The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) promotes cooperation for public health between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by strengthening public health intelligence; building public health capacity; policy and programme development and evaluation.
IPH works with a range of partners to bring people and organisations from across the island together to promote collective action for sustained improvements in health. Tackling inequalities in health across the island of Ireland is a focus for all our work. IPH has produced over 60 publications, held over 40 conferences and workshops and responded to relevant policy consultations.
By Arlene McKay
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How do you work on national/regional levels?
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) promotes cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in public health research, information, capacity building and policy development. IPH was set up by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (Northern Ireland) and the Department of Health and Children (Republic of Ireland) and supports them and their agencies to achieve practical health benefits for people in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Our work focuses on addressing the social determinants of health and tackling health inequalities, through evidence-based public health policy and practice. Current priorities include strengthening prevention; giving every child the best start in life; mental health and wellbeing; developing healthy and sustainable communities; and promoting health intelligence. IPH supports inter-sectoral and partnership working as an effective way of addressing public health issues and tackling health inequalities across the island of Ireland. We work directly with government departments, supporting them in the development of evidence-based equitable and patient-centred health policy. Through our responses to policy consultations, we present evidence-based recommendations and develop position and briefing papers on public health priorities which are both strategic and policy relevant in their approach. We seek to maximise opportunities for North/South cooperation and harmonized, cost-effective policy making and implementation on public health priorities.
Why did you decide to become a Member of EurohealthNet?
Diseases do not respect national borders. Across the island of Ireland and Europe there are high levels of preventable chronic conditions such as obesity which need coordinated action and partnership working. IPH recognises the important role the European Union (EU) plays in influencing the health of those living on the island, North and South and the wider European Community. The EU has significant influence in policy sectors such as agriculture, trade and employment, whose actions have important implications for public health. The EU can help us direct community action towards prevention by promoting research into the causes of disease as well as health information and education. Our MEPs can influence action on public health risks such as diabetes and road accidents; and take measures to improve and strengthen EU health information to improve decision-making on health across the EU.
What is your vision (ideal scenario) for public health and health promotion in the EU? How can EurohealthNet contribute to achieving this?
IPH believe our membership of Eurohealthnet gives us a stronger collective voice for public health in Europe. We hope to continue to work to ensure all EU policies protect the health of all including the most vulnerable in society and continued integration of health into all EU policies including transport and agriculture.