Oscar Franco | Professor of Public Health and Chair of Department, UMC Utrecht

Prof. Oscar H. Franco is Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Department of Global Public Health & Bioethics at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, and Chair of Healthy Living at University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University. Furthermore, Oscar is Adjunct Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Bern, the National University of Mar del Plata, Argentina; Honorary Professor at Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; and scientific advisor for the French television channel France24 (until end 2023). Prof. Franco has published over 800 publications and has a H-index of 112 (WoS).

Prof. Franco obtained his MD at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogot√°, Colombia in 1998. In 2001 he moved to the Netherlands to complete MSc and DSc degrees in clinical epidemiology and a PhD in public health and cardiovascular disease prevention (2005) at the Erasmus University Medical Center. Following a postdoc at Erasmus MC, he moved to the UK where he was a senior public health epidemiologist at Unilever England, assistant professor of public health at the University of Warwick, and then director of the MPhil program and clinical lecturer in public health at the University of Cambridge. In 2012 Prof. Franco returned to ErasmusMC to the department of epidemiology where he worked as professor of preventive medicine and the principal investigator of the cardiovascular epidemiology group. He also founded and directed the Rotterdam Intergenerational Ageing Research Center, ErasmusAGE, and he was cofounder and CEO of Erasmus Epidemiology Resources. From 2018 until 2022, Oscar moved to the University of Bern as Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) at the University of Bern, Switzerland.

Title presentation:

The Future of Medicine, Innovation and Health

The 20th century witnessed the rise of noncommunicable disorders (NCDs) and the consolidation of cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the number one cause of morbidity and mortality globally, a trend that has been maintained in the 21st century. 

The emergence of CVD and NCDs in general has resulted from improvements in living conditions, hygiene, sanitation, and healthcare, among others, that have contributed to substantial decreases in child and maternal mortality and have resulted in people living ever longer. 

This has led to widespread interest in ageing and healthy ageing; however, questions remain regarding how can we shape our own trajectories of life? These questions have sparked, motivated, and challenged my career and life. Although I might not have answers to these questions, I will share my personal and quixotic attempts to find the answers, together with personal reflections about the future of medicine, innovation and health

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