Transforming university education: training health professionals of the future

BIHSENA project organised a round table "Transforming university education: training health professionals of the future" to advance its aim of improving quality and relevance of education in the area of health, innovations and society through bridging disciplines, sectors, and geographies. 

Our societies currently face new, ‘wicked’, problems. Addressing these problems would require the new kinds of professionals. Such professionals would possess competencies from a range of diverse disciplines and would be able to span the boundaries between sectors and spheres of life. However, education often lags behind ongoing changes in technologies, the job market, and our understanding of societal dynamics. Health is one of the most important spheres that currently pose a challenge for education systems. Health, as well as illness, constitutes a subject of concern for a number of academic disciplines, including both natural and social sciences. Currently, there is an ongoing quest to develop a comprehensive interdisciplinary view on health and illness and the ways through which ‘good health’ is co-produced by different actors. Such a view draws from both the more traditional health-related fields such as epidemiology and clinical medicine, and also relies on insights from public health, sociology, anthropology, and political economy. A narrow gaze of each discipline can illuminate certain health problems and potential solutions; but only when they are taken together within a fully integrated approach can we properly build an understanding of health and the possibilities for solving health problems. What does this mean for higher education and the training of professionals able to act in situations of rapid sociotechnical change, new health risks, and limits of health systems’ resources? Focusing on the domain of health, participants of this round table discussed the future of education and universities.