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Global Health Histories Seminars: 2013’s Topics Unveiled

Posted on 5 February 2013

The popular Global Health Histories seminar series returns in 2013 with its mission to show how understanding the history of health can help the global public health community respond to the challenges of today

The Global Health Histories seminar series returns to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Geneva Headquarters in February after 2013’s opening event at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in January. The series is a collaboration between the World Health Organization Department of Knowledge Management and Sharing and the Centre for Global Health Histories (CGHH) at the University of York, generously funded by the Wellcome Trust. The series brings together researchers and policy makers with the goal to ‘demonstrate how understanding the history of health, especially during the last 60 years, helps the global public health community to respond to the challenges of today and help shape a healthier future for everyone, especially those most in need’. The 2013 series, which features speakers from around the world, covers diverse topics of global public health importance.

Global Health Histories Banner 2013

January 2013 marked a major expansion of the Global Health Histories initiative; it was the first time that a seminar was held at a WHO Regional Office.  January’s seminar at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen focussed on the subject of antimicrobial resistance. The effectiveness of antibiotics is becoming increasingly undermined because they are often used incorrectly, and this seminar followed the story of antibiotic resistance since the Second World War and the WHO’s renewed efforts in the field of resistance in the present day. This well-attended seminar was very timely. Shortly after the event antimicrobial resistance received widespread coverage in the press and online. Danilo Lo Fo Wong, Senior Adviser on Antimicrobial Resistance at the WHO Regional Office for Europe and speaker at January's seminar told the Guardian for example, "We are increasingly seeing infections that do not respond to these drugs, and the more treatments fail, the more people die." (More information on this seminar and the expansion of the series is available on CGHH’s news page).

2013’s Geneva seminars will continue this excellent start, covering topics including Traditional Chinese Medicine, international trade, NGO contribution to public health and digital communication and health (see banner image above). This year also features several University of York academics as part of the series. Professor Richard Grimes, York Law School, will present at the Health Law seminar on 19th June and in the next seminar on 2nd October Dr. Neil Lunt, The Department of Social Policy and Social Work, will speak on the subject of Medical Tourism. All seminars are broadcast live over the internet via webinar (details on registration below) to help as many as possible to benefit from these interesting and important discussions.

Established in late 2004, the series has grown and evolved and to date there have been over sixty seminars, each of which has examined important and pressing subjects in global health. A large proportion of these seminars have been archived on the WHO and CGHH webpages, with audio of the event available in most cases.

A report on 2012’s seminars, by Dr Alexander Medcalf of the Centre for Global Health Histories, is available via the WHO’s Global Health Histories webpage.

Details of upcoming seminars in the series can be found on CGHH's events page.

The 2013 series is supported by the University of York’s Department of History and the Wellcome Trust. All seminars are held in the WHO library from 12:30 – 14:00 (Central European Time) and are broadcast via webinar. To register, send an email to and be added to the GHH mailing list.