On the evening of April 19, the first meeting of the Global Coalition of Deans of Schools of Public Health in 2022 was held online. The founding members of the alliance are the deans of public health schools of ten world-renowned universities, and the alliance was initiated and established by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Vanke School of Public Health of Tsinghua University. The School of Public Health of Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology is the only member of China besides the School of Public Health of Tsinghua University.
Founding members of the alliance are
1. Michelle A. Williams, Dean of T.H. Chan School of Public Health of Harvard University;
2. Margaret Chan, Founding Dean of Tsinghua University's Vanke School of Public Health;
3. Antoine Flahault, Dean of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, Switzerland;
4. Landon Myer, Dean of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa;
5. Joel Negin, Dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Australia;
6 Pan An, Dean of the School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China;
7. Eduardo César Lazcano Ponce, Director of the National Institute of Public Health, Mexico;
8. Claudia Bam, Director of the Department of Public Health at the Medical School of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile;
9. Sarawut Thepanondh, Dean of School of Public Health, Mahidol University, Thailand;
10.Teo Yik Ying, Dean of Suruifu School of Public Health, National University of Singapore.
All above deans attended the meeting and made speeches successively.
Prof. WANG Xiqin, President of Tsinghua University, delivered a video speech on behalf of Tsinghua University, the organizer of the conference. He noted that the epidemic ignores borders and all countries in the world share weal and woe. He further pointed out the need for immediate collaborative action to build a healthy, equitable and sustainable common future, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to train the next generation of public health leaders to address global public health challenges through practical actions.
Michelle Williams, Dean of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, delivered a speech and emphasized the purpose of the Coalition. She believed that the Alliance should strive to promote a healthier, fairer and more sustainable world. She said that public health issues often transcend national boundaries and that strong international efforts are needed to address these issues. This Deans Coalition of Global Public Health needs to actively explore ways to collaborate with all sectors of the society for protecting, promoting and maintaining global health.
In her speech, Margaret Chan, Dean of the Vanke School of Public Health of Tsinghua University, said that members of the Coalition should think deeply about what unique contributions the Coalition can make. She said that the Coalition should cooperate in scientific research and innovative education and training, establish in-depth exchanges and interconnection in knowledge and experience sharing, capacity-building, and more importantly, promote close cooperation among non-profit organizations, government organizations and industries worldwide in the future.
Prof. PAN An, Dean of the School of Public Health of HUST, made a speech as one of the founding members of the Coalition. He said that looking back on history, Tongji Medical College has been running for more than a hundred years. Focusing on the present, the College has been cooperating extensively with public health schools around the world. Tongji Medical College of HUST, has the privilege of being a founding member of the Coalition, which provides a favorable opportunity to further deepen international cooperation and exchanges. As an infectious disease, the COVID-19 pneumonia has brought a huge impact on global health security, while non-communicable diseases, which are related to lifestyle, social and climatic environment and other factors, have also had a serious impact on people’s health. These global public health issues related to human life and health need to be considered in depth. He hoped that the Coaltion could carry out pragmatic and diverse cooperation by means of personnel exchanges, academic exchanges, summer schools and joint research, and also hoped that the Coalition could promote constructive cooperation among people of different cultural backgrounds in global public health and promote greater influence in the field of policy-making.
After the opening speech, the meeting entered the sub-forum. The two sub-forums were chaired by ZHANG Yiying and Michelle Williams respectively. Margaret Chan, Joel Negin, Michelle Williams and Anthony Antoine Flahaut gave opening speeches. The Deans of each School of Public Health delivered speeches around the topic of “Health System Strengthening” to explore the implications and implementation options of WHO's policy recommendations on building health systems in different cultural contexts. The deans also took turns to speak on the topic of Global Health Diplomacy. It discusses the necessity and methods of reshaping the mechanism of deciding international cooperation and influencing international relations, and the idea of establishing a new diplomatic model adapted to the importance and complexity of global health.
In 2021, the Chen Zengxi School of Public Health of Harvard University and the Vanke School of Public Health of Tsinghua University jointly launched the Global Coalition of Deans of Schools of Public Health, which aims to solve the most pressing global public health problems, encourage collaborative research and innovation in different regions of the world, focus on cultivating high-level public health leaders, and promote cooperation among universities, governments, industries and relevant people from all walks of life.