New grant for ISPM to join the WHO special initiative on urban governance for health

19.07.2021 – The Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), committed to generating evidence that improves health at the individual, community, population and planetary levels, has now received a grant by the World Health Organization to develop a protocol and implementation strategy for operational research in the WHO special initiative on urban governance for health, equity, and wellbeing (UGH_Bern).

«Our UGH_Bern team will closely collaborate with the WHO Enhanced Wellbeing Unit, the city teams and their academic partner institutions to develop a tool  based on the current state of evidence on urban governance and that considers the diverse contexts of the cities involved», says Prof. Annika Frahsa, who is principal investigator of the project and head of the ISPM research group on community health and healthcare systems research.

WHO is working with five cities around the world: Bogota (Colombia), Mexico City (Mexico), Khulna City (Bangladesh), Douala (Cameroon) and Tunis (Tunisia). The five cities strive to create and improve physical and social environments, to expand civic engagement and participation of multiple stakehoders strengthening long-term urban resilience to health risks and crises. The UGH_Bern team  joins those efforts by developing a tool that will allow to assess, monitor, and evaluate local governance and, ultimately,  changes in the health status and wellbeing of the cities’ populations by 2028.

«As researchers to be part of the multiple-source, multiple-actors exchange with the cities and regional and country offices is important. Those actors are stakeholders, and the communication and exchanges allow them to share their experience, understandings and goals when it comes to multisectoral action and civic engagement for urban health», states Prof. Thomas Abel from ISPM, who is a member of the steering committee for the special initiative.

«This effort fits perfectly with our vision for ISPM: global excellence and innovation through local impact. And with local impact we stand for the collaborative development and implementation of interventions aimed at maintaining, improving and recovering health throughout the lifecourse. It is only through partnerships with international collaborators and the WHO that we can most efficiently reach these goals» concludes Prof. Oscar Franco, director of ISPM.