new CCPH Featured Member is Walid El Ansari. Walid
is Reader in Public Health for the Postgraduate
Programme in Public Health at the School of Health & Social Care
at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. He is also a member of
Health Organization's invitation-only Network
of Innovators, Observatory on Health Care for Chronic Conditions in
Geneva, Switzerland. The Postgraduate Programme in Public Health is one
of the earlier programmes in the UK that addresses the public health needs
of a range of health and social care professions rather than only the
needs of medical graduates. Walid explains the focus of the Programme
as being on the determinants of health and of health inequalities. He
states that in order to accomplish this broad remit, the unique characteristics
of the Programme are that it is rooted in a range of partnerships with
a variety of partners and stakeholders. Walid describes what community-campus
partnerships mean to him, "It means a great network of like-minded
people who are supporting each other in their efforts to bring about better
health and quality of life to underserved people. It is an appreciation
of skills that different people bring to the efforts. It is a forum for
interaction, planning, consultations, joint decision-making and implementation.
It is the linking of community and campus clinics.
is the mission of your organization?
A: The mission of the Postgraduate
Programme in Public Health at the School of Health & Social Care,
Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom is to prepare students
from a wide range of professions and backgrounds to be leaders in Public
Health. I believe that by developing and reinforcing the students' Public
Health knowledge and skills base they will have greater confidence and
understanding to tackle Public Health issues and health inequalities,
no matter what their professional background is. The programme team also
believes that by learning together in an inter-professional environment,
students will have built a better understanding of how different sectors
can and must interact to improve the health of communities. These are
basic building blocks for helping the students to provide leadership in
promoting the Public Health agenda.
A: The Postgraduate Programme
in Public Health that we run here in Oxford is one of the earlier programmes
in the UK that addresses the public health needs of a range of health
and social care professions rather than only the needs of medical graduates.
The Programme builds upon the social/ public health model of health and
acknowledges the need for an integrated approach to health, health care
and disease prevention. Our focus is on the determinants of health and
of health inequalities. In order to accomplish this broad remit, the unique
characteristics of the Programme are that it is rooted in a range of partnerships
with a variety of partners and stakeholders. These include national and
international academic departments and universities, primary care trusts,
public health and social care practitioners, national bodies and think
tanks, community agencies and voluntary organisations, the Health Protection
Agency and the Health Development Agency, as well as other Department
of Health initiatives.
A: I am passionate about building
formal and informal bridges, links and connections with others where all
the partners benefit. Through such partnerships, alliances and consortia,
my passion is to develop two-way capacity building: the capacity of the
professional and lay people who we work and interact with and my own team's
capacity. Our students and learners bring much expertise with them from
their respective fields of work. One of my roles is to mix, match, stir,
question, shake and share these excellent competencies and skills so that
the process becomes an effective leaning experience for everyone involved.
The Postgraduate Programme in Public Health at Oxford Brookes University
takes pride in its of excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, and
service. I am passionate about making every effort to contribute to an
environment conducive to in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the
many facets of collaborative public heath. This includes the attending
interprofessionalism, multidiscplinarity, problem solving and innovative
thinking, community focus and ethical issues.
A: My dream for the future of
our Public Health Programme is to render it an international Programme
of excellence as regards joint and interagency working for Public Health.
Over the last five years we were able to cross many teething challenges
that we had. We now hope to set the stage to expand the Programme in order
to include new 'exists' that were previously not available to the students.
These 'exits' include health protection, biostatistics, international
public health nutrition, asylum seekers and refugee health as well as
disaster management. We continue to work with our national and international
partners within the School of Health and Social Care, the University and
the community agencies to accomplish these aspirations, and will accomplish
A: My advice to myself and to others (not in any prescriptive manner) would be to embed their efforts into working partnerships that address the social model of health. Involve the community agencies and lay people as equal stakeholders and partners who bring assets to the partnership. Get good representation of the people you work with. Develop a wide sense of ownership of everybody to the programme, making it their programme. Consult, communicate, debate, and buy into innovative ideas that that could help to solve the problem you are tackling. Have tolerance to disagreements, give credit others' activities and be sensitive and perceptive to other's work aspirations. Develop your leadership abilities. Stimulate your partners, through clarity of roles, duties and responsibilities, to contribute their share in the greater work that is being undertaken. For students or professionals just entering into the field, I'd like to say that public health is a highly politicized arena, and is not the easiest path, but a very rewarding one.
A: My first biggest challenge that I face is the diverse backgrounds and multiple disciplines that the students come from. The difficulty is pitching the Programme at the appropriate level, stimulation and relevance so that it builds upon people's interests and previous training and fits well with their future aspirations. This is challenging when the students are diverse audiences: doctors, nurses, dentists, social workers, environmental health officers, overseas development managers, directors of public health and infection control personnel.
The other challenge that I face in my work is to bring a range of partners
and interested stakeholders to collectively contribute their efforts to
bear on a common problem. It requires a melange of patience, consistency,
persistence, logic and common sense, evidence, motivation and leadership.
How do I overcome it? Gradually and incrementally through a rational positive
balance of each partner's monetary and non-monetary benefits and costs.
The trick is to try to strike a balance that maximizes the accompanying
benefits and decreases the perceived costs for their positive involvement
and contribution. Do not forget that the values and cultures of both the
individuals and organisations you are trying to work with will play a
role in what they see as benefit for them and what they perceive as costs.
So pay great attention to values and cultures.
A: My advice will not only be to policy makers but also
health professionals and researchers. We require to forge and maintain
ongoing relationships between ourselves: campus, communities, and policy
makers. One way to accomplish this is by building bridges and acting as
advocates in order to span the boundaries between policy-sensitive research
findings and research-sensitive policy makers. Today, public health in
its broadest sense is at the forefront of our policy making, so for policy
makers: please fund it with a view of a wise investment. For health professionals
and researchers, my advice would be that partnership working is becoming
the greatest governance challenge. We need to urgently know many unknowns
about how partnership functioning could be more effective at both the
population macro level of communities, and the client micro level of doctor-patient
relationships. The consequences of not doing so are serious in terms of
disease and ill health and the alternatives are very costly in terms of
care, treatment and management. Without loosing focus on our local goals
we need to work together.
A: CCPH and I met at the appropriate
time in our lives. I had just completed a major research study on community
partnerships in South Africa and CCPH was holding their annual conference
in San Francisco. Our passion and goals were mutual and interests overlapping.
It was hence a natural partnership. CCPH is a viable and active organisation
as regards a range of aspects relating to the health professions, service
learning and partnership development and maintenance.
A: It means a great network of like-minded people who are supporting each other in their efforts to bring about better health and quality of life to underserved people. It is an appreciation of skills that different people bring to the efforts. It is a forum for interaction, planning, consultations, joint decision-making and implementation. It is the linking of community and campus perspectives for debates, synergy and forward change.
A: Great networks, practical initiatives and ideas, conferences, contributions and discussions.
A: A range of international experiences and expertise to contribute to their wonderful efforts. My work across many countries and cultures, examining different challenges in partnership working and their possible solutions. It is a mixture of academic knowledge that I have acquired through formal training and practical wisdom that I have learnt from the communities I have worked with in the UK, South Africa, Egypt, Malawi, India and others.
A: To see that the efforts make a difference for the
communities we work with
.even if it is a little difference, it still
makes my day!