Athens 2018

European Conference of Health Workforce Education & Research

We are very pleased to announce that the European Conference of Health Workforce Education & Research will take place at the National School of Public Health in Athens, Greece on Thursday 24th and 25th May 2018. Hosted in collaboration with both the National School of Public Health, the International Network for Health Workforce Education holds a number of conferences to promote interdisciplinary co-operation and critical understanding of the latest research in the field of health workforce education, training and development within continental regions and beyond. The Conferences bring together researchers, educators, trainers and policy makers from around the world who are engaged and active in health workforce education.

Conference Theme: Leadership, Communication and Intercultural Education

Leadership, Communication and Intercultural Education for health professionals, the theme of the European Conference on Health Workforce Education and Research, is at the very top of political and research agendas. Health professionals are dealing with constant changes to both the health systems they work in and the patients they serve. Equipping the health workforce with the skills to deal with this change is of the upmost importance for healthcare educators, researchers and policy makers. Leadership, Communication and Intercultural Education are three distinct but interrelated topics that are assisting health professionals adapt to their changing environment.

Leadership training for health professionals has been on the rise since the early 1990’s when ‘new public management’ changed the opinion of policy makers and catapulted leadership skills to the top of the public-sector agenda. Rising financial and operational pressures to health systems in recent years have placed an ever increasing responsibility on all health professionals to conduct their activities with the wider health system in mind. Healthcare education has thus looked to increased leadership training as a way of equipping health professionals to deal with such pressures.

During the same period patients have changed from passive ‘consumers’ of healthcare to active participants, increasing the need for effective communication between all stakeholders in patients’ care packages. Effective communication between health professionals and patients has been found to have a positive impact on decreasing readmission rates, understanding treatment options, helping to achieve adherence to treatment, increasing the consistency of following a medication schedule, saving costs, and improving overall health outcomes for patients.

Lastly, EU mobility and an increased number of displaced persons across the globe now makes intercultural training for health professionals a necessity, especially with the health workforce often being the first point of contact for many migrants. The EU Skills Panorama (2014) states that health professionals should develop their skills in line with broader societal trends and influences. Researchers and policymakers have also added their voices to calls to develop the range and quality of intercultural competences.