Universities’ role in public health to be focus of Dublin forum

University leaders and health experts will review the intricacies of poor health and its ability to personally and financially cripple communities at the Times Higher Education University Impact Forum: Health and Well-being

March 12, 2020
Doctor checking health of girl
Source: iStock

Poor public health is a systematic issue that causes long-lasting damage and poor outcomes to communities and national economies. The Times Higher Education University Impact Forum: Health and Well-being, co-hosted with the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dublin, will review the intricacies of poor health and its ability to personally and financially cripple communities, particularly those vulnerable to poverty.

The event, which will take place on 7-8 July, 2021 in Dublin, will bring together university leaders and health experts from around the world to assess different methods that can be employed to not only tackle global health problems, but in turn promote sustainability and development, and the overall optimisation of physical and mental well-being.

Expanding on THE’s University Impact Rankings – the only global metrics that examine university performance against targets set by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a masterclass led by Duncan Ross, THE’s chief data officer, will focus on the SDGs pertaining to health.

Mr Ross said: “Universities have a vital role to play in delivering the agenda of SDG3 – Good Health and Well-being. They can provide access to deep research, but also act directly in their communities, acting as beacons of best practice. We hope that our Impact Rankings will continue to surface the brilliant work that higher education is doing, from across the sector and the world.”

Fergal O’Brien, director of research and innovation at RCSI, will lead a session on the role of research innovation in achieving the SDGs by enabling the dissemination of vital information, transforming the sector to fight global health risks and reduce the risk of poverty.

Discussing the positive impact of partnerships with NGOs, cooperation agencies, supranational organisations, foundations and trusts, Tom Arnold, chairman of the European Commission Task Force on Rural Africa, will demonstrate how such affiliations can accelerate progress in order to reach SDG3 by 2030.

Ciarán O’Boyle, director of the Centre for Positive Psychology and Health at RCSI, will address the need to explore beyond the realm of standard healthcare, emphasising that solely attending to physical symptoms does not equate to a cure-all, and that the biopsychosocial conceptualisation of health must be considered in order to build stronger, more resilient communities.

In a subsequent keynote, Steve Leventhal, the chief executive officer of CorStone, a US based non-profit that offers resilience training to at-risk youth in economically disadvantaged areas, will speak to the challenge of building resilience at scale.

Delivering the closing keynote, Margaret Gyapong, director of the Centre for Health Policy and Implementation Research at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, will concentrate on global collaboration and cooperation, illustrating how universities and civil society can work together.

Cathal Kelly, chief executive officer of RCSI, said: “At RCSI, we empower our graduates and our researchers to enhance human health and well-being, in Ireland and internationally.  Our research drives scientific innovations and insights that will allow us to respond to and understand changing health needs. We are proud to partner with Times Higher Education, facilitating conversations that address the social determinants of health and can lead to scalable impact and the next breakthroughs.”


Find out more information about the THE University Impact Forum: Health and Well-being, and how to register.


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