15th Anniversary

SSPH+/ETHZ Online Lecture Series "This Is Public Health"

Wednesday, 19 February - 27 May 2020, 17:15-18:15; moderated by Agnė Ulytė (see also flyer)

Due to COVID-19 the lectures can be followed via live stream (including online discussion) only; recorded lectures can be found here.

Find more information on how to join the live stream here.

We recommend to join a few minutes in advance to test the connection. Once in the webinar, you can ask questions with the Q&A-Feature. If you have questions about lectures or webinar, write to agne.ulyte@uzh.ch.

The "This is Public Health (TIPH)" - Europe is the ASPHER-led campaign, available to Association's members and organized in partnership between ASPHER and ASPPH. It is aimed at communicating the importance of Public Health as a field, a well-solicited career path and showing the impact possibilities concerning population health.


Date Title Lecturer
19 February 2020

Clean air for health – using science to stop “fake news”

National and international research of the last 30 years established unprecedented insights into the health effects of ambient air pollution. Countries that adopted the evidence-based policy recommendations of WHO have seen major improvements in air quality. However, populist interest groups in some of these countries spread “fake news” to stall clean air policies. This trend may amplify the biggest public health threat in this field: global inequity with cleaner regions seeing further improvements of air quality but polluted ones experiencing deteriorations. The presentation replaces fakes with facts while emphasizing global solutions to achieve clean air - everywhere.

Download reading material: The health impact of air pollution

Watch video Download slides

Nino Künzli
Dean of SSPH+ and Head of Department Education and Training at Swiss TPH
26 February 2020

The dementia impact and scientific conundrum: two challenges in search of a public health solution

The impact of dementia on people and societies is humongous, ubiquitous, and continuously increasing because of the population aging and the stagnation of scientific progress. Despite the remarkable advances of the recent years, dementia remains a dreadful, incurable disease, and a taxing scientific conundrum. While the WHO-led global public health response to dementia is our greatest hope to reduce this burden, we firmly maintain that public health can and should also aspire to challenge and progressively replace the dominant models for theory and practice in dementia research, and contribute to cause a paradigm shift.

Download reading material: Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025

Watch video Download slides

Emiliano Albanese
Professor at the Institute of Public Health of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI)
04 March 2020

Better Health Faster: Law is everywhere!

  1. Law is Essential to public health
  2. Law is not just a “tool”
  3. Law is one of the ONLY ways to understand and address social determinants of health

Based on those 3 premises and the 5 essential services of public health law, the lecture will focus on the need to adopt a transdisciplinary model of public health law in order to achieve better health faster.

Download reading material: The Five Essential Public Health Law Services

Policy Surveillance: A Vital Public Health Practice Comes of Age

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Dominique Sprumont
Adjunct Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Neuchâtel; Chairman of the Research Ethics Committee of Vaud
11 March 2020

The law on tobacco products: impacting public health through legislative changes - opportunities and limits

Currently a new Law on tobacco products is discussed in the Swiss Parliament. How can the stakeholder’s community develop a positive lobby and act to improve the law in order to obtain real changes in public health? What are the legislative opportunities and limits in the current Swiss context of tobacco control, including the challenges posed by the arrival of e-cigarettes on the market?

Download reading material: E-cigarettes: use and taxation

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Luciano Ruggia
Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) of the University of Bern; Director of the Swiss Association for Smoking Prevention AT
18 March 2020

Public trust beyond the hype!

Public trust is fundamental for the well-functioning of healthcare systems. Yet, the rise of trust as a topic in public debate about governments, private industries or the state sector, suggests a public need to address problems of trust. Despite the increasing prominence of the concept of trust in public discourse as well as increase of research on public trust, there exists little common understanding of what actually public trust is.
In this talk we will discuss what public trust constitutes of and how governance can increase public trust in healthcare.

