Annual Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway to Focus on Health and Wellbeing

Jun 11 2020 Posted: 15:12 IST

NUI Galway will host the 24th Annual Health Promotion Conference online on Thursday, 18 June, with this year’s theme being ‘Promoting Health and Wellbeing: Creating a more equitable and sustainable environment’. The conference is hosted by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway in collaboration with the World Health Organisation; Department of Health; the Health Service Executive; and the Association of Health Promotion Ireland.

The virtual conference aims to promote exchange of ideas on research, policy and practice, as well as to act as a networking platform to promote future development of collaborative partnerships in the field of health, wellbeing and sustainability. Transitioning to an online conference complements the conference sustainability theme, decreasing collective consumption while maintaining a sense of open discourse and providing networking opportunities.

The conference will bring together leading academics, researchers, practitioners and policymakers to present theoretically informed, empirical research and perspectives on health and wellbeing, sustainability, climate adaptation, livable healthy space and place, and equitable governance structures including:

  • Dr Faten Ben Abdelaziz, Head of Enhanced Wellbeing Unit, Division of UHC/Healthier Populations at WHO-HQ Geneva
  • Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, National Director, Strategic Planning and Transformation, HSE
  • Kate O'Flaherty, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Department of Health
  • Professor Sharon Friel, Australian National University, Australia
  • Dr Trevor Hancock, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Professor Anna Davies, Trinity College Dublin
  • Matthias Braubach, European Centre for Environment and Health, WHO Regional Office for Europe

The conference programme comprises a mix of plenary lectures, paper and poster presentations, interactive paper discussion sessions, and (Live interactive) panel discussions from leading academics, researchers and practitioners alike.

Professor Sharon Friel will be discussing ‘Extinction thwarted: surviving global warming’ and said: “Climate change threatens humanity and the planet on which we live. Social inequities, including startling variance in the health outcomes that different population groups enjoy, also pose a threat to humanity, although less directly. Humanity can and must act to prevent catastrophic climate change and redress egregious global health inequities. With a focus on disrupting the existing ‘consumptagenic system’, there are necessary steps we must take to move from inertia towards effective and equitable climate change adaptation and mitigation through progressive public policy, sustainable business models and effective social mobilisation.”

Dr Trevor Hancock will present his paper on ‘Gaia: The ultimate setting for health promotion’ and said: “The ultimate determinant of our health is Gaia - the living Earth - from whence comes all our basic needs; oxygen, water, food, materials, fuels and many other life-supporting services. We cannot be healthy if we harm the health of the Earth. So we have to rapidly transform our society, economy and way of life to one that is compatible with living well within the limits of this one planet that is our only home.

Professor Anna Davies will discuss ‘Food Sharing: Contributions to Health, Wellbeing and Sustainability’ and  Matthias Braubach will present on ‘Environmental health inequalities across Europe: evidence for action’.

This event provides a platform for exchange of ideas for research, policy and practice developments in health promotion and sustainability. It also provides the opportunity to explore how issues of health, equity and sustainability can be encouraged, measured and governed at different scales.

Dr Mary Jo Lavelle, Director of Outreach Programmes at the Discipline of Health Promotion at NUI Galway and Conference Co-Chair, said: “As the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic, our 24th Health Promotion conference focus provides a timely platform for connecting health, environmental sustainability and equity research in an increasingly globalised world. The conference theme reflects on the challenges required to create a transition towards a more equitable and sustainable environment to promote health and wellbeing. Humanity’s global consumption demands are causing irreversible impacts on global ecosystems and the Earth’s bio-capacity. Ecological issues (such as climatic change, ocean acidification, land degradation, water scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, and biodiversity loss) represent serious threats to human health. So too, does the future projected growth in urban environments and their impact on health outcomes through reduced air pollution and provision of green space as well as the magnitude of urban heat islands. Consequences of anthropogenic environmental change and degradation to the structure and function of the Earth’s natural systems represent a growing threat to human health and wellbeing that need to be considered if we are to promote and protect the future health and wellbeing of our population and planet. Promoting positive health and wellbeing cannot be achieved without an understanding of the need to conserve planetary biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as the need to transition towards more sustainable forms of consumption practices.”

The conference is relevant to practitioners, researchers and policymakers alike. Registration details for attending this online event at For further information on the conference, including latest news, updates and publications, please visit the

For further enquiries contact NUI Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre at or Dr Mary Jo Lavelle at


Marketing and Communications Office


Featured Stories