Maltese medical doctor Natasha Azzopardi Muscat was recently awarded the 2024 Andrija Štampar Medal, a prestigious award that recognises excellence in the field of public health.

The award was presented to her by the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER) during its Deans and Directors’ Retreat in Porto, Portugal.

Professor Azzopardi Muscat, who is a Senior Lecturer at University of Malta and Director of Country Health Policies and Systems at the World Health Organisation (WHO), remarked that she is “deeply humbled” to have received the medal.

“To me, it’s a celebration of collective commitment and team effort to improve public health,” she said.

The Andrija Štampar Medal was created in recognition of Andrija Štampar, a prominent doctor and social medicine scholar who also served as Chairman of the first WHO General Assembly in 1948.

The medal is presented to a distinguished person for excellence in public health, with previous winners including medical journal editor Richard Horton and Laurent Chambaud, Dean of France’s EHESP School of Public Health.

In her tribute to Dr Štampar, Professor Azzopardi Muscat said that he was a “man of action, active in the field, listening, observing, and understanding the lives of people.”

“He was open to learning from other continents and did not feel that Europeans had all the solutions. Truly, he was a man of the 21st century who lived in the first part of the 20th century,” she continued.

She affirmed that by accepting the medal, she promises to continue learning, as since the field continues to evolve, so must public health professionals.

Professor Azzopardi Muscat added that it also represents a commitment to collaborate, as challenges can be overcome when different expertise are united. She said that she also promises to inspire, wanting to “ignite curiosity, mentor the next generation, and foster a passion for public health.”

“Lifelong learning is our compass as we continue to collectively shape the future of public health,” she continued.

She expressed her desire to be “bold, compassionate, and relentless,” wanting to address people’s needs and focus not just on their physical well-being, but also on mental and emotional health.

“I am proud to carry forward this torch in our pursuit of better health for all,” Professor Azzopardi Muscat said.

She thanked her mentors and teachers, colleagues and collaborators, in Malta, in European policy, and at WHO. Professor Azzopardi Muscat also expressed gratitude to her family, as their unwavering support has sustained her during “long hours, late nights, and countless moments of doubt.”

University of Malta’s Faculty of Health Sciences congratulated her on the award, stating that it is an “outstanding achievement.”

Professor Azzopardi Muscat is a qualified medical doctor and a certified medical specialist in public health. She has a Doctor of Medicine in Public Health Medicine from University of Malta and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health from Maastricht University.

Aside from her roles at University of Malta and WHO, she also practises as a Consultant in Public Health Medicine within the Directorate for Health Information and Research in Malta. She also served as President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA) from 2016 to 2020.

Main Image:

Natasha Azzopardi Muscat during her speech after she received the award / Facebook

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Fabrizio Tabone

Fabrizio has a passion for the economy and technology, especially when it comes to innovation. Aside from this, he also has a passion for football and movies, and so you will often find him either with a ball to his feet or at the cinema checking out the latest releases.