Show the importance of public health, especially now!

With an inspiring campaign in Maastricht, Public Health students of Maastricht University (UM) have contributed to the launch of the global initiative 'This is Public Health' (TIPH). Their goal? To showcase what public health is and why it is so vitally important for promoting and protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities.

The students concerned are UM master students in 'Governance and Leadership in European Public Health'. Their programme director - and past President of the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) - Kasia Czabanowska says this about the importance of public health: "Most of us rarely think about public health until a crisis happens which captures the attention but in fact public health professionals work every day to keep people safe by preventing diseases and injury.  Now, more people than ever before would like to start their careers in this field and there are plenty of reasons from the simple to the profound why public health is important and well worth doing. Some of the world’s biggest breakthroughs like vaccinations come from the public health field. Public health can change health for the better on a big scale."

Campaign tools
The diverse academic and cultural backgrounds of the master's students resulted in a variety of creative campaign outputs.

Central tool was the blue ‘THIS IS PUBLIC HEALTH’ campaign stickers, which were placed on various health-promoting products and projects. Such as a water supply tap in the city. This way they showed in what ways public health manifests itself in the local community.

The students also interviewed various public health professionals, researchers and policy makers to highlight the diverse range of projects happening in Maastricht. They processed these in an engaging campaign video, in which the students showcase the dynamic and exciting field of public health with humour and enthusiasm. Fanny Goel is one of the students who participated in the TIPH campaign: “Public health includes all areas related with health. As practically everything around a population impacts their health, the area of work for public health is virtually everything, everywhere and everyone. Public health professionals are needed at all levels to protect, prevent and promote population's health!"

The filming overlapped with the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which offered a unique opportunity to demonstrate the importance of implementing public health measures to keep people safe during these times.

"The goal of TIPH is to raise awareness about the field of public health and the range of professions within the field. TIPH Europe produced many innovative educational campaigns and resources, and this video is a great example of the creativity and professionalism of public health students. We have hope for the future because of the work you will do for a healthier and more just world!” Laura Magaña, President & CEO, Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)

Support and funding
A number of key local partners supported and endorsed the campaign, including university authorities, the municipality, and various student organisations.

Maastricht University was awarded a grant from ASPHER to visualize what public health entails. With this money, the students ran their campaign and financed the making of their video.

“Public health is about protecting and improving the health of all the people in our societies. It may not be dramatic and eye catching as health care can be portrayed. But it is vital necessary, unsung and  often unappreciated - until a pandemic comes along! This great video from Maastricht shows us, with great energy how public health work serves to see us well”.  
John Middleton, President, Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region

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