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WHO Director-General Appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham

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The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has been appointed honorary professor within the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

The appointment is part of the University’s celebrations marking the dual 50th and 30th anniversaries of its world-leading Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus already has strong links with the University as an alumnus, and received a PhD in public health medicine in 2000. He also received an honorary degree from the University in 2019, recognising his outstanding contribution to world healthcare.

He will be joining an outstanding faculty, including Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Honorary Professor Wei Shen Lim, the chair of the UK’s Joint Commission on Vaccinations and Immunisations; and many more who have distinguished themselves in helping the world, UK, and Nottingham tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over his tenure as honorary professor, Dr Tedros will spend time teaching the University’s world-renowned Global Public Health master’s programme. His first day of teaching is today, where he will be delivering a masterclass to students on his experiences of tackling the pandemic and what it means for the future of global public health. As part of the ‘Universities for Nottingham‘ collaboration, students from Nottingham Trent University’s public health course will also be invited to attend.

‘I am honoured to support the University of Nottingham’s work to educate and prepare public health specialists of the future,’ said Dr Tedros. ‘As an alumnus of the University, I have a deep appreciation of its expertise and dedication to protecting and promoting the health of people worldwide through world class public health training. I look forward to contributing to this extremely valuable effort and engaging closely with tomorrow’s health professionals.’

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr Tedros will convene an annual lecture, which will see him lead a discussion with a world leader on a topic related to the future of global health and prosperity. The University’s researchers will also have the opportunity to work with Dr Tedros to explore how they can help contribute to areas of future research and innovation in support of WHO. When international travel is permitted, Dr Tedros is expected to visit the University and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to learn more about their ambitious ‘Tomorrow’s NUH’ plans for redevelopment and innovation.

In addition to his teaching commitments, Dr Tedros will begin his tenure at the University this summer by taking part in a public ‘in conversation’ event with Professor Jonathan Van-Tam and University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West, reprising an event that took place in July 2019, before the pandemic turned the world upside-down.

Dr Tedros has had a distinguished career in global public health spanning more than 30 years. He is the first WHO Director General to have been elected by the World Health Assembly and the first person from the Africa Region to serve as WHO’s chief officer. After taking office in 2017, Dr Tedros outlined key priorities to transform WHO including universal health coverage, health emergencies, and health impacts of climate and environmental change.

Globally recognised as a health scholar, researcher and diplomat, Dr Tedros held a number of important national and global public health positions prior to his role at WHO including Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chair of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He is currently leading the WHO through the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor John Atherton, pro-vice chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine at the University said: ‘Dr Tedros has a truly impressive career in public health to date. He is renowned globally for his leadership and contribution to medicine through several important national and global public health positions, and now the tremendous leadership he is showing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; this is an inspiration to all of us. We are immensely proud to appoint him as an Honorary Professor at the University, and we look forward to the skills and experience he can bring to the role.’

Chief executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Tracy Taylor, said: ‘It will be a huge honour to welcome Dr Tedros back to Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and to share with him our plans for the future of our hospitals. Through Tomorrow’s NUH, we are redesigning our services and clinical environments so that we can respond effectively to the changing health needs of our local population and address health inequalities.

‘Research, innovation and increasing educational opportunities are central to our plans, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to explore this further with Dr Tedros in his new role as honorary professor at the School of Medicine.’

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