AIGHD in Person: Guus ten Asbroek

A job that gives more energy than what it takes: this sounds like a dream for many. For Guus ten Asbroek, Education Coordinator at AIGHD, it is a dream come true, at least when he is designing educational courses and gives lectures to students.

He first came to AIGHD in 2013 to coordinate AIGHD’s educational offering. He decided to focus devote his career to education.

“It is very energizing to teach; there’s a lot of energy in the air when I interact with students. The best part of my work is that I am also learning while I am designing and teaching new courses for students.”

He works together with his colleagues from AIGHD and from the various universities in Amsterdam. He thinks about the content of the courses, sets learning objectives for students, and finds the appropriate teachers for each part of the courses. He particularly enjoys the creativity that his work offers:

“AIGHD gives me a lot of space to be creative in my work. I can work independently and together with my colleagues we aim to design stimulating courses in global health. I really enjoy this part of my work.”.

The institute facilitates education in global health both at bachelors, master’s and PhD level. AIGHD contributes to the Bachelor of Medicine curriculum at the University of Amsterdam’s Academic Medical Center through coordination of the Global Health elective courses and a couple of lectures and workgroups. In collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), AIGHD offers the two-year Research Master in Global Health. Researchers at AIGHD also supervise PhD, master’s and bachelor theses in a broad range of topics.

“I like working at AIGHD because this organization strives for excellence in first-rate education and invests resources to make sure this happens. My colleagues are dedicated lecturers, and our curriculum is interdisciplinary, just like our research. This is important because global health challenges are complex and require an interdisciplinary mindset.”

For him, students are a lot more than people in a classroom.

“I treat my students as my future colleagues. I trust them to work independently on the course material and to complete their assignments on time. I tell them that in the near future they might come to AIGHD to interview for a job and then we will work together in the field of global health. They are the future global health experts.”s

AIGHD teaches global health to medical students at AMC and at other universities. For many of these students, it is the first time that they encounter global health challenges. Their curriculum and their clinical training usually focuses on medicine for a Dutch population.

“We offer these students insights into global health, which provides them with insight about how practising medicine can mean very different things in different countries, depending on the disease burden of the population and the resources to treat people. We have so much experience from the field and lots of research to rely on to give students a comprehensive understanding of global health.”

Ten Asbroek is a man who does everything he can to prepare students for their future careers. Right now, he is busy supporting the medical school at the Amsterdam Medical Center to internationalize their curriculum. This means that he is helping them to improve their exchange programs, and his role is to lead the pre-departure training for students.

“We are working with Zuyd Hogeschool and Maastricht University to structure the pre-departure training. We measure students’ cultural awareness and help them become more effective at living and working in different cultures. We provide the theory before they leave and then they learn how to implement it while they are abroad. This ties in with the mission of AIGHD to prepare students to work in different countries and to tackle global health challenges.”