GPHN: the first anniversary

This is a very special edition of the Global Public Health Network (GPHN) alert, as this week marks our first birthday! When we were making plans to build on the work of the City Health International conferences and develop a vibrant, year-round network interested in promoting evidence-based interventions, the power of partnerships and the potential of harm reduction to transform communities, we hadn’t anticipated a pandemic! Plans for conferences, seminars and publications all had to be shelved or radically adapted. But with the help of new friends and old we have made it to the end of our first year. We are incredibly grateful to you all.

While live, in-person events may not have been possible, we have developed skills and expertise in delivering on-line events. Supporting the SOLID -EXCEED seminar programme and helping with a number of conferences helped us expand our network and allowed us to develop. City Health International always sought to make presentations available to those unable to attend the physical events, however the experience of this year means we can now allow those thousands of miles away to engage and interact with events. But we also recognise that there is an energy when people meet together, and we very much hope to be able to run a hybrid City Health International event in Warsaw this November. More information shortly. In some form or other City Health International 2021 will go ahead.

During a period of crisis, events and networking can seem far less important – day-to-day pressures certainly make it hard to look up and take interest in what is happening elsewhere, or consider the future. However, the pandemic has exposed many gaps in health systems and responses. Vulnerable individuals and communities have borne the brunt of the direct impact of COVID in terms of disease and mortality. They are also more likely to experience the worst of the emerging economic and social impacts. These issues demand a response.

GPHN doesn’t have the resources to drive all the changes needed to improve health equity and ensure systems work at a more human and compassionate scale. But we can certainly help host the debates and arguments that can. We can help provide channels and places where policy makers and service providers can share and discuss approaches which positively impact on people and health. Approaches that recognise the power of working with communities to address the complex issues they face, that try to reduce the siloed, single issue approach that reflects funding or professional structures rather than lived reality.

As you can see the pandemic hasn’t made us any less ambitious! But we are dependent on you to help us advance these aims. Over the coming years we want you to engage with GPHN, to see it as something you are a part of, a network that supports your work, which can provide a platform to trumpet your successes, share ideas, raise concerns and find friends and allies. This will require your active contributions. We are not seeking money – though if you know of any billionaires who would like to help out, but don’t have their own slanted agenda to promote, do get in touch. What we do need is for you to share information resources, reports, ideas, and achievements. A guest blog is also always welcome. If you have ideas for events, conferences or seminars (on- line, in person or a hybrid), share them with us. We can help promote them, and we now also have some first-rate technical colleagues with expertise in delivering professional and interactive events.

Whether you are a policy maker, a community activist, providing a front-line service, or engaged in university research, we want GPHN to work for you. We know that this mailing list reaches a very broad range of people and institutions. We also know that you are all committed to helping improve other people’s lives. GPHN looks forward to working more closely with you in the coming years to deliver just that.

One year in a nutshell

We delivered:

City Health 2020

Online edition of our flagship conference

Our blog

22 blog posts by David MacKintosh and guests

We supported:

Solid Project

A jointly developed research program on the influence of social work on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction with the main focus on role of NGOs

Anabolic Steroids UK

Organised by Manchester Metropolitan University, the conference aimed to reduce the harms associated with the use of AAS and associated drugs.

2nd Clean Sport Forum

The Forum brought together athletes, policy-makers and anti-doping researchers to discuss a range of issues within anti-doping, particularly around supporting athletes and promoting a clean sport environment.