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New healthcare collaboration for 35,000 employees and 1.2 million citizens

Aarhus University, the Central Denmark Region and VIA University College are launching a new healthcare collaboration. The ambitious initiative – which goes under the title "Human First" – not only aims to optimise and coordinate research, education and treatment. Its goal is to make the region well-known for healthcare by putting people first.

2018.06.07 | Ulla Krag Jespersen

Human First is a new healthcare collaboration between VIA University College, Central Denmark Region and Aarhus University.

Final approval landed on 6 June. So now Aarhus University, the Central Denmark Region and VIA University College can launch a comprehensive collaboration on healthcare education, research, development and treatment. For the past year, representatives from all three institutions have been involved in the preparation of the vision statement and determining the first focus areas for the healthcare collaboration.

"It's been an exciting process and I’m really looking forward to getting started. For us at VIA, there’s no doubt that a closer and more flexible collaboration between the three institutions is the way forward in terms of strengthening our research and development, as well as the education of healthcare professionals – which will benefit our citizens," says Aase Lydiksen, Director at VIA Health, which houses VIA’s professional Bachelor's degree programmes for healthcare – including the nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy programmes.

Collaboration – not so much an option, more an obligation

Together, the three institutions have a total of 35,000 employees. Ambitions are therefore high for the strengthened collaboration to make a difference for health and welfare. The Human First collaboration is thus viewed as more of an obligation than an option.

Ole Thomsen, Head of Corporate Management in the Central Denmark Region, says:

"We have a shared ambition; that our efforts will have an influence on society and on the individual person in a way that they can themselves feel. This is true for both health and welfare. We have promised each other that we’ll be more specific and focused in our future collaboration, which can also be seen from the focus areas," says Ole Thomsen.

Fire focus areas between 2018-2020:

During the coming three years, the Human First collaboration comprises four focus areas:

· Diseases and brain injuries
· People with rehabilitation needs
· Interdisciplinary collaboration
· The correlation between theoretical education and practical training programmes

The focus areas are all intended to create better coherence between research, education and implementation. Put simply, the institutions need to be better to utilise knowledge across all institutions about everything from DNA research to osteoarthritis. This coherence must benefit the region’s citizens, for example in the form of better prevention, treatment and care, as well as the education and training of new professional Bachelor's and graduates, including the further and continuing education of employees.

Human First not only focuses on the 1.2 million people living in the region; it also has an ambition to develop knowledge and solutions that can inspire others and be used in the rest of the world.

Will strengthen the region's position

Lars Bo Nielsen, Dean of the Faculty of Health at Aarhus University, emphasises that strong solutions in the healthcare sector cannot be achieved alone. If Human First is to succeed, other stakeholders must therefore be invited to join, such as municipalities, practitioners, private companies, foundations and international stakeholders.

"Our new collaboration needs to be attractive for partners in Denmark and internationally. We already have a shared position of strength in the region in terms of research and education. Together, we can raise this to an even higher level," says Lars Bo Nielsen.

Shorter distance between decision-making and reality

The parties have strongly focused on organising the collaboration so they avoid having too much distance between the focus areas and the reality that the three organisation’s employees find themselves in. The four focus areas are driven by programme groups that can choose to set-up working groups and involve external stakeholders in order to realise their ambitions.

Each programme group will consist of 20-30 professional experts from the three partner organisations and will be set-up to ensure the greatest possible impact. Members will be chosen based on their overview of the area, professional contributions, managerial experience and legitimacy in their own organisation.

The programme groups will prepare action plans and regularly report to the steering committee over the next three years.

Download the vision statement for the Human First Collaboration (Danish)

Download the description of the four focus areas (Danish)

Further information on Human First (Danish)

Policy and strategy, Administration (Academic), Academic staff, Health, Health, Administrative, Technical / administrative staff, Department of Biomedicine, PhD students, Department of Public Health