Jun 15 2016 Posted: 09:38 IST

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy to deliver opening conference address

NUI Galway will hold the 20th annual Health Promotion Research Centre Summer Conference on Wednesday, 15 June in Áras Moyola. The conference will explore the use of research evidence in developing and implementing inter-sectoral policy and innovative practice for health promotion. 

Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Minister of State for Health Promotion at the Department of Health will deliver the opening address. Minister Corcoran Kennedy said: “The Healthy Ireland Framework is the blueprint for how we will promote, protect and improve the health and wellbeing of our people. Health promotion research and practice will play a key role in empowering individuals, families and communities to look after their own health and wellbeing and make positive choices. They are also a key part of the cross-sectoral partnerships we need to build to address the determinants of health.”

The conference will bring together policy, research and practice perspectives on the use of more effective methods of translating evidence into effective health promotion action. Bridging the gap between ‘what works’ and ‘what happens in practice’ will be a key focus of the conference. This meeting also marks 30 years since the publication of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (WHO, 1986) and celebrates 20 years of NUI Galway hosting the annual Health Promotion conference.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Professor of Public Health, Sydney School of Public Health in the University of Sydney, will deliver the a keynote lecture on optimising the transfer of research evidence into healthy public policy and health promotion practice. Professor Nutbeam said: “We need to work with policy makers to understand more clearly the type of questions that need answering, and to continue to develop the research methods that deliver the best possible answers to questions of greatest public health importance.”

Dr Gauden Galea, Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course, WHO Regional Office for Europe will present on strengthening the evidence base for action on health promotion in Europe.

Other speakers will include Professor Corey Keyes, Department of Sociology, Emory University, Atlanta, United States, who will deliver a lecture on the need for the promotion and protection of positive mental health throughout the lifespan, with a particular focus on youth and students. Professor Jan de Maeseneer, Head of Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Ghent University will discuss community oriented primary care and provide examples of the integration of health promotion into public health and primary health care. Professor de Maeseneer said: “Community Oriented Primary Care blends daily activities in primary health care with the aspirations of health promotion in the context of public health.”

Workshops on using research in policy and practice will also feature and include topics such as alcohol, mental wellbeing, child and adolescent health, partnerships for health, behavior change and health inequalities. Oral and poster presentations related to the conference theme will also be delivered, and together with the workshops provide every delegate a chance to network and meet with speakers and colleagues. A riverside walk or spin on a ‘Pedal Power’ bike is also on offer to enable delegates easy and accessible active opportunities.

Professor Margaret Barry, Chair of the 2016 Conference and Established Professor at NUI Galway, said: “This conference brings together key players in health promotion policy, research and practice and together we will reflect on the impact of health promotion since the publication of the Ottawa Charter, consider successes and current challenges, and envision how we can shape the future of health promotion and strengthen evidence-based action for improved population health.”

Since NUI Galway’s postgraduate Health Promotion programme had its first entry in 1993, there have been over 600 graduates from the Master’s and Postgraduate Diploma programme and a recent survey of past graduates indicated that the vast majority are working in Health Promotion posts or in related work. NUI Galway has also seen a significant increase in the number of PhD students in Health Promotion in recent years, including overseas students, with 21 currently registered on a full or part-time basis. 

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