Intended for healthcare professionals

Building Healthy Communities

In 2017 and 2018 Salzburg Global Seminar in partnership with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation convened three sessions exploring the conditions which can create and protect health and wellbeing beyond a traditional focus on health care. The three sessions covered hospitals, urban planning, and childhood obesity.

The articles in this collection reflect the wide ranging discussions by session participants from around the world, identifying challenges and opportunities for building healthier communities.

The Role of Hospitals

GDP and the economics of despair
We should switch to a measure that promotes health, not consumption, says Harry Burns

Hospitals could be anchors for an economy focused on wellbeing
Paul Simpson asks how can healthcare systems help build healthy societies beyond providing high quality medical care

Can New Zealand’s wellbeing budget help address social inequalities?
Plans for a wellbeing budget have been met with both scepticism and hope, reports Anna Matheson

Lowering hospital walls to achieve health equity
Hospitals have a pivotal role in reducing health inequities for indigenous people and other marginalised groups, argue Anna Matheson and colleagues

How healthcare can help heal communities and the planet
The gains from healthcare are often undermined by the sector’s contributions to social inequity and environmental damage, but it doesn’t have to be that way argue Damon Francis and colleagues

Inclusive Urban Development and Investment

Strengthening the links between planning and health in England
Gemma McKinnon and colleagues argue that multidisciplinary action in planning and health will contribute to more equitable communities and improved health and wellbeing

How can urban planning contribute to building health equity?
Sharon Roerty tells us more about what can be done to make cities a more healthy place to live.

Confronting power and privilege for inclusive, equitable, and healthy communities
Ascala Sisk and colleagues set out a call to interrogate power and analyse privilege to create and sustain healthy communities.

Connected green spaces in cities pay real dividends
Nick Chapman writes about the benefits of urban green spaces.

The healthcare community needs to champion healthy and sustainable urban living spaces
We need to look beyond disease and individual sector silos and take into account the potential of the social and built environment to both prevent disease, and also contribute to it, say Tolu Oni and colleagues.

Urban heat: an increasing threat to global health
Shilu Tong and colleagues describe the health consequences of extreme urban heat and the priorities for action and research to mitigate the harms.

Healthy Children, Healthy Weight

Understanding power relations is key to scaling change for healthy communities
Levelling three elements of power creates the preconditions to achieve scale for health interventions say Scott Berns and Sebabatso Manoeli.

Reducing risk of childhood obesity in the wake of covid-19
Alexandra Chung and colleagues call for governments to prioritise child obesity as they implement measures to recover from the pandemic.

This collection is a series of articles based on discussions from Salzburg Global Seminar sessions on building healthy communities. Open access fees were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The BMJ peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish the article with no involvement from the foundation.

This week's poll