What a wonderful start to my new job! The 40th-anniversary dinner held last May, organised in association with the independent alumni association, ESHPMa, was a huge success. Moreover, it served as a great opportunity for me to get to know many alumni. It also provided a wealth of information on the many different types of places our alumni work at, and on the wide range of experiences they have gained since graduating from our faculty.
ESHPM currently has approximately 5,200 alumni, all of whom graduated over the course of the 40 years we have existed. We started out offering a degree in “General Health Care”, but now we offer a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences as well as three Master’s degrees: Health Economics, Policy & Law, Health Care Management, and the European Master’s degree in Health Economics and Management. ESHPM now attracts about 1,600 students annually, spread across the various degree programmes.
Our alumni are tremendously important to us. Not only will you remain an ESHPM alumnus or alumna for the rest of your life, but it is of great importance to us that we stay abreast of what the labour market demands, so that we can tweak our degree programmes and ensure that our graduates are properly prepared for the market. So that we can build and maintain a network that presents our current students with work placement opportunities. So that we can cooperate with our alumni in new research projects or so-called ‘academic workplaces’ (organisations where researchers, policymakers and health care professionals collaborate), or so that we can keep a proper feel for what’s happening in health care and social policymaking, both at the national level and at the international level. It should be clear from these examples why our alumni are so vital to us.
But of course we want to give back to our alumni as well. Many international universities I know regularly organise alumni meetings. In addition to allowing alumni to meet and/or catch up with each other, such meetings fit well into our vision on teaching and life-long learning – for instance because they come with seminars or guest speakers.
On top of that, ESHPM will soon unveil its ESHPM Academy, where we will offer post-academic courses to alumni and other interested parties. The Academy will offer both courses currently being taught and new activities. If your interest has been piqued, be sure to take a look at our website.
A lot has been happening within ESHPM itself as well. Now that I have served in my current position for three months, I feel I have a fairly good understanding of the enormous impact we have on health care, and I feel honoured to be allowed to contribute to that. The faculty will use the next few months to refocus on societal themes such as planetary health and the challenges posed by the labour market. Among other things, we will do so as part of the convergence initiative undertaken by EUR, Erasmus MC and Delft University of Technology, but we will also do so at the international level, as we are already doing in the Rotterdam Global Health Initiative.
Erasmus University has a solid alumni policy in place, and ESHPM, too, is well on its way to getting one. We regularly talk to the board of ESHPMa, and I’m looking forward to organising many more things together in the future.
- Maarten IJzerman, Dean of Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management