This fourth edition of the EuroHealthNet online magazine reflects a wide variety of health promoting approaches, policies, events, research and developments by EuroHealthNet and its members and partners. It is encouraging to see that in many places across Europe, there are committed professionals working and thinking innovatively about how to improve the health of people in their countries.
Take for example the region Västra Götaland in Sweden. They are one of the few regions in Europe that took a comprehensive approach to developing their health equity strategy, involving many different organisations, politicians and the public. They are engaging people in developing a ‘sustainable society’ and improving health and quality of life of the population in their region.
Then, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim is tackling societal challenges by applying an inter- and multi-disciplinary approach, in which social sciences play a prominent role. They show how research and health improvement at the local level can make a difference to the people living there.
Moving south in Europe, a highly committed team from the Lisbon University Institute ISCTE-IUL is in particular looking into new psychosocial, cultural sensitive and ecological approaches to improve health and wellbeing. They are also in charge of evaluating the National Programme for the Health of Older People in Portugal.
There is much happening across Europe and EuroHealthNet is privileged to be able to network these regional and national health agencies and research institutions. In order to facilitate the exchange of learning among the partnership and to link these to EU policy processes such as the EU Semester, we organize study visits as part of Health Promotion Europe (HPE). A report of two study visits that took place this autumn can be found in this magazine. EuroHealthNet partners and members also engaged in EU policy related events, such as the EU Poverty Convention and the European Health Forum Gastein. Three EuroHealthNet colleagues enjoyed EHFG as ‘young gasteiners’ . Read about the personal experiences of this new generation of health advocates! This edition of the magazine also includes information abou the upcoming DRIVERS for Health Equity Policy Debate in the European Parliament, which will take place on the 3rd of February 2015.
Last, but not least, we report on important EU matters such as the new College of Commissioners and EP committees and the increased focus on Health System Performance Assessments. How can and should we get engaged and use these EU mechanisms to improve health and health equity in Europe?
Please read the articles in this online magazine; we are already collecting new ones for the next edition. We go onwards and upwards!
Caroline Costongs is Director of EuroHealthNet.