In conversation with the Rector of the Hacettepe University, Prof A. Haluk ÖZEN
Hacettepe University focuses on preventative healthcare policies and projects including the Vaccine Institute when considering the ageing population.
Representatives: Serhat UNAL and Mine DURUSU TANRIOVER
Question: Professor ÖZEN, could you please give a brief overview of your university?
Prof. ÖZEN: The Chair of Child Health, deemed to be the origin of Hacettepe Faculty of Medicine, was founded as part of the Faculty of Medicine, Ankara University by Prof. Dr. İhsan Doğramacı on February 2, 1954. The foundation stone of the university was laid in 1957 with the Child Health Institute and Hospital within Hacettepe, which began its training, education and research activities and public services in 1958. Hacettepe Medical Center and Hospital were established in 1966. These nucleus institutions were later chartered as Hacettepe University by Law No. 892, enacted on July 8, 1967, which began educational activities in the Faculties of Medicine, Health Sciences, Sciences and Social Sciences. Today, Hacettepe University continues its activities with 15 Faculties, 15 Graduate Schools and Institutes, 2 Applied Schools, 1 Conservatory, 4 Vocational Schools, and 98 Research and Application Centers*. Hacettepe University, as one of the leading universities in the country, keeps contributing to social development and universal values in the fields of science, technology and art.
Question: What are the core values and mission of Hacettepe University and what is the role of the Faculty of Medicine in achieving this mission?
Prof. ÖZEN: Hacettepe University pledges itself to train highly qualified individuals for the future of the country in the light of universal values and availing of its wide experience in science, technology and art, and to offer its output in the fields of research, education and service for the benefit of the society. Shaping our today and tomorrow is the motto of Hacettepe University: to the leading edge, towards being the best. Faculty of Medicine plays a pivotal role in achieving our mission and to prepare for the future. Having introduced several latest practices in Contemporary Medicine Education and health care services to our country, Hacettepe University Hospitals has delivered education to over 11 thousand physicians and nearly 5 thousand specialist physicians within the past 50 years. Hacettepe University Hospitals are built on the wealthy history of the University in medicine and keeps up with the needs of the modern health care system through the teamwork and profound knowledge of privileged scientists and clinicians. Hacettepe University is the first- and still the one and only- public institution in Turkey to provide health care services in conformity with Joint Commission International (JCI) standards. And since 2007, Hacettepe University Hospitals hold the gold seal of the JCI proudly.
Question: What is your opinion about the current healthcare milieu and what are the steps taken in Hacettepe University to adapt to the challenges of healthcare demand and delivery?
Prof. ÖZEN: The ageing population resulted in a paradigm shift in healthcare. Longer lives and better medical interventions and therapies are of course good news. However, are the healthcare systems ready to carry the burden of a frail patient population with a high chronic disease burden and preventive care needs? Hacettepe University Medical Community, taking the lead in national healthcare, focuses not only current medical practice, but also on the strategies that will help prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. Preventive healthcare policies and services require special attention. In this regard, Hacettepe University invests in projects such as ‘smoke-free’ environment, counseling for healthy lifestyle, lifelong vaccination strategies, preserving the health of the healthcare workers, cancer screens and so on. Recently, we have established a Vaccine Institute, as the unique academic institute dealing with every aspect of vaccination in Turkey**. As a part of this ‘prevention’ focus and the management of the ageing population, our collaboration with the International Federation on Ageing is very timely and valuable.
Question: In which areas and activities did you collaborate with IFA and what are your plans for the future with regards to this alliance?
Prof. ÖZEN: We started our collaboration on adult vaccination on a scientific background with our renowned academicians who are leaders in the field on a national level. Hacettepe University has been supporting a couple of high-level scientific meetings on adult vaccination, which set the ground for Civil Society and Academia alliance.
“We believe that the collaboration of IFA and Hacettepe University can be moved forward on other levels through further activities on other components of healthy ageing. Hacettepe University has the necessary academic resources, expertise and funding and more importantly the motivation for this. Healthy ageing is the only solution for a sustainable healthcare system in today’s challenging health milieu.”
A Brief Overview of the Hacettepe Vaccine Institute
No one of the public health strategies ever did succeed as the vaccines in preventing mortality and disability. Children in Turkey are vaccinated within the frame of ‘Expanded Immunization Programme’ with more than ten antigens by now since 1985. Immunization efforts have been expanded recently as to cover the adolescents and the adults, aiming to set a ‘lifelong vaccination strategy’.
Hacettepe University Vaccine Institute, as the first and only Vaccine Institute in Turkey, has been established in January 2018. The Institute aims to provide education in the field of vaccines, to make research that demonstrates the necessity of vaccine studies focusing on the effects of vaccination on social, economical and cultural dimensions together with other stakeholders.
The Institute consists of three departments at the moment; Vaccine Technologies, Vaccine Studies and Immunization Policies. A master program has been established in Vaccine Studies, which also includes a course on Adult Vaccination. This Master Program aims to educate about vaccine preventable diseases, impact of immunization, safety, vaccine development and the roles of various stakeholders such as academia and governing authorities in vaccine policy setting and immunization programs, focusing on the realities and the needs of the country.
You can visit the official website of Hacettepe University at https://hacettepe.edu.tr/english/