Previous Nordic Health Promotion Research Collaboration


Back in the 1980s, voices within the international public health community were asking to learn more about the role of health promotion in the Nordic welfare societies. This resulted in the 3rd Global Health Promotion Conference 1991 in Sundsvall, Sweden, focusing on creating supportive environments for health. This conference was planned and implemented by the Nordic countries under the leadership of the Ministries of Health. As an outcome of these collaborative processes, two Nordic World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centres were created: The Research Centre for Health Promotion at the University of Bergen, Norway, and The Department of Public Health Sciences, Supportive Environments for Health, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. In the further evolvement of the collaboration in Nordic health promotion research, there have been three phases of development.

During the first phase, 1996–2007, the five first Nordic health promotion research conferences were initiated and implemented by university departments of public health in the Nordic countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) collaborative centers of Health promotion at Bergen University and Karolinska Institute, mentioned above, played key roles in initiating and supporting these Nordic health promotion research conferences.

During the second phase, 2007–2014, the Nordic Health Promotion Research Network (NHPRN) was established in 2007 at the Nordic School of Public Health NHV in Gothenburg. It was then decided that NHPRN would take over the responsibility for the forth-coming  Nordic health promotion research conferences. NHV supported the network until 2014 when it was closed down. 

The third phase started after the closure of  NHV and networking activities were transferred to the premises the European Office of WHO in Copenhagen in 2015.

The Nordic Health Promotion Research Conferences have served several purposes and will continue to do so. They are important Nordic meeting places, stimulating Health promotion research, as well as explicitly managing ongoing concerns in the international health promotion community. This is reflected in the shift of foci over time. The content of the conferences has been highly responsive to whatever challenges are particularly relevant at different points in time, while also contributing to developing Health Promotion as a discipline, given that every conference has built on the previous ones.

Further Reading

Haglund BJA, Tillgren P. Milestones in Health Promotion Research. Scand J Public Health 2018 Mar;46(Suppl 20):7-19

Ringsberg, Karin C. The Nordic Health Promotion Research Network (NHPRN). Scand J Public Health. 2015 Aug;43(Suppl 16):51-56.

Haglund, Bo J.A.; Fosse, Elisabeth. Nordiska konferenser i hälsofrämjande forskning. Rapport från den 7th Nordic Health Promotion Conference (NHPRC), Vestfold University College 17-19 June, 2013. Smt Socialmedicinsk tidskrift 2013; 90(4): 630-5  

Editorials in supplements from the latest Conferences

Liveng A, Thualagant N, Kostenius C, Kokko S. Addressing Sustainable Health Promotion in Theory and Practice – Nordic Contexts – Nordic Perspectives. Smt Socialmedicinsk tidskrift 2020;97(3):364-372.

Kokko S, Liveng A, Torp S. 20 years of health promotion research in the Nordic countries: Health, wellbeing and physical activity. Scand J of Public Health. 2018 Mar;46(2Suppl 20):3-6. doi:10.1177/1403494817751041

Torp S, Kokko S, Ringsberg KC. Promoting health in everyday settings: Opportunities and challenges. Scand J Public Health. 2014 Nov;42(Suppl 15):3-6. doi:10.1177/1403494814553546

Ringsberg, KC, Borup, IK. The role of health promotion in the transition of the Nordic welfare states. Scand J Public Health 2011 Mar;39(6): 4–5, https://doi:10.1177/1403494810395841

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