Dear future UKWHO Participants,
As you know, interest among students and young professionals (SYPs) in global health is undoubtedly on the rise. Novel methods for increasing engagement of SYPs with the field are imperative. An increasingly interconnected and globalized world poses an array of new health challenges, including a rising burden of NCDs, the rapid movement of communicable diseases and threats to global health security. Such pressing issues demand that future health professionals develop a more holistic and interdisciplinary understanding of health and the necessary critical skills of policy-making, negotiation, and conflict-resolution. To quote Professor Ilona Kickbusch of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, “global health diplomacy is gaining in importance and its negotiators should be well prepared”. The training and development of this cadre of proficiencies is the ethos that UKWHO is built on.
I attribute much of my interest in global public health diplomacy and advocacy to my first foray into realm of Model WHO simulations back in 2013 at OMWHO in Toronto. Having since participated in 30+ Model WHO simulations (and counting!) in delegate, chair and director-general roles, I wanted to formally bring the Model WHO structure to the UK. My passion for global health diplomacy led me to found and co-direct the inaugural LonWHO Simulation in 2017 at LSHTM on the theme of "Global Mental Health", direct LonWHO 2018 on “Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents” and establish UKWHO as a unified structure for Model WHO simulations within the UK.
UKWHO’s vision is to foster a generation of students and young professionals equipped with the necessary experiences and skillsets to achieve #HealthForAll worldwide. We view Model WHO Simulations as excellent platforms for empowering this generation of global public health practitioners and enthusiasts to become more informed about current global health issues as well as to develop transferrable skills for tackling these challenges in a multidisciplinary, experiential learning environment. By forming chapters, partnerships and affiliations both within the UK and globally, we aim to nurture interest in global health policy outside of the conventional classroom setting.
It has been incredibly humbling to see the extent to which LonWHO and UKWHO have grown since their establishment, and it’s all thanks to the motivation of students and young professionals like yourselves that we are where we are today. On behalf of the UKWHO Board of Trustees, we are grateful for our interest in our ever expanding organisation and look forward to working with you over the upcoming year!
Brian Li Han Wong
Founder and Co-President, UKWHO