by Tobias Gerber, Media and Communication Manager, World Health Summit
Unhealthy lifestyles are a main cause of new epidemics like non-communicable diseases (NCDs), conditions of global concern like obesity, diabetes, and mental illness. Greater awareness of the global economic risks and human suffering related to the epidemiological transition, as well as sustainable solutions for healthcare systems to meet the challenge of non-communicable diseases and conditions are urgently needed.
To mirror the disturbing developments, the World Health Summit chose the motto “Research for Health and Sustainable Development” for its 2012 edition and puts a focus on NCDs. From October 21st – 24th, researchers, physicians, leading government officials and representatives from the industry as well as from non-governmental organizations and health care systems worldwide will address the most pressing issues facing medicine and health care systems over the next decade and beyond.
Fruitful discussions and open words can be expected as high profile speakers like Josef Ackermann, Peter Agre, Daniel Bahr, Gerd Binnig, Laurie Garrett, Richard Horton, Zsuzsanna Jakab, Judith Mackay, Sir Michael Marmot and many more will voice their expert opinion. A quote from Peter Piot, one the WHS Keynote Speakers, may work as appetizer:
“With increasing urbanisation and an ageing population, we are experiencing a tsunami – the emergence of a massive global epidemic of cancers, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. (…) Diseases respect no borders, and neither nations nor people can isolate themselves.”
In order to address these topics adequately, the program has been structured in five major topics:
- Diseases of Modern Environments
- Translating Research into Policy
- Health and Economy
- Educating Health Professionals
- Information Technology for Health
The World Health Summit offers a unique setting for discussing these challenges and formulating calls to action as the Summit is based on the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies – a global network, founded for the World Health Summit’s first edition and well established in the meantime.
The M8 Alliance’s vision is to improve global health through harnessing academic excellence. To achieve this it promotes the translation of research progress from the laboratory bench to the bedsides; the transformation of our present medical care approach of treating sick people into a true healthcare system with effective prevention of diseases; and the adaptation of health-related solutions to our rapidly changing living conditions through research in priority areas such as demographic shift, urbanization and climate.
The World Health Summit has quickly evolved to become one of the world’s foremost event of decision makers from academia, politics, industry and civil society to develop joint strategies and to take action to address key challenges in medical research, global health and healthcare delivery with the aim of shaping the political, academic and social agendas.
Today, this development encompasses an impressive Summit program, as well as a broad array of Satellite Meetings, and various means of supporting young professionals – like in the “Young Physician Leaders” program or the competitions “New Voices in Global Health” and “Next Generation of Science Journalists”.
Although the World Health Summit in Berlin is an illustrious meeting, bringing together high ranking representatives from all frontiers of health-related issues, it is open to everyone interested in the medical and health care system of today and tomorrow. Participants range from CEOs to students, from politicians to Nobel Prize Laureates. Everyone is welcome as it is about the health and future of all of us.