As a celebration of one year since launching PH SPOT, we are releasing a blog series titled “Thinking outside of the box: inspiring the next generation of public health professionals”. To view the entire series, click here.


Inspiring the next generation of public health professionals, with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

We have yet another inspirational individual for this series: Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus!

Dr. Tedros was elected as the WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017.

Have you ever wondered what big public health problems Dr. Tedros would recommend the next generation of professionals to tackle? Well, we did too…so we asked him just that. It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Tedros has a very busy schedule. Despite his busy days, he still took the time to share his thoughts with PH SPOT. So, here’s your daily dose of inspiration from Dr. Tedros:

You have held the position of Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Health, and now the WHO Director General. With over three decades in the field of public health, it is an understatement to say that you have seen first hand the public health issues in our world today that immediately require innovative solutions. After you took office on July 1, 2017, you also outlined five key priorities for the WHO: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO. Based on your experience and the priority areas, what specific public health problem would you challenge emerging professionals to begin thinking about and target, given the resources and technological advancements we have today (if you can, please name the top three problems)?

Despite extensive efforts in addressing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), the main risk factors remain a huge public health problem globally. We need to think innovatively of how unhealthy diets, smoking, lack of physical activity, among other drivers of NCDs, can be further addressed within communities, taking into account wider issues—education, social and political participation, environmental aspects of living, food and nutrition, violence, poverty and employment. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing threat for global health. The continued involvement of future health professionals is critical in preventing AMR. Climate change must remain a priority for youth. This new generation has the energy and knowledge to lead our societies towards a low carbon and climate resilient future.

As populations grow and change, so too do their health needs. We need microbiologists and epidemiologists to better understand diseases; we need chemists to develop new treatments; we need implementation researchers to ensure health services are delivered effectively; and we need economists to find new ways of meeting increasingly complex health needs in the most cost-effective way.

Young people are our future. The brightest and best minds. Everything is available – the talent, the resources, the energy, and the creativity – to make things happen. They must be actively involved in planning their future.

How will you take these ideas and shape your career? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

About Dr. Tedros: Biography