The CCPH Featured member is The Network: Towards Unity for Health represented by The Network's Secretary General, Arthur Kaufman. The Network is a Non-Governmental Organization in official relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO). It was founded in 1979 as the "Network of Community-Oriented Educational Institutions for Health Sciences." At that time, WHO had adopted the strategy, "Health for All by the Year 2000", and was encouraging a shift in emphasis from hospital-based curative care towards community-oriented preventive and curative care was deemed necessary for the education of health professionals. A group of representatives of health care educational institutions who were already reorienting their curricula to meet this requirement founded The Network: Toward Unity for Health. The Network has become a global association of institutions for educating health professionals to be committed to contribute, through innovative education, research, and service, to the improvement and maintenance of health in the communities they serve.
In addition to being the current Secretary General
of The Network, Arthur Kaufman is a Full Professor in the Department of
Family, Community and Emergency Medicine at the University of New Mexico
School of Medicine. Arthur and The Network have been long-time members
of CCPH. In October 2004, CCPH and The Network will team up to co-sponsor
an international conference in Atlanta, GA.
what is the mission of your organization?
A: The Network: Towards Unity
for Health is a global network of individuals and groups, of institutions
and organizations whose mission is to improving the health of communities.
To improve the relevance of health institutions and provider organizations
to priority health needs of their communities, strong partnerships and
unity of action must be fostered between community stakeholders including
community representatives, health professions institutions, health services,
and health policy makers.
A: The Network is a non-government organization of the World Health Organization. The majority of members are from developing countries whose voice, whose priorities, whose innovations are rarely heard abroad. The Network is a "home" and "clearinghouse" where ideas, questions, strategies and effective programs addressing the Network's mission are disseminated via annual, international meetings, email correspondence, listservs, website, bi-annual newsletter and the Network's tri-annual peer-reviewed journal, Education for Health. It is one of the few international organizations which promote a bi-directional consultation process between institutions and programs in developing and industrialized countries, for some of the most important innovations are emerging in developing countries but are unknown outside a local context due to language, cost of travel, and access to channels of dissemination.
A: The Network is a "learning
organization." What excites me about working with colleagues I meet
through the organization is the fresh ideas that emerge, that are shared,
and that allow us to transform institutions and programs "at home."
For example, our innovations in health professions education and community
service in New Mexico were very much influenced in our early years by
programs we visited in the Philippines and in Mexico. In the Philippines,
we saw how communities were involved in selecting promising youth who
would become future health professionals on the islands of Samar and Leyte.
We were struck by how they developed a career ladder of training around
priority rural health needs. In the marginal areas of Mexico City, we
observed their first and second year health science students conducting
all their studies in the neighborhoods while performing local public health
tasks and conducting health education and health screening of local school
children. We adapted both of these programs in our institution.
A: No organization can adequately serve all the needs
of its membership because of the limitations of resources. To better serve
our membership in a resource-limited environment, I believe it is important
to form strategic partnerships (formal or informal) with like-minded organizations
that can bring complementary strengths to our members. Today, information
can be exchanged electronically via linking to one another's websites,
announcing meetings, events, consultations and submitting articles in
other organizations newsletters or journals. I see The Network and CCPH,
with so many overlapping interests engaging in this kind of sharing.
A: Individuals engaged in institutional change, in forging links between different organizations, fields or sectors of society are vulnerable. Their task is daunting, their problems often isolating, and their need for finding knowledgeable colleagues great. The Network has provided an international "home" for those engaged in this important struggle, where needed information, consultation and support can be found in the most unlikely places. I strongly recommend learning from a far broader set of international experiences than we are used to.
A: One of our biggest challenges is fund-raising. Funding is more easily targeted toward programs rather than infrastructure. However, to run a successful international program which focuses so heavily upon the needs of innovators in developing countries we need a robust central coordinating office. We have tried to address these problems by tapping into the time and support of individuals in different universities, especially Maastricht University in The Netherlands, our organizational home, and conduct as much business as possible through internet. As travel becomes an unaffordable expense for so many Network members, electronic communications becomes essential.
We believe strongly in the concept of a "Health
Commons" where many intractable health problems in a community can
only be solved by the contribution of many stakeholders in the community.
Solutions are often evident at the front line, but power structures usually
promote "top-down" approaches. Effective policy makers must
therefore try to overcome the tendency of agencies and organizations to
frame solutions in self serving rather than collaborative terms. And they
must go out of their way to listen to the voice and wisdom of those most
affected by health problems.
A: We joined CCPH because it
is a "kindred spirit" organization from the Network's perspective.
CCPH offers an important model of the importance of multi-professional
learning and service. Where The Network's geographic focus lies in developing
countries, CCPH's lies in the U.S. and linking the two can broaden the
shared experience of both.
A: Because of the relative wealth of the United States
and its access to communications channels, the experiences of CCPH's membership
are easily accessible and would be of great value to more resource-poor
A: As an international member, The Network can bring
to CCPH different perspectives, and offer a set of experiences, project
outcomes, personal and organizational relationships which can broaden
approaches to community-campus partnerships. CCPH members who have come
to annual Network meetings have been welcomed and been moved by their
interaction with international colleagues.
For more information please contact:
Network: Towards Unity for Health