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NUI Galway hosts international conference on health inequalities

Minister for State for Public Health, Wellbeing and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan T.D. has today opened the international Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway.

National and International experts are presenting on topics under the theme of this year’s event – “Health Inequality: Action for Change”.

The annual Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway is in its 26th year and is co-hosted by the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health, the Association for Health Promotion Ireland and the Institute of Public Health.

Minister Feighan addressed the conference, saying: “The annual conference provides a great opportunity for more cutting-edge health promotion research, as well as expanding links between knowledge and implementation and broadening connections between researchers, policy makers and practitioners. Ultimately in society, everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.”

The aim of the conference is to address health inequalities associated with socio-economic factors in Ireland and internationally, and the impact these factors have on life expectancy rates, mortality, chronic conditions depending on education, employment, income level, living environment and ethnicity.

The conference will hear how these factors have been exposed and amplified by the pandemic. This will be specifically addressed by Sir Michael Marmot, keynote speaker from the Institute of Health Equity in University College London.

nui galway
16/06/2020 repro free : .Photo: Andrew Downes, xposure

Professor Margaret Hodgins, Conference Co-Chair, Health Promotion Research Centre and Discipline of Health Promotion, NUI Galway, said: “This conference is bringing together the best of NUI Galway and national and international experts on health inequalities to look to highlight cutting-edge research and innovation initiatives as well as to expand links between research and action, and to broaden connections among a diverse community of researchers, policymakers and practitioners. It will provide the opportunity to discuss meaningful action for change and to learn from the experiences of international colleagues.”

The conference will focus on reframing lifestyle approaches to health improvement to ensure they are underpinned by an approach that recognises and addresses the wider determinants of health. This is consistent with the Sláintecare Healthy Communities Programme, launched by the HSE in 2021 to address health inequity, a place-based approach that aims to focus on local areas in which health and wellbeing risk factors are particularly concentrated.

International and national keynote addresses include

  • Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology at University College London since 1985, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity and advisor to the WHO Director-General on social determinants of health.
  • Professor Jane South, Professor of Healthy Communities at Leeds Beckett University, UK and the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, will explore the importance of community-centred approaches as a way of reducing health inequity.
  • Professor Jennie Popay, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Lancaster University.
  • Dr Helen McAvoy. Director of Policy, Institute of Public Health, Ireland.
  • Greg Straton. Assistant Principal Officer, Health and Wellbeing Unit, Department of Health, Ireland.

For further information on the conference and full programme details, visit:

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