Welcome by director

Professor Barbara McPake, Director

I've recently taken up the role of Nossal Director, coming from the UK where most recently I was the Director of the Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Having been a friend of the Nossal from a distance, first visiting in 2009, I've interacted in a range of their activities, been impressed by the caliber of staff, their engagement with the frontiers of their disciplines, the rigor of their approaches, and their commitment to seeing their work applied. No-one in the Nossal Institute is content for a dry tome to gather dust on a library shelf. So I feel absolutely privileged to now be in a position to lead the program of work in its next phase.

We are going to be putting health systems center stage of that program. The recent Ebola outbreak is an object lesson in what can happen when health systems are allowed to wither. In our region, there are major shifts in the health and development agenda that raise huge questions about the best ways to strengthen health systems that will be at the core of our agenda such as changing threats to health security from new viruses, antibiotic and microbial resistance and chronic and non-communicable diseases. The aid environment has realigned creating new channels of funding operating through new organizations and these provide both new opportunities and new challenges for health system strengthening. The Australian government's agenda is re-emphasizing economic growth, trade and the role of the private sector – critical dimensions of aid strategies in health and more broadly in our partnerships with the countries in our region.  Our work on health systems will range across maternal, reproductive and sexual health, inclusive systems for health and development, and health financing and organization. It will be grounded on a commitment to build primary and community based health systems accessible to all, and will build on our work in developing low cost technologies by addressing questions of the adoption of those technologies in health systems.  Our teaching and learning program aims to address an even greater scope of global health, reflecting the grand challenges our graduates will face in a wide range of roles throughout their careers.

The Nossal Institute for Global Health is part of the University of Melbourne, the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and the School of Population and Global Health. There is a wealth of excellent work on global health being undertaken by colleagues across the University and the Institute aims to provide a Hub that enables this work and its authors to come together, share insights, forge new partnerships and often to contribute and add breadth to our teaching and learning program. This is also going to be an increasing emphasis of our activity in its next phase.

We are privileged at the Nossal Institute to have so many inspiring partners among our course participants, government and non-government organizations, research funders, philanthropic organizations and individuals and I want to conclude by thanking all of them and hoping they will continue to work with us for many years to come.

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