presents and the session closed with the institution of a working group, composed by directors and residents’ representatives, to promote the improvement of public health education in Italy.

EuroNews #18 – Survey of the current state of public health emergency management teaching in italian schools of specialization in hygiene and preventive medicine among medical residents

by: Dott. Stefano Greco, MD. Resident in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at the University of L’Aquila, Co-ordinator of the Consulta SItI’s working group of Emergency Management and Disaster medicine; Dott. Francesco Rosiello, MD; Dott. Antonio Vinci, MD. Resident in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at Università di Tor Vergata; Dott. Mario Muselli, MD. Resident in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine at University of L’Aquila

 

Abstract

Following the institution of the working group on Emergency Management and Disasters Medicine within the Italian Advisory Body of Medical Residents in Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health ( Consulta SItI), an official body of the Italian Society of Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (SocietĂ  Italiana di Igiene, Medicina Preventiva e SanitĂ  Pubblica, SItI), a survey on preparedness, knowledge demand and professional interest on disaster medicine among residents in public health has been conducted. 96 out of about 500 interns answered the survey.

From the answers it can be affirmed that, despite growing attention on the matter (especially due to the numerous nefarious events that afflicted Italy in the last 10 years), a very small number of Schools of Specialization dedicate time of resources on the thematic.

Introduction

Italy, during the last 10 years, was afflicted by 5 earthquakes of medium-high intensity (Richter >3) and several floods and\or unseasonal meteorological hazards. These events sum up to anthropic disasters of national relevance, such as the collapse of Morandi Bridge in Genua, interrupting a fundamental traffic road not only for the city and the hinterland, but for the entire national road movements of people and goods.

Materials and Methods

After a first meeting (in person) on the creation of the working group, several online meetings were indicted via skype in order to design a questionnaire to be delivered on all Italian’s Public Health (Hygiene) residents.

The final questionnaire consisted of 12 Items, based on a 6-steps increasing scale (0-5), yes/no answers and open ones. It was host on Google module and diffused to all Schools, whose interns had ample time to answer to (one month).

Results

96 out of 500 interns answered the questionnaire, from 26 out of 35 schools. Overall compliance was of 19,2% for interns and 74,2 for schools.

The answers, shown in figure 2, were as follow: 79% declared they never attended any activity on emergency management in public health; 93.8% is not satisfied by the space reserved to the thematic in their School; 75% declared to be interested in the thematic (scale score >= 4); 80% declared they never attend to any course on the matter and 86% that their university did not have any Master active on the thematic.

As per sources of information, 58,9% declared they look for information on courses and congresses, with a strong interest on workshops, simulations, and formative events.

Last but not the least, 81,3% declared absence of a sharing policy for confrontation and experiences exchange among Schools from clinical areas.

Strengths and Limitations

Unfortunately, number of respondent residents was only a fraction of the total resident number, most likely those who already had a keen interest in the matter. This could have lead to a selection bias, at least on the interns’ interest section; it must be noted, however, that this has no repercussions on the study section regarding presence of specific courses or masters, since this does not depend from the number of participants.

Also this did not influence the statistics covering information sources either, since those who have no interest are not expected to have a source of information at all.

Discussion

An analysis of answers shows that there is high interest on the matter by Italian residents, but unfortunately such interest is not always met by the courses held in the respective  Specialization Schools. Henceforth, the authors believe it is opportune to allow an enrichment of the formative portfolio of Italian interns, and that this should be reported in all opportune environments, in order to answer to the formative demand hereby emerged.

Acknowledgements

The survey was conducted by Dr. Stefano Greco, MD, resident from L’Aquila University and co-ordinator of the Consulta SItI’s Emergency Management and Disaster medicine working group. All the members of the Working Group actively helped Stefano to realize this project.