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TRTF's Humanitarian Award
was conferred in 2007 to
Harald Østensen
of Cluny, France,

"in recognition and certification of his contributions to organizing teaching courses and supporting appropriate means of medical imaging, particularly in countries with limited resources."

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From left to right: Robert N. Muller (TRTF), Harald Østensen, Peter A. Rinck (TRTF). © 2007 by TRTF.

Humanitarian Award • The Recipient

A single Humanitarian Award was conferred by The Round Table Foundation so far. In 2007 the Foun­da­tion gave this Award to Harald Østensen of Cluny, France. The award was presented at Cecilienhof Castle in Pots­dam, Germany.

For many years Harald Østensen exemplified the combination of extra­ordi­nary achievement with decency and bene­vol­ence by organizing teaching courses and supporting appropriate means of medical imaging, particularly in countries with limited resources.

spaceholder red600    Harald Østensen received his medical education and training in Germany and Norway. He worked as a general practitioner and later as a radiologist in hos­pi­tals all over Norway.

Until the early 1990s, he was the Managing Director of the NICER courses – continuing education in ra­dio­logy for world regions lacking the range of medical education available in many rich countries. His group – supported by a medical company – built up a global program, enlisting well-known teachers in radiology from all over the world.

The goal was untainted education of the highest poss­ible quality.

Østensen then joined the World Health Organization at their head­quarters in Geneva, Switzerland, in charge of global medical imaging. Again, he put his emphasis on basic and applied teaching and edited numerous books and brochures which were distributed free of charge. One of his main goals in Geneva was the introduction of digital radiography in countries with few resources. Østensen died in 2011.

Professor Hans Ringertz, former Pre­si­dent of the No­bel As­semb­ly in Stockholm, pointed out:

"Radiology had never been strongly represented within WHO before, and Harald Østensen did a great job with very limited resources. His most important con­tri­bu­tion was the concentration on radiological equip­ment, education, and radiation protection in the least de­velop­ed parts of the world. From our earliest meetings, it was clear that Harald's overriding con­cerns were always those of the patient and how the resources avail­able could best be utilized to improve the health of the population.

"His greatest attribute was in getting health pro­fes­sio­nals to work as a team and to respect the value of each other's contribution to the care of the patient. He was instrumental in breaking down professional barriers."