Global in Health – Transdisciplinary perspectives

The first edition of this student-led Global Health seminar provided a platform to discuss the value, challenges, and opportunities of moving beyond disciplinary boundaries in today’s complex field of global health. As most health challenges no longer reside neatly within the boundaries of a single discipline, it appears that adequately trained professionals, capable of broadening their perspectives and thinking across disciplines, are necessary. Therefore, this seminar intended to connect experts, academics, policy-makers, and students articulated around different perspectives in health, ranging from national to global contexts.

This real-life event brought different yet inspirational perspectives to the table and stirred up interesting discussions. With an interactive and engaging setup, that included student presentations, passionate speakers, and a panel session, the seminar provided renowned GH experts and current GH students a stage to share their insights and contributions to the field, and all guests the opportunity to fully interact.

Venue: University Foundation, Egmontstraat / Rue d’Egmont 11 – 1000 Brussels, BELGIUM


Welcome & Introduction – The importance of “Global” in Health – Prof. Dr. Olivier Degomme (UGent, ICRH)

Video Messages

Keynote Speech – Prof. Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir (UCLouvain, CRED)

Student Speaker – Fiorella Farje De la Torre (senior student MSc Global Health)

Fiorella Farje is a Peruvian sociologist and MPH from the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, currently enrolled in the advanced master’s degree in Global Health. Her research areas are indigenous health, sexual and reproductive health, and interculturality in health care. Working as a researcher for universities in Peru and now in Belgium, she has aimed to highlight health inequalities and disparities mainly for the most vulnerable groups and minorities. Her work continues to focus on bridging this social gap and achieving respect for people’s rights and autonomy.

Panel Discussion – How has and how should health transform to a global multi- and transdisciplinary field?

with (click on names for more details)

Prof. Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir (UCLouvain, CRED)

Debarati Guha-Sapir was the Director of CRED and a Professor at the University of Louvain School of Public Health, in Brussels, and a Member of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Belgium. She founded EMDAT – an international reference database on natural disasters. Trained at Calcutta University, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Louvain, she has a Ph.D. in epidemiology.
She has been involved in field research and training in humanitarian aid issues, working closely with the World Health Organization, UNHCR, UNDP, and European Commission in various regions of the world, including China, Sudan, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Great Lakes, Somalia and Central America. Her research is focused on human impact of disasters and conflicts using Epidemiological methods. Another area of her research is the cause of mortality from crisis events – a central theme for progress in the Sustainable Development Goals. She has collaborated with diverse researchers all over the world.

Dr. Elies Van Belle (Memisa)

Elies van Belle (Leuven, 29 July 1974) is a medical & public health doctor.
She was trained as a General Practitioner in the UK and Belgium and studied Tropical Medicine (2001) and Public Health (2011) at ITM Antwerp. From 2002 to 2011 she worked in different Health Programs in Afghanistan, Angola, Ivory Coast, and DR Congo with MSF and with the bilateral Agency for development cooperation (Enabel). Her main interests and experience are in Primary Health Care and Health System Strengthening Interventions.
Elies is currently the Director General of the Belgian NGO Memisa, based in Brussels, and has been working for the organization since 2011, first as a medical advisor and then as a Development manager. She is also the chair of the Belgian Network for International Health Be-Cause Health.
She has been a member of the board of governors of ITM Antwerp from 2014 to 2018 and is now vice-chair of the General Council.

Commander s.g. Kurt Engelen (BE Defence, RGSL)

Commander Kurt Engelen is a Belgian navy officer with a combined military and academic background in international politics, European affairs and conflict studies. He holds a master’s in applied linguistics and in international politics. He also holds a General Management certificate from Cambridge University and recently completed the advanced course on Strategy and Defence at the European Security and Defence College.
During his latest assignments, he was in charge of Cooperative Security at the Belgian military representation to NATO and head of the European Union section at the Belgian defence staff strategy department. Since March 2020, he has been the defence counselor to the Belgian Ambassador to the Political and Security Committee of the EU.
He also teaches international politics at the Riga Graduate School of Law in Latvia and European affairs and crisis management at the Royal Military Academy in Belgium.
He is a regular guest lecturer at the Belgian Royal Higher Institute of Defence, at the European Security and Defence College and at various academic institutions in Belgium and abroad.

Kashi Carasso (hera, LSHTM)

Kashi is a public health professional with a pharmacy background and has twenty years of experience working in different capacities on strategy, implementation, and evaluation of health programs – with a focus on access to medicines – in developing countries. Her technical areas of expertise include procurement & supply chain management, training & capacity building, and evaluation of complex health programs. During her professional career, Kashi has worked for a range of bilateral (FCDO, USAID, KfW), multilateral (Global Fund, World Bank, EU) donors, UN organizations (WHO, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNDP) and NGOs (Oxfam, CHAI, MSI, and MSF). Kashi is an examiner and lecturer at the London School (LSHTM) and supervises students at the Royal Tropical Institute (NL) and the University of Rwanda. She has since 2014 been a member of WHO Unitaid’s Proposal Review Committee and is an active member of QUAMED (quality medicines for all). Kashi is also trained as a holistic counselor and group therapist and supports personal self-development processes.

Final remarks – Jean Van Wetter (Managing Director, Enabel)


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