Review: The HLCA-Consortium at the 10th European Public Health Conference

Several researchers from the HLCA consortium attended the 10th European Public Health Conference (EPHC) from 1st – 4th November 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. During the conference, the HLCA members organised several events and presented selected research results.The EHPC conference theme “Sustainable, resilient and healthy communities” brought together representatives from around the world. In addition to presenting its own scientific findings, the HLCA Consortium has organized a pre-conference and various workshops with the Health Promotion Section (HPS) of the European Association for Public Health (EUPHA). Emphasis was put on empirical research results, but also theoretical perspectives and practical effects on research, politics and practice were presented and discussed.

© 10th European Public Health Conference 2017


Summer School on Health Literacy: Researchers and young scientists from all over the world in Bielefeld

From the 18th to 22th of September 2017 the 2nd HLCA-Summer School on Health Literacy: Research, Policy and Advocacy took place at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld in Germany.
Young researchers from around the world and renowned international researchers from the Topic Health Literacy came together for working on Health Literacy.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld

Directed by Dr. Kristine Sørensen (The Netherlands), Prof. Dr. Diane Levin-Zamir (Israel) and Prof. Dr. Luis Saboga-Nunes (Portugal) 37 students from 14 countries found their way to Bielefeld.
– research planning and possible research methods,
– the potential and challenges of health literacy with regard to children and adolescents,
– the consideration of specific cases in clinical contexts and
– the participation of patients and other vulnerable groups in the research process have been discussed.
Afterwards, the young scientists have developed exciting and relevant research projects and presented and discussed them in the plenum.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld
Further, the practical work of policy-makers was assessed by analyzing and evaluating political action plans on health literacy and other political documents. At the end of the week, necessary soft skills for health literacy experts were tested with the experienced health and health literacy expert Barbara Kondilis from Hellenic University in Greece.
In addition, Prof. Dr. Peter Goldblatt from the Institute of Health Equity at University College London (UK) on Health Equality and Justice related to Health Literacy.
As President of the EUPHA – Health Promotion Section, Luis Saboga-Nunes gave input into the field of health promotion, prevention of tobacco consumption and evidence-based insights into salutogenesis. Stefanie Harsch (Germany) presented first research results from a Health Literacy Study in Afganistan.
Kristine Sørensen has held the closing presentation on health competences and closed with Prof. Dr. Ullrich BauerDr. Paulo Pinheiro and Orkan Okan the 2. Health Literacy Summer School 2017.
According to the young scientists, the international atmosphere and group dynamics were outstanding. The flat hierarchy between teachers and students had also been decisive. As a very enriching participant, the participants have taken note of the controversies with health literacy projects taking place all over the world and, above all, highlighted the possibility of dealing with the research methods.

© Orkan Okan, University of Bielefeld


REPORT: HLCA at the 22nd International Union of Health Promotion and Education World Conference on Health Promotion in Curitiba, Brazil

Health literacy researchers, Janine Bröder and Orkan Okan have attended the 22nd International Union of Health Promotion and Education World Conference on Health Promotion. They presented two posters, one oral presentation, and organized a symposium on child and youth health literacy with international partners from Denmark, Canada, and Portugal. Janine, participated in a health literacy discussion group on building capacity and sharing knowledge in health literacy, and Orkan led, together with Evelyn McElhinney from Scotland, a discussion group on health literacy across the life span. Further, with partners from Portugal another presentation within a discussion circle was accepted on adolescent’s concept of health literacy.

Additionally, they participated in three pre-conferences on health literacy. The first pre-conference they attended was the preconference on “Taking the Global Health Literacy Agenda into Portuguese speaking communities” organized by Luis Saboga-Nunes, advisor to the HLCA research consortium, together with the South American health literacy group. Kristine Sørensen and Diane Levin-Zamir gave short introductions to past health literacy research in Europe. In the “Diabetes Literacy: Integrating Health Literacy and Health Systems Change In Diabetes Self-Management Education” pre-conference, Stephan van den Broucke reported on the results and experiences his group made during their research. The last pre-conference was implemented as a workshop on health literacy organized by the Global Working Group on Health Litercay (IUHPE GWG-HL) titled “Taking the Global Health Literacy Agenda Forward for Health Promotion – From Position Paper to Action.” The aim of this pre-conference was to improve the working group’s collaboration among the members, to introduce health literacy activities around the world the members are engaged with, and to develop contents for the GWG-HL position paper by discussion groups on:

