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Frank Cobelens, professor of Epidemiology and Poverty-Related Diseases at the University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA), has been appointed chair of the executive board of the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD), effective 1 January 2016.

Foto: Jeroen Oerlemans
Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

Cobelens is linked to AIGHD and is also scientific director at the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. Cobelens will be filling the position left by Joep Lange who, together with his partner and colleague, Jacqueline van Tongeren, lost his life in July 2014 on board flight MH17 over Ukraine.

As a close colleague of AIDS researcher Joep Lange, Cobelens was directly involved with AIGHD since the beginning. His appointment as chair provides the institute with continuity while simultaneously setting a new direction. AIGHD will continue to work towards improving access to healthcare through high-quality research, education and innovation. AIGHD will further integrate economics and anthropology into its research and education programmes with a multidisciplinary executive board ensuring greater collaboration. Moreover, it aims to translate the experience gained from combatting the major infectious diseases to other disease areas and turn that knowledge into practice.

Cobelens: 'We have learnt important lessons in tackling the major global killers of the past decades such as AIDS and tuberculosis, in terms of not only medical, but also social, political and economic aspects. We hope to apply these lessons to other health problems such as antimicrobial resistance and Ebola, but also chronic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. By crossing boundaries between scientific disciplines as well as between diseases, we can make huge strides in improving healthcare for the world’s poorest people. This was Joep’s vision and the new multidisciplinary team at AIGHD will work hard to make this vision a reality.'