Global health is everybody's business. The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa served to demonstrate the multiplicity of stakeholders and contributors involved – from global agencies such as the WHO and United Nations, national governments, public and private sector organisations to universities, NGOs and the general public. Included within these was a huge range of professional, academic and management expertise.
As shared health concerns move rapidly beyond national boundaries to become major global challenges, our speakers address the questions: what role do universities play and how pivotal is that to successful solutions? How does this influence universities’ missions, impact on their operating structures and shape their research, teaching and other activities? What are the opportunities, risks and challenges – and how well prepared are universities to respond to these?
The session includes a case study of CCOUC, a centre established jointly by Oxford University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong to carry out research, training and community knowledge transfer in the area of disaster and medical humanitarian response in the Asia Pacific Region. The study reflects on the criticality and challenge of working with multidisciplinary groups in different environments, the importance of networks and the need to think and act differently. It highlights risks (such as allowing students exposure to particular experiences), the complexity of achieving academic excellence at the same time as social innovation and some of the trade-offs that need to be made. It also reflects on the leadership challenges of influencing policy makers at inter/national levels as well as engaging with local communities.