  • Identifying and engaging relevant stakeholders for collaborative health literacy action, research and policy
  • Health literacy as a community-based consumer education and empowerment process
  • Funding, producing and promoting research to contribute to the evidence base
  • Building capacity and sharing knowledge
  • Ensuring the inclusion of health literacy in global, national and regional discussions on health promotion and social determinants of health
  • Health literacy across the life span.

The IUHPE conference was rich on health literacy presentations. There have been two poster walks, several further poster presentations in physical and digital formats, sessions on community approaches to health literacy, on the health literacy toolkit, on workforce capacity development for improving professional health literacy skills and needs, two sub plenaries on health literacy in policies, and improving health literacy across low-, middle- and high-income countries, a conversation circle towards an international perspective on health literacy, and a lot more presentations, discussions, posters, and cross referencing to health literacy all across the conference. Unfortunately not all health literacy activities could be attended as there were some conflicting schedules.

Summarizing the conference towards health literacy, we understand that health literacy is given high priority in the global setting not only at IUHPE but at WHO, UN, and further NGO and governmental organisations and health promotion activities across the countries. While in the conference opening session the importance of children to processes of health promotion and for sustainably improving health equity was highlighted prominently, during the closing session of the conference, health literacy received a prominent place in the conference summary. It can be expected that health literacy will be a priority area again at the 23th IUHPE conference 2019 in New Zealand.

UPCOMING: EUHPA Pre-Conference

Various members of the HLCA-consortium will participate at the 9th European Public Health Conference “All for Health – Health for All” , November 9–12, 2016 in Vienna, Austria. The EUPHA Section on Health promotion will organize a pre-conference on the topic of Operationalizing health promotion on the life course through the health literacy approach: where we stand 30 years after Ottawa? The pre-conference will be organized by members of the HLCA consortium and  memebres of its Advisory Board:

  • Luis Saboga-Nunes and Christiane Stock – EUPHA Section on Health promotion
  • Ullrich Bauer, Paulo Pinheiro, Orkan Okan – Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence Research Consortium (HLCA) und
  • Kristine Sørensen, health consultant and founder of Global Health Literacy Academy

REPORT: Workshop at the END 2015 International Conference on Education and New Developments, Porto

Bielefeld team from the HLCA Consortium has organised a workshop at the END 2015 International Conference on Education and New Developments

The HLCA partners from Bielefeld University, Paulo Pinheiro, Ullrich Bauer and Ester Lopes, organised together with their Portuguese partners Luís Saboga-Nunes from the National School of Public Health Lisbon and Agar Almeida from the University of Aveiro a one-hour workshop on health literacy at the END 2015 International Conference on Education and New Developments on June 27. The workshops main objective was to discuss the impact of schools and teachers on the promotion of mental health and well-being of their pupils. For further information see the workshop outline

Additionally, the Bielefeld team participated as co-author in a presentation of Luís Saboga-Nunes, who presented first results from a Portuguese survey on health literacy in adolescents in the context of a Legionella outbreak.

The following articles will be available in the conference proceedings:

  • Pinheiro P, Almeida A, Okan O, Bruland D, Pereira A, Saboga Nunes L, Lopes E, Bauer U; Children at risk for mental disorders and the impact of teachers on child mental health promotion. In: Carmo M (ed) (2015). Proceedings. END 2015. International Conference on Education and New Developments. 27–29 June 2015. Porto, Portugal. Published by: W.I.A.R.S, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 627–629. pdf
  • Saboga-Nunes L, Cavalheiro G, Correira S, Santos a; Pinheiro P, Bauer, U, Okan O; Adolescents health literacy as a buffer in a crises context of legionella outbreak in Portugal (CRADLISA Project HLS-EU-PT). In: Carmo M (ed) (2015). Proceedings. END 2015. International Conference on Education and New Developments. 27–29 June 2015. Porto, Portugal. Published by: W.I.A.R.S, Lisbon, Portugal, pp.184–188.