WHO Collaborating Centre on Social Inclusion and Health celebrates first anniversary


(From left) Carmen Rόdenas, Director of IUDESP; Daniel La Parra, Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre; Piroska Ostlin, Programme Manager in WHO/Europe; Manuel Palomar, Rector of Alicante University; and Juan Llopis, Vice-President of Alicante University

The University of Alicante recently celebrated the first anniversary of the designation of the Interuniversity Institute of Social Development and Peace (IUDESP) as WHO Collaborating Centre on Social Inclusion and Health. The centre was the second to be designated in 2012 to support WHO’s work on vulnerability and health. In celebration of the first anniversary, the hosts discussed the developments and advancements of the centre.

On this occasion, Dr Piroska Östlin, Programme Manager of the Vulnerability and Health Programme at WHO/Europe, visited the university and met among others Rector Manuel Palomar, Vice-President Juan Llopis, Dean Ana Laguna Pérez, Director of IUDESP Carmen Rόdenas and the staff of WHO Collaborating Centre under the leadership of Daniel La Parra.

They discussed the current and future collaboration between IUDESP and WHO, including:

  • work on multi-country training workshops on Roma health;
  • development of a resource package to support the training;
  • development of a policy brief on violence against women with focus on migrant and ethnic minority women;
  • development of a tool-kit on Roma participation;
  • coordination of a teaching network for health professionals; and
  • development of teaching material for the improvement of Roma health.

The collaboration already includes regular publication of the Roma health newsletter.

At an open seminar for students, teachers and NGO representatives, Dr Östlin gave an update on WHO activities for improving the health status of Roma in Europe. La Parra informed the audience about the different activities of the WHO Collaborating Centre.

In a visit organized by the Secretary of the Valencia Region Federation of Roma NGOs, Juan Fernández, Dr Östlin had the opportunity to go around Roma settlements in Alicante and learn about the social and health challenges they face.