IPH Newsletter (December)

IPH Newsletter

Vol 10 Issue 4 – December 2016

Welcome to the last IPH Newsletter of the year.  We’d like to wish all our readers the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

Inside this issue

Dr Elizabeth Mitchell retires

IPH Staff and Board members would like to extend their thanks to Dr Mitchell for her contribution to public health and send best wishes on her recent retirement.   Dr Mitchell continues in her role as Chair of the Belfast Food Network. Professor Roger O’Sullivan has been appointed Interim Chief Executive.

IPH Open Conference 2016 - presentations and photos available

The 5th IPH Open Conference took place on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 and highlighted how effective public health interventions make a significant positive difference to the lives of individuals and to the type of society we live in.  Dr Fiona Sim, Chair of the Royal Society of Public Health gave the keynote address on ‘The role of the arts and creativity in public health’. The conference was opened by NI Minister for Health Mrs Michelle O’Neill MLA.

Nearly 300 health professionals, policymakers and academics from across the island of Ireland attended the conference which focused on ‘Breaking down boundaries – innovation, participation and creativity in public health’.

Access IPH Open Conference presentations, tweets, photo and audio

Open Access: tackling health inequalities - presentations and photos available

IPH and Open Knowledge Ireland co-hosted an event on 25 October 2016 in Dublin as part of International Annual Open Access Week. This week provides an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of Open Access. Open Access (OA) is the immediate, freely available, online access to research outputs. These outputs include peer-reviewed journal articles, conference papers and datasets of various types. The restrictions to use, commonly imposed by publisher copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control do not apply.

Access presentations and photos

Physical activity - Ireland's Report Card for Children

Ireland’s second Physical Activity Report Card in Children and Youth was launched at the International Congress on Physical Activity in November and includes data from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. IPH was a member of the working group which produced the Report Card. The Report Card is viewed internationally as a vital tool for practitioners and policymakers to identify key needs and gaps, allocate funds and develop activity promotion initiatives. It collates available data related to children's physical activity levels and 'grades' the evidence using a grading system just like a school report card i.e. A to F or inconclusive/incomplete if there are not enough data available yet. Overall physical activity levels showed a slight improvement from D- to D since the 2014 report while schools slipped from C- to D.

Access the Report Cards

IPH launch new corporate website

The IPH corporate website was recently relaunched. Visit the website on a regular basis to stay up to date on our latest publications, news and events. We are always keen to hear your ideas and suggestions on how we can improve all our websites. If you would like to make recommendations please email James Vincent at

Access the IPH website

Loneliness & Ageing: a public health issue – seminar presentations and photos available

Chronic loneliness can have a negative impact on your health according to experts speaking at a recent seminar on loneliness and older people. The all-island event ‘Loneliness & Ageing: a public health issue’ was co-hosted by IPH and Ulster University Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing. Loneliness can affect people of any age with chronic loneliness affecting about 10% of older people. Keynote speaker Professor Brian Lawlor, Trinity College Dublin highlighted the need for loneliness to be recognised as a key public health feature. Professor Vanessa Burholt, Swansea University added that people with lots of friends can still feel lonely and those who live alone may not. Other speakers included Kellie Payne, UK Campaigning to End Loneliness, Sean Moynihan, ALONE and Siobhan Sweeyney, Public Health Agency.

Access presentations, photos and audio

Health Well facilitates Cook It!

Cook It! is a Northern Ireland Regional Nutrition Programme. An online collaborative web group to help communication and information sharing within the programme was recently launched by the IPH Health Well and the Public Health Agency.

If you would like to find out how we can provide collaborative group communication and information tools for your group or project contact the Health Well Team on

Access further information on Cook It!

IPH Policy Updates & Consultations

Sugar Sweetened Drinks – an update

In March 2016 the UK Government announced its intention to introduce an industry levy on sugar sweetened drinks from April 2018. This levy is an important component of the UK childhood obesity strategy. IPH has responded to a consultation which sets out proposals for the design and implementation of this levy. A similar levy has been announced for the Republic of Ireland.

IPH recently presented data highlighting how young people, males and those from lower socio-economic groups are the most frequent consumers of sugar-sweetened drinks (SSDs) across the island of Ireland. IPH, Dr Joanna Purdy and Dr Noelle Cotter gave the presentation ‘A spoonful of sugar... is taxation a solution?’ at the 5th IPH Open Conference.

