Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care
Department Meeting

First Department Meeting at Alrek 19.8.2020

On the 10th of August, UiB formally took over ownership of Alrek, Årstadveien 17, from the builder. Department Leader, Guri Rørtveit represented IGS and was given a key to the new facilities. Already 19th August, Rørtveit was able to assemble IGS for the first full Department meeting.

IGS Department Meeting
Grete Tell

Main content

Since becoming Head of Department, Rørtveit has established a tradition of kicking-off each academic semester with a full Department Meeting. Despite the challenges of moving office buildings and COVID-19 restrictions, over 80 IGS-ers assembled either F2F (face-to-face) or virtually via Zoom (just over 30) in a blended meeting to start Autumn Semester 2020.

Dealing with both technology and COVID

The largest Aula / meeting room in Alrek, Midgard, has place for 60 people under COVID-19 restrictions. Meetings involving more people need to use blended options (F2F & video-conference). Many people at IGS have developed expertise with Zoom or Team meetings during the past 5 months. The Study Administration team, led by Kirsti Norstrand, deserves particular mention in this regard. We are all especially grateful to Daniel Gundersen, who is responsible for coordinating IGS’ PhD activity, for the expertise he has developed in this area as he ensured a smooth transition from F2F to virtual PhD Defences. As Gundersen will attest, it is always critical to test out the technology before any meeting. Properly tested, and properly trained participants, virtual meetings go quite well.

Greetings from the Dean

Per Bakke, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, congratulated everyone on having successfully completed the move to Alrek – with only 3 boxes being misplaced! Bakke encouraged people to become engaged with their new workplace. Based on his personal experience, he says this is the best way to ensure that the experience will be positive. Like Rørtveit, Bakke underlined the importance of adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. He highlighted that the responsibility for working out details such as home-office, now lies at the Department level instead of UiB centrally.

IGS - an important partner and driver

Bakke said that IGS is an important partner in the Alrek Health Cluster. He added that IGS needs to actively drive collaboration initiatives with the other groups moving to Alrek. He highlighted, in particular, the tremendous need for more knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic. Talks about developing a pandemic research centre at UiB are underway. Such a centre should be based at IGS and Alrek – but needs to facilitate and actively involve other areas at UiB, and other institutions in Bergen.

Moving is a process – processes take time

Rørtveit thanks the many who have been involved in various user groups in the planning of Alrek and the move. It has been a HUGE and inclusive process – but it all takes time. She encourages everyone to stay involved and engaged as the process continues to unfold. Please see the document attached below for more information (in Norwegian) about the user involvement.

Rørtveit reminded everyone about the IGS vision and the need to keep a focus on this vision central in all research and education activity at IGS. Alrek will also include a medical centre and a psychology clinic – daily contact with the general public, even peripherally, will be a new experience for many.

She had some suggestions for moving in:

  • Unpack your boxes as quickly as possible
  • Use the common areas for books where possible
  • Use the canteen for lunch

Rørtveit encouraged IGS-ers to reach out to people from other groups who have moved into Alrek. Possible initiatives include planning seminars together, establishing meeting places and shared meetings, as well as developing collaborative projects – both research and teaching.

Building a Health Campus

Bente E. Moen, Director of the Centre for International Health, and others have remarked that Alrek has really helped to build a feeling of being at a Health Campus. The overview picture shows all the buildings where research, teaching and health care activities occur now on Årstadvollen.  

Education at IGS – Autumn 2020

Edvin Schei, the Leader for Education at IGS, briefly reported on how the semester had begun for the professional and master students, particularly as relating to the re-opening following the COVID-19 lock-down.

He reported that despite some technology challenges relating to the new teaching facilities, MED’s Education Committee (UGLE) was pleased with how things are going. He thanked the IT department and IGS’ Study Administration for their support.

Upcoming IGS courses for education staff:

How to use the new teaching facilities (Hugin and Munin) with Ivar Nordmo

  • 30.09 13:00-15:00
  • Up to 25 participants

IGS Education Seminar Autumn 2020

  • 06.10 12:30-16:00
  • Theme: Pedagogy and Digitalisation

(see image in right column to see more info about other courses)