The EHFF managed project CEMPaC (see website: www.cempac.org) presented a pre-conference workshop on Wednesday 13th, hosted by Jim Phillips and Jeni Bremner, co-Directors of this European Patient Empowerment initiative on ‘Collective Health Literacy- Empowering communities to become health Literate’. It was well attended and there was good interaction between the participants.
The following summary of the event which was attended both by David Somekh for EHFF and Lars Munter for DCHE and EHFF, has been provided by Kristine Sorenson’s Global health Literacy Academy.
|It became clear during the 4th European Health Literacy Conference in Dublin this week that a whole-of-society approach is necessary for advancing health literacy in Europe.
The 4th European Health Literacy Conference was hosted by Health Literacy Europe and University College Dublin on March 14-15, 2019 at the UCD Belfield campus. The programme focused on how to advance research, policy and practice regarding people’s capacity to access, understand, appraise and apply health information to improve their health and quality of life. In addition, the role of health systems was highlighted in the quest of reducing inequality in health within societies.
215 delegates from 33 countries across the world joined the discussions including representatives from the World Health Organisation and the OECD. The European Health Literacy Conference serves as a platform for the European health literacy community of researchers, decision-makers and practitioners to discuss and develop solutions and ideas for the improvement of individual and societal aspects of health literacy in relation to e.g. children and adolescents, digital health, migration, self-management, and policy development.
Director Claudia Stein from the World Health Organization highlighted the importance of health literacy: “Health literacy – whether in populations or organizations – is not just nice to have. It is a ‘must-have’, and we ‘must-invest’ in enhancing it. We have seen how low levels of health literacy have contributed to decreasing rates of immunization and the tragedy of measles deaths in Europe. Health literacy can save lives.”
Health Literacy Europe is a network for professionals working on health literacy in Europe and it is the fourth conference organized for the growing European health literacy community. “In an decade, health literacy has been manifested on the European health agenda. In spite of a reality where health systems are under pressure, we see a keen interest from politicians, researchers, patient advoctes, and health professionals to meet people where they are and to match their needs in an appropriate and dignified manner” said Kristine Sørensen, the Executive Chair of Health Literacy Europe and President of the International Health Association.
Professor Gerardine Doyle, Director of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, is the Conference Chair following on from her role as a principal investigator for Ireland in the award-winning European Health Literacy Survey and her research on sugar tax and consumer behaviour. Professor Gerardine Doyle said: “We are proud to host this conference in Ireland, joining together global experts from universities, international health organizations, and government departments. Attendees are passionate empowering a health literate society which can make informed decisions about their health and well-being, ultimately offering a better quality of life.”
Professor Stephan Van den Broucke from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium chaired the Scientific Committee of the European Health Literacy Conference. He emphasized the wealth of high-quality papers that were presented at the conference. “Research on health literacy has grown exponentially over the past decade. In the last few years, more scientific papers concerned with health literacy are published than in the entire period before 2010. This shows the interest of the scientific community to come to grips with a phenomenon that is politically and societally so relevant. And this rich development is also reflected at this European conference”.
More information about the conference: https://www.ehlc2019.com/
The European Health Literacy Conference was supported by the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA), European Health Futures Forum, Centre for Patient Empowerment and Communities, (CEmPaC), Meet in Ireland and Fáilte Ireland and sponsored by MSD, Healthy Ireland, and Mater Private.