Conference 2020 header‌‌All of our presenters were asked to give their approval for their presentations to be available online after the event. Those oral, poster presentations and webinars which have their author/panellist approval are available on the conference web channel.

In association with our partners, Healthy Ireland, the Health Service Executive and the Association for Health Promotion Ireland, we were delighted to invite our 294 delegates, from across 15 countries, to our 24th Annual Health Promotion Conference on June 18th 2020. This year’s focus was on promoting health and wellbeing in order to create a more equitable and sustainable environment. This important focus incorporated concepts on ecological determinants of health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability and social justice and equity.

In response to the risks and travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic we took the opportunity to transition to a fully digital conference format. This complemented the conference sustainability theme through the decrease in collective consumption while maintaining a sense of open discourse and networking opportunities. 

Humanity’s global consumption demands are increasingly dramatically and are causing irreversible impacts on global ecosystems and the Earth’s bio-capacity. Experts now agree that ecological issues such as climatic change, ocean acidification, land degradation, water scarcity, overexploitation of fisheries, and biodiversity loss represent serious threats to human health. The significance of such environmental change and degradation are likely to become increasingly important in the future with growth in urban populations and the impact of urban environments on health (e.g. reduced air pollution, provision of green space, and urban planning to prevent sprawl and decrease the magnitude of urban heat islands). Many believe that 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 toward more sustainable forms of consumption practices. Hence, the 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.

Acknowledging these challenges and issues, the 24th Health Promotion conference provided a platform for connecting health, environmental sustainability and social justice research in an increasingly urbanised world. The conference aimed to reflect on the challenges required to create a transition towards a more equitable and sustainable environment to promote health and wellbeing’.

As the world faces the Covid-19 pandemic, our conference themes on ecological determinants of health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability and social justice and equity are of the upmost importance for global health and wellbeing and the need for research to inform policy and action. We thereby invited researchers, practitioners and policymakers involved in areas of work related to the ecological determinants of health and wellbeing, sustainability and social justice and equity to join us on 18th June to explore these themes and issues further.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Health Service Executive, Department of Health and the Association for Health Promotion Ireland for their contribution to this year’s event and the funding provided by NUI Galway to celebrate Galway’s designation as European Capital of Culture.

To access the full day’s programme, biographies of keynotes and contributors and all the paper abstracts please view the Conference Booklet 2020 to view the presentations please visit the conference web channel.

Yours sincerely,
Drs Mary Jo Lavelle and Lisa Pursell
Co-Chairs, 2020 Health Promotion Conference Committee.