Access the presentation here
Access the original consultation
Access the IPH response

Protect Life 2 – A suicide prevention strategy for the north of Ireland

In September 2016, the Department of Health launched its consultation on the draft strategy and action plan to reduce the suicide rate in Northern Ireland. The strategy seeks to reduce the differential in the suicide rate between the most deprived areas and the least deprived areas.

Access original consultation
Access the IPH response

Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill

On 27 October, IPH presented oral evidence to the NI Assembly Committee for Communities on the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill. IPH highlighted the international evidence indicating that increased licensing hours can be associated with increased alcohol consumption and related harms. IPH recommended the Committee adopt a measured approach to any implementation of additional licensing hours and invest in comprehensive, independent evaluation.

Access the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill
Access IPH presentation of oral evidence
Access Hansard Report

National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network

Minister Corcoran Kennedy TD
November saw the launch of the National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network of which IPH is a Committee member. The Healthy Cities project is a global World Health Organization (WHO) movement, set up initially in 1997 with eleven individual cities. It is based on the importance of local action and includes the role of local governments and local authorities in health and sustainable development. Launching the network, Minister Corcoran Kennedy TD also presented certificates of accreditation to the Network to a number of Republic of Ireland counties on making a commitment to work to become healthier places for all citizens by working to implement the Healthy Ireland Framework. A meeting of the UK Healthy Cities Network and National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network later took place in Belfast.

Access further information on the Network

Why good work matters: the role of good quality work in reducing health inequalities

In November the UK and Ireland Health Equity Collaborative met in Dublin to look at inequality of access to work and inequality of access to good quality work. The Collaborative is a partnership between the UCL Institute of Health Equity and public health and Government bodies in the UK and Ireland of which IPH is a member. It works to support and sustain action on the social determinants of health, to improve population health and reduce health inequalities. The event highlighted good evidence and good practice to support people into work creating healthy workplaces, and looks to the future for opportunities and barriers to good quality work. Professor Sir Michael Marmot gave a brief overview of the collaborative.

Men's Health Action Plan Launched - A new chapter

On 30 November ‘Healthy Ireland - Men 2017-2021’ was launched at a Men’s Health Symposium in Dublin. This policy document succeeds the National Men’s Health Policy which was the first of its kind globally. IPH was a member of the policy implementation group that developed this document.

IPH Director of Policy, Dr Helen McAvoy presented on 'Sugar sweetened drinks, boys and men' at the event.

Access here

Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy and Action Plan for Northern Ireland – mid-term review

IPH is currently supporting the Northern Ireland Department of Health in conducting a mid-term review of the Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy and Action Plan. IPH is working with partner agencies in reviewing the progress of the Strategy since 2011 which will help inform the direction of the Strategy and Action Plan for the next 5 years.

Access the Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy and Action Plan 2011-2012

Other Public Health News

Healthy Food for Life - new healthy eating guidelines & food pyramid

Minister of State for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, recently launched ‘Healthy Food for Life’ which are new healthy eating guidelines & food pyramid. They provide a suite of national healthy eating guidelines for the general population in the Republic of Ireland.

Access here

National Dementia Awarenss Campaign - understand together

‘Dementia Understand Together’ a new campaign to increase awareness of demention was launched in October. It is a public support, awareness and information campaign aimed at inspiring people from all sections of society to stand together with the 55,000 people in the Republic of Ireland living with dementia. The campaign is led by the Health Service Executive (HSE) working with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio with a coalition of over 30 partners including IPH and is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Access further information on the campaign

Positive Ageing 2016 - National Indicators Report launched

The first Positive Ageing National Indicator report was launched in November and presents findings from a wide range of existing resources on what matters for older people. It sets out evidence under the three pillars identified in the National Positive Ageing Strategy i.e. Participation, Health and Security as well as the cross-cutting objectives of combating ageism and increasing access to information. The  report provides a benchmark for the future to help measure progress.

Access Report

Speed limit of 30km/h on streets throughout Dublin approved by Council

Plans to cut speed limits to 30km/h on residential streets throughout Dublin city and suburbs have been approved by the City Council. The low limits will be introduced on a phased basis from 2017. IPH welcome this announcement following contributing to the consultation process.

Access the IPH consultation response
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