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ASPHER is the key independent European organisation dedicated to strengthening the role of public health by improving education and training of public health professionals for both practice and research.
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Member's blog - Other

President's Spring 2022 message - Part 3

Publication date: 09.05.2022
Author: John Middleton

Since ASPHER’s last newsletter, there has been a seismic shift in the health, economic and social condition of the people of Europe. Russia ceased its posturing and war games and invaded Ukraine without a cause – illegally, immorally, cruelly and brutally. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said ‘war in Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensical’. You can read my thoughts on war in Ukraine, in Europe, and the global consequences in part 1 of my spring message here.

ASPHER marked the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, by a big thank you to its members for all their hard work and endurance over the two years. We were pleased also to be able to do this with our partners the European Public Health Association. The pandemic still continues and the public health community must stand firm in its message to politicians and the public that it is not going away, just because, they have had enough, and wish it isn’t here. My thoughts on the current COVID situation are here.

In other business:

With the World Health Organization

ASPHER has been working with WHO global and the Global Network for Academic Public Health to prepare a landmark paper on Public Health Workforce Development and Competence. It is expected this will support moves towards the Global Pandemic Preparedness Treaty to be agreed by the world’s leaders in 2024. The European Council recently endorsed the World Health Assembly proposal for the Global Pandemic Preparedness Treaty. They have produced a useful infographic on the issues.

WHO Regional Office for Europe, with ASPHER has recently published the Road Map to professionalising the public health workforce in the European Region. This was reported in the last newsletter – but the document continues to be a central resource for us, taking forward the strengthening of European public health, but also being freely available to others for global public health development.

The other key resource ASPHER has been involved with, that is informing thinking behind WHO Global public health workforce development is the GNAPH statement on the vital role of schools of public health,

With the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control:
core competencies in applied infectious disease epidemiology

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC have published the Core competencies in applied infectious disease epidemiology in Europe. Stockholm: ECDC; 2022. This document and set of tools and resources was commissioned from ASPHER’s team of experts led by Professor Mary Codd and her team in University College Dublin. 

I am grateful to all of the contributors to this key set of resources for strengthening public health expertise in applied epidemiology of infectious disease. Well done everyone!

With the European Union Health Policy Platform: climate change and health education

ASPHER has developed a statement for the European Union Health Policy Platform “Moving towards the right to ‘health for all’ by training the public health and wider health workforce on climate change and health”. The statement has been endorsed by over 75 schools of public health and partner health organisations in Europe and across the world. I will be launching it in Brussels on May 5th 2022. The real work though has been done by Tara Chen and Rana Orhan our ASPHER Fellows, and I am most grateful to them for their amazing efforts.

Recently, the Intergovernmental panel on climate change issued another dire warning that we have to make real progress on reducing fossil fuel usage – with a positive message that we can yet half emissions by 2030. The dreadful heatwave in India now (see photo) is just another example showing us Climate breakdown is here – not a remote possibility for the future. Some areas of the world may just become too hot to live in. Cities are approaching halfway to boiling. Governments and industries must act.

Recent publications from the President

Law Enforcement and Public Health: Partners for Community Safety and Wellbeing

Editors Isabelle Bartkowiak-Théron, James Clover, Denise Martin, Richard F. Southby, Nick Crofts. This Is the first comprehensive collection on law enforcement and public health (LEPH) by world leading authors and is required reading for those studying, researching, or working in fields where intersectoral partnership can exist. It corporates real-life examples and experiences from law enforcement and public health, including a chapter by me, covering 30 years in crime and violence prevention and community safety partnerships.

Ref: Middleton, J. (2022). The Historical Public Health and Social Work Role of the Police. In: Bartkowiak-Théron, I., Clover, J., Martin, D., Southby, R.F., Crofts, N. (eds) Law Enforcement and Public Health. Springer, Cham:

Drug foods: Some of you may be interested in this paper. Is it relevant in other national administrations? Cooper K, Parle J, Middleton J. VAT: a precise mechanism to identify drug-food companies, Journal of Public Health, 2022; fdac030:

Throwing away the protections. Middleton J. We can live with covid, but that doesn’t have to mean living with avoidable deaths and disability. BMJ 2022; 376:

And finally

Thank you to all of you for your good wishes and messages, following my time out for surgery! Much appreciated. Thank you as ever, to our wonderful secretariat, Robert, Lore and Tatiana for not only keeping things going, but taking ASPHER’s activities to a new level. Thank you.

Professor John Middleton
President, ASPHER, April 27th 2022.

Spring 2022 ASPHER Newsletter is now available online!
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