City Health International

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Welcome to my initial blog for City Health International. My intention over the coming months is to look at developments in research, politics and the media through the prism of urban health and what it may mean for the City Health community (so pretty much anyone reading this). While my background is in national and regional policy work around substance misuse, with a more recent interest in crime and anti-social behaviour issues, I will be looking at a much broader range of topics. Before we embark on that though I shall briefly explain how I got involved with the phenomenon that is City Health and how that helped extend my horizons beyond alcohol and drugs.

In many ways I blame the Olympics, as much, if not more, than Professor Gerry Stimson and Paddy Costall. If London hadn’t been the host City in 2012 I would not have been so enthusiastic about hosting the first City Health International (CHI) conference. While I enjoy welcoming people to London and showing off the medieval Guildhall. Over the previous years I had run at least 20 major events looking at differing aspects of drug and alcohol use. Anyone who has organised a major event will be aware of the amount of work and stress involved.

In general, the drug and alcohol field tend to gather in groups of like- minded individuals with similar interests and experiences. It can be comforting, but is rarely challenging, and often the time and resource involved seems poorly rewarded in terms of impact. But it is safe. Other sectors follow this pattern.

The concept for City Health was clearly something a bit different, a bit less safe, a little more risky. It also had a real appeal, presenting an opportunity to break down the rigid, yet comfortable, silos we tend to inhabit. The timing also felt right, with a tangible interest in learning from other cities. The time seemed ripe for fresh thinking and approaches that considered problems and responses in context, not isolation. Fortunately, my fears were not realised. We had two days of outstanding presentations with their quality being matched by the breadth of subjects covered and the global perspectives provided. Yet all held together by common threads of the role of urban centres in helping improve health for citizens, often with a focus on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Relief was matched by excitement, it all felt much more vibrant than the average conference, not just a one off or the annual gathering of a professional group, all affirming how right they were. It was quickly apparent that City Health was going to have to carry on. There was an appetite for this type of event, that could provide a focus for a variety of backgrounds, disciplines and experiences to come together to present, discuss and most certainly, on occasion, to argue.

Six conferences on and with the next event being held in Odessa (13-14 September) there remains a huge reservoir of energy and learning to tap into and share. It would be wonderful if you were able to participate in City Health 2018 (all those who attend are participants – City Health doesn’t do passive attendance!) but I would also invite you to contribute to this blog. City Health International is not a series of one off events but a year-round global community of interested individuals united behind a common interest to improve health.  I look forward to sharing my thoughts and observations in the coming weeks and months.

David MacKintosh

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
The confidence we have in our health systems is at the core of how we use and, hopefully benefit, from them. If we lack confidence in the benefits of going to see our GP for a health check, seeing a nurse about a travel vaccination or asking advice from the local pharmacist why would we bother? In terms of dealing with drug and alcohol problems the importance of a positive therapeutic relationship or alliance is recognised not just as being a pleasant “extra” but being central to aiding recovery. It has an important role across all fields of treatment. There are also benefits where a society has faith and confidence in those that oversee and provide healthcare systems and treatments at a population level. By and large, despite many complaints and challenges, the National Health Service in the UK remains a highly valued and trusted part of our society. And rightly so. But that doesn’t mean we should shy away from acknowledging where things have gone horribly wrong.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
In England, the Easter public holidays see many of us get a four-day weekend. Schools are on holiday, roads are jammed, airports overflowing and much of the country indulges in chocolate, either in the form of eggs or bunnies. This year we also enjoyed some great weather. Fortunately, May looms, which brings another two holidays for us to recover from previous holiday excesses/hard work (delete as appropriate).
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Let me start with a big thank you to Liverpool, and especially the team from John Moores University, for another outstanding City Health conference. The impressive surroundings of Liverpool Medical Institute- a monument to the 19 th century’s commitment to science as well as its obsession with ancient Greece- proved to be an ideal venue. It contains a wonderful historic library, a selection of surgical and medical tools that bring a tear to the eye, and portraits of those who have contributed to the development of public health and modern health care, including some rather fearsome looking characters.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Welcome to my initial blog for City Health International. My intention over the coming months is to look at developments in research, politics and the media through the prism of urban health and what it may mean for the City Health community (so pretty much anyone reading this). While my background is in national and regional policy work around substance misuse, with a more recent interest in crime and anti-social behaviour issues, I will be looking at a much broader range of topics. Before we embark on that though I shall briefly explain how I got involved with the phenomenon that is City Health and how that helped extend my horizons beyond alcohol and drugs.

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CITY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL EVENTS

CHI Melbourne 2019

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CHI Liverpool 2019

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CHI Odessa 2018

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CHI Basel 2017

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CHI London 2016

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CHI Barcelona 2015

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CHI Amsterdam 2014

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CHI Glasgow 2013

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CHI London 2012

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City Health International
Founded in 2012 City Health International is a network of individuals and organisations engaged in the study of and response to structural health issues and health behaviours in the urban environment.
For the first time in history the majority of the world’s population now live in urban environments and the proportion continues to grow. As national governments struggle to deal with the pressures and demands of growing urban populations against a backdrop of financial deficits and uncertainty, it is increasingly left to those working at a city level to provide the leadership and support needed to tackle key health issues.