Henk Schmidt began working with the Network: TUFH in 1982, assisting the secretary general, Jacobus Greep in building the organization from 19 member institutions to 150 member institutions. He collaborated with Ine Kuppen and Pauline Vluggen to organize the first seven biannual conferences of The Network, as well as two special conferences in Penang and Durban. Schmidt continued to contribute to The Network by founding, with Ine Kuppen, this newsletter in 1985 and The Network Journal “Annals of Community-Oriented Education” (now “Education for Health” ) in 1987. He further edited and co-wrote several books on medical education inspired by Network conferences, including Tutorials in Problem Based Learning (Volumes 1 and 2), New Directions for Medical Education, and the Handbook of Community-based Education: Theory and Practice. Between 1987 and 1995 he was the Network’s associate secretary general.
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We appreciate Schmidt taking time to talk with us.

When we asked Schmidt why he had remained involved so long with the Network, he replied “I enjoyed the opportunity to work with towering personalities, such as Zohair Nooman and Esmat Ezzat (former secretary generals), Vic Neufeld (a former chairman), and Tamas Fulop (the former director of Health Manpower Development at the World Health Organization). It was also satisfying to meet the challenge of making a difference in the way health professionals were educated: I was one of the originators of the problem-based learning approach to education. I found it fun to develop new features of a conference such as the thematic poster sessions. The interactions with academics from different backgrounds and cultures as we worked on our similar goals were invigorating.”

Schmidt spoke about the influence The Network had on his career as well, encouraging him to do research on community-based education, on which he wrote articles for Academic Medicine, Advances in Health Sciences Education: Theory and Practice, and Medical Education. He further spoke about the concrete impact The Network had on his career:

“Halfway through the 1980’s I felt my future was no longer in medical education, and that I should follow my professional path elsewhere. Tamas Fulop, however, believed my contribution to the Network could not be missed, so he personally intervened at Maastricht University to advocate a full professorship for me. I liked to joke that the name of my position was the “Ine Kuppen-Tamas Fulop Chair”.

I would like to thank Henk for his input and look forward to another conversation with him in the future.