Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are all well and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I would like to start by introducing myself; I am Dr Gaya Gamhewage and I am leading the development of the first-ever WHO learning strategy, as part of our work to establish a WHO Academy next year. The Academy will help WHO better fulfil the capacity building and training functions that are required to improve people’s health around the world and achieve health goals. It will also serve as a base for staff learning for WHO so we can better support our stakeholders around the world. We aim to offer training and learning to millions of health workers and decision makers around the world and to make lifelong learning the norm in public health. We want to collaborate with all our stakeholders to first develop the best future-oriented strategy and then work together with you to identify and deliver lifelong learning to achieve Health For All.

As you know, our world is in turmoil because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. And there are many other risks that threaten the health of people around the world. Now imagine the changes we will experience in our world in 10, 20 or even 30 years. Most public health goals set by us individually, our countries and the world as a whole, are unlikely to be achieved if we continue with business as usual. 

We at WHO believe that learning and training for public health must evolve and be future orientated if we are to improve and protect people’s health in a fair and equitable way. WHO has embarked on a journey to gather the best, brightest, most innovative and the most outlandish ideas to shape the future for learning and training and to meet the challenges and disruptors we are likely to face in the future. Big or small, we want to hear your Idea.

Thousands of people who work in health, who teach public health, who are decision makers and those who have the resources to support learning for public health have shared their ideas. But we want to hear from you. What is your Big Idea? How can we establish lifelong learning in public health? How can we harness the new technology and meet our values for equity and fairness? We want to make sure that all institutions, agencies and individuals who play a key role in people’s health have a say and contribute towards building a Learning Strategy for public health that will benefit all.

My request: Please find 20 minutes of time to have your say and shape our future. Click on the link below and write in one sentence your Big Idea for shaping the future of learning, training and education for public health. And then, feel free to use up to 500 words to elaborate your idea further. It’s a simple as that. You can submit the form as many times as you like if you have more than one idea. You can select from three langue versions: English, French and Spanish. The deadline is 30th June so please don’t delay.

Please follow this for the survey in English, French or Spanish. link

I also request you to share widely amongst your networks, within your organizations and any associations that you know. Please forward them this message and the details for the link.

We will use the responses to develop WHO’s global learning strategy to ensure that all who are involved in the world’s health and social care systems have ample opportunities to strengthen the competencies they need to save lives and improve health outcomes in their communities.

With thanks and looking forward to hearing your idea,