Students need to be prepared for the future of healthcare, argues Fransje van der Waals in her inaugural lecture. That means systematic and explicit attention must be paid to innovation, with an important role reserved for global health.
The subject of global health has only recently been introduced in medical training programmes. Van der Waals wants to make students of medicine and medical specialists in training aware of the importance of learning about those diseases that cause the greatest burden worldwide. Factors such as globalisation, climate change, urbanisation, growing mobility and natural and humanitarian disasters need to be considered from a public health perspective and, argues Van der Waals, must therefore be included in the Global Health curriculum. Many diseases that used to be very rare in the Netherlands, now occur much more frequently as a result of factors such as urbanisation and climate change. That means it is important for practitioners to be able to recognise the medical risks associated with poverty-related diseases among multicultural groups, older people and vulnerable groups such as homeless people and refugees.
Van der Waals also proposes global health education can play a role in closing any gaps between the knowledge imparted in medical and nursing training in the developed world and in the developing world and emerging economies.
F. van der Waals, professor of Global Health Education: Blended learning for healthcare workers: closing the gap in global health.