Martin McKee on The 8th European Public Health Conference

The 8th European Public Health (EPH) Conference will be taking place in Milan from 14-17 October and ahead of this, I asked Martin McKee more about the conference, including what it’s goals, intentions and future directions are.

Martin McKeeMartin McKee qualified in medicine in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with subsequent training in internal medicine and public health. He is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he founded the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST), a WHO Collaborating Centre.

He is also research director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and President of the European Public Health Association. He has published over 860 academic papers and 44 books.

In 2005 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He has an active following on Twitter as @martinmckee.

What are your goals for the 8th European Public Health Conference?

There are two main goals for this conference. The first of which is for everyone to go home with at least one new idea they hadn’t previously thought of.

The second is for everyone to go home with at least one new collaboration with a researcher, or a research group in another country.

What inspired this year’s theme?

The theme of the Milan conference is ‘from global to local’. It recognizes that Europe, as a discrete political entity, and the countries that comprise it, exist within a complex world.

We need to understand the influences, both good and bad, of the global forces that act upon us and develop effective responses to them, working together at a global level to promote the health of our planet and all who live on it.

What do you hope will be the key take home messages?

The public health community in Europe is strong, producing outstanding research and finding ever more ways to turn it into policy and practice. Working together we can make Europe, and the world, a better place.

Is there anything you particularly wish to highlight to the conference attendees?

I hope that those attending will return to their countries fired with enthusiasm for the European ideal.

Europe is experiencing unprecedented uncertainty. This year, two of its most iconic institutions, the Euro and the Schengen Agreement, have only just survived. In some countries, the European ideal is under attack and the concept of European solidarity is increasingly vulnerable.

I hope that those attending will return to their countries fired with enthusiasm for the European ideal, recognizing how much we can learn from each other and how we are so much stronger when we act together.

What were the Societies’ intentions when they started the conference?

Europe is a remarkable natural laboratory, with incredible diversity in risk factors, patterns of health, and policy responses. The societies that came together to found the European Public Health Association recognized the need to create a forum to learn from this diversity but also to provide a strong voice for public health at the European level where policies on many of the major determinants of health are decided.

What are your future intentions for the conference?

The theme for the 9th EPH Conference in Vienna is ‘All for Health, Health for All’. It recognizes that a healthy population is a key requirement for the achievement of societal goals, including greater quality of life, higher productivity, capacity for learning, stronger families and communities, sustainable habitats and environments, and greater security, poverty reduction and social inclusion.

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