The theme for the 24th IUHPE world conference in 2022 is Promoting policies for health, well-being and equity. Such a focus, of course, is integral to the body of knowledge and action that the international health promotion community lives by. As some thinkers have observed, however, the best health advocates may not just be the health promoters or those making government decisions regarding health – health is created, sustained and changed in board rooms, parliamentary corridors, think tanks and neighbourhood gardens.
For the health promotion community now more than ever it is time to reach out to the policy world, not just in rhetoric, but in true understanding. We need to elevate our interventions, our scholarship, and our reflections to new levels. We need to move beyond words and pro-actively engage with policy-making for the promotion of health – embracing equity and well-being. Traditionally, the health promotion community has addressed policy in forms such as Healthy Public Policy, and more recently, Health in All Policy. Collective choice to address important issues in society (the crux of policy) is an integral concern of health promotion. The complexities and scales of joined-up health policies are vast. They reach from prevention of destructive immune responses in an individual’s physiology to our ecosystems and the Anthropocene.
Health promotion is, of course, also a profound concern for policy-makers. Un-healthy individuals and populations, and communities affected by deep social and health inequity, drive many policy agendas. How these agendas are shaped and sustained at every level, publicly and privately, in board rooms and at kitchen tables, is an important question. Who benefits, how and when, from these policies?
IUHPE 2022 invites anyone on the spectrum of the (health) policy process to join us. Practitioner as well as academic health promoters create, and are influenced by, policy. Agenda-setters like communities and social movements, agenda-shapers like media and policy advisers, policy adopters in local governments or global institutions, and policy implementers in community roles: IUHPE 2022 is your conference.
Our hybrid meeting will be a platform for scholars, activists, professionals and communities from the health, social and political fields to examine important and timely issues. The Scientific Committees (both national Canadian and Global) are framing and scoping an exciting programme based on the policy state of the world in health, well-being and equity. In tune with Promoting policies for health, well-being and equity, we will spend the days of our on-site and on-air conference to appreciate and frame opportunities to challenge conventional wisdom. We hope to lay a foundation for better and fairer systems responses to old, recurrent, and new issues in the broad health and well-being space. Our Scientific Committees see three areas of debate and opportunity for health promotion to grow:
Breaking news – consider the promise and opportunities of disruptions and tipping points, whether it is in pandemic health challenges (and particularly ‘syndemics’, such as the one between COVID-19, non-communicable disease and inequitably affected populations), climate change and ecological disruption, geopolitical shifts, social unrest and technological promise.
Breaking free – from world-views that favour only market solutions, classical divides between North and South, toward emancipatory decolonising practices, policies and knowledge systems. Building on health promotion legacies in health equity and Indigenous health, in IUHPE and beyond, we can see better futures.
Breaking through – disciplines, silos, boundaries and identities that are engrained in our practices and understandings. We seek innovation. From embracing ‘pracademics’ and ‘boundary spanners’ to inspiring activist entrepreneurs – our meeting is a platform for you.
Montreal is one of the world’s centres for social, cultural and technological innovation in social media and artificial intelligence. We will take advantage of its reputation in this area by acknowledging and building on moral guidance in digital governance. As a hybrid conference, we have an opportunity to be more inclusive than ever and allow activists and practical health promoters from around the world to participate, engage, and shape policy agendas while respecting their carbon footprint.
We have started to enlist keynote speakers, organisations and events from an enormous range of global and local fields to shape a challenging and rewarding meeting in Montreal. The true richness however will come from the conference participants – get ready to register and submit your work; sign up to our newsletter!
Read more on the conference themes in this commentary:
“Dismantling the status quo: promoting policies for health, well-being and equity: an IUHPE2022 prelude”, by Brittany Wenniserí:iostha Jock, Carole Clavier, Evelyne de Leeuw and Katherine L. Frohlich, on behalf of the IUHPE2022 Global Scientific Committee and Canada National Scientific Committee, Global Health Promotion, June 2021.