Download reading material: What is public trust in the healthcare system? A new conceptual framework developed from qualitative data in England

Public trust: caught between hype and need

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Caroline Brall
Postdoc at the Health Ethics and Policy Lab, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich
Felix Gille
Postdoc at the Health Ethics and Policy Lab, Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich
25 March 2020

Prostate cancer in Switzerland – large differences in a small country

Prostate cancer is common in Western countries such as Switzerland. However, even within Switzerland, we observe geographical differences in incidence and mortality. Our research targets the question of whether these differences change over time and which factors may explain these differences in Switzerland (e.g. different lifestyle, different screening behaviour). To address this question, different datasets available in Switzerland will be used, showing the possibilities, but also the limitations of epidemiological research in this country.

Download reading material: Italianity is associated with lower risk of prostate cancer mortalityin Switzerland

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Sabine Rohrmann
Professor at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI) of the University of Zurich; Head of the Cancer Registry of the Cantons of Zurich, Zug, Schaffhausen and Schwyz
01 April 2020

Does it work? Is it worth it? Evaluating the costs and benefits of public health interventions

Public health interventions may have an immense impact on health and wellbeing. However, it is often unknown whether a specific intervention works and whether it is worth the money spent. This lecture introduces the cost-effectiveness framework developed in health economics as a useful tool for the design and evaluation of public health interventions. It forces the designers and evaluators to explore the various aspects affecting the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the intervention in a real-world situation. It also takes account of the different cost dimensions affecting the health and wellbeing.

Download reading material: Does It Work? Is It Worth It? Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Nutritional Interventions

Watch video Download slides

Simon Wieser
Head of the Winterthur Institute of Health Economics, ZHAW School of Management and Law
08 April 2020

Public health in the era of personalized health

Personalized health is promising to improve the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases by applying big and genomic data from various sources. The resulting stratified treatment approaches often come with high costs and may contradict important public health goals such as social equity in access to health. Important public health tasks in the era of precision health are to evaluate the implementation of personalized health, to measure its population impact in the longer term and to apply its instruments in observational epidemiological research towards improved understanding of
disease etiology.

Download reading material: The rationale for a Swiss Citizen Study and Biobank

Long-term effects of air pollution: an exposome meet-in-the-middle approach

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Nicole Probst-Hensch
Head of Department Epidemiology and Public Health and Member Directory Board of Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
22 April 2020

The biological consequences of social inequalities

Unfortunately, the lecture had to be cancelled on a very short notice due to priorities required in COVID research. We apologize!

The lecture will briefly introduce social inequalities in health and then move to present recent findings on how social disadvantage is integrated biologically across different systems. Challenges and perspectives of the social-to-biological field of research will also be discussed.

Download reading material: The biological embedding of social differences in ageing trajectories

Silvia Stringhini
Head of the Population Epidemiology Unit at HUG/University of Geneva; Head of research sector Unisanté, University of Lausanne
29 April 2020

Implementation of public health genetic interventions

The lecture will focus on two common and actionable hereditary cancer syndromes, namely hereditary breast/ovarian cancer and Lynch syndromes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other international organizations have issued evidence-based guidelines that can be applied at the population level for prevention and early detection of these two syndromes. There will be a presentation of two studies that implement these evidence-based guidelines for the two syndromes in Switzerland. The lecture will conclude with a presentation of a framework for the evaluation of public health genetic interventions and a short discussion of issues around access to genetic services.

Download reading material: Cancer Predisposition Cascade Screening for Hereditary Breast/Ovarian Cancer and Lynch Syndromes in Switzerland: Study Protocol

CDC Grand Rounds: Family History and Genomics as Tools for Cancer Prevention and Control

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Maria Katapodi
Professor at the Department of Clinical Research of the University of Basel
06 May 2020

Data is the new gold: Information flow during the Ebola outbreak and the Coronavirus outbreak

During part of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, I was in Sierra Leone as an information management lead for WHO. This lecture places health data collection and flow (often called surveillance) in the context of trying to contain an outbreak. Through anecdotes and more theoretical aspects, we will discuss data security, geographic information system (GIS) analysis and visualization, as well as sustainable knowledge transfