A note from the President

Dear Members and Friends,

Since 1907, the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (RSTMH) has worked towards improving global health. Through our network of members across the world, we facilitate research, share knowledge, guide lifelong careers and drive impact.

We have almost 1,000 members in 43 countries and a global network of around 20,000 people interested in our work, including speakers, authors, grants applicants and recipients.

Our roles include funding and disseminating multidisciplinary research through two peer-reviewed journals and a calendar of meetings and events. We provide grants for UK and international research and award prizes for excellence in practice and to recognise emerging talent.

In September 2017, we launched our new five-year strategy. This document is the result of a comprehensive review involving RSTMH’s Board of Trustees, staff team, members, former members and non-members. The six-month process included a survey with 200 respondents and over 100 interviews. Through this review we revisited how we describe ourselves, our ambitions, and how we work. This provides a new vision, mission and scope for the Society, which drive a new strategic approach and plans.

As our world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, we must consider a wider approach to improving health through multiple disciplines and sectors. Using the Sustainable Development Goals as our context, we recognise the importance of our links with animal and planetary health, and the underlying social, structural, economic and environmental factors that determine health around the globe.

Our approach will be to better understand and utilise the collective knowledge and expertise of our members and networks, to build on our existing strengths and realise our potential. This includes more work with those in the early stages of their careers, from a wider range of disciplines and geographies.

This scope and approach will enable us to focus on priority areas, which we have defined as – but aren’t limited to:

  • Neglected tropical diseases and their overlap with non-communicable diseases and the Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Malaria, with a focus on drug resistance,
  • Planetary health and the consideration of human health alongside animal health and the environment, in the context of social, economic and political factors,
  • Topical issues including emerging diseases,
  • Drug resistant infections,
  • Areas where we feel our unique and independent role as a convenor would be useful.

Our approach will be delivered through three strategic priorities:

We will concentrate on strengthening our existing relationships with networks and partners. This includes developing new ways – for example through digital channels – to deliver a broader range of better-tailored membership activities and offers in and outside the UK. As well as establishing programmes to better engage with our wider networks and audiences, we also want to expand our links to organisations and institutions in the UK and around the world and look for new partners to improve our impact and networks.

We will deliver greater impact for global health, RSTMH and our members. This involves looking at how we set goals and measure impact across all aspects of our work, as well as ensuring that we plan strategically and review our progress regularly, learning from our evaluations along the way. In conjunction with these internal reviews, we want to work with key stakeholders to position ourselves as an authority and a leading voice in the UK on tropical medicine and global health. We will move our biennial meeting to an annual event, identify more opportunities to network and share information, ensure our members are spokespeople on key aspects of tropical medicine and global health and use our website and digital platforms to amplify our voice.

Much of the success of this work relies on having robust internal systems at our foundation. This work will include a new database and platform through which people can submit research and applications. We will refresh our governance structure and establish committees on education and training and on policy and advocacy.

We welcome feedback on the strategy and look forward to taking you on this new, exciting journey with us.

Download the full strategy.