What is the mandate of public health professionals in practice? making our mark for the public’s health
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World Health Organisation, Geneva Switzerland
UCL Institute of Health Equity, United Kingdom
University of Groningen Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A2077
In a world in turmoil, with ongoing challenges for the public’s and the planet’s health, it is crucial for public health professionals to reflect on who they are, on their profession’s moral mandates, and to clearly assess and understand the reality of the public health challenges in these times. This is essential if we are to be, and feel, empowered to lead and support actions to promote and protect the public’s health. The climate emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic, the growing spread of NCDs, and other public health challenges have demonstrated the importance of public health and a professional workforce and systems to protect and promote the health of people and the planet. There are wide variations in understandings of what public health is, how it finds its mandate, and what then the role of public health professionals can and should be. Is public health just science, or does it have a mandate around social reform? If and how should we be advocates for health and social justice? There have been challenges to public health leadership to “regain courage and purpose” and “wider ambitions”, that “the field’s future lies in reclaiming parts of the past that it willingly abandoned”, and the need for “thinking anew on the paradigms of health, harm and disease”, be “the science of social justice” and sow new seeds which are necessary now to deal with the problems that define the public’s health. The purpose of the session is to bring together public health leaders and thinkers to reflect and consult on these critical questions from different perspectives, with a particular focus on the Climate Emergency as a case study. This will include Dr Maria Neira, Director of the Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health Department of the World Health Organization, Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, Professor Toebes, senior legal scholar on global health law, Dr Emma Rawson Te-Patu, the first Indigenous President Elect of the World Federation of Public Health Association, Professor John Coggon, distinguished public health ethico-legal scholar, and Dr Omnia El Omrani, the CoP 27 Presidential youth envoy. The dialogue will be facilitated by Farhang Tahzib. Aims * To examine the diversity in understandings of the mandates of public health and their implications for practice * To consider the Climate Emergency, and the roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for public health practitioners * Consider ethico-legal perspectives and insights from indigenous knowledge systems to inform the dialogue Key questions * What is public health and the role of public health professionals? Is public health just science? If and how should public health practitioners ‘be political’, ‘be advocates’ and engage with political processes and social reform? * How do different world views inform and impact practice? * Why is public health “a global thing” and what are the implications for the “organised efforts of society”? * In light of the above considerations, the dialogue will explore the question around the role of public health professionals in tackling the Climate Emergency as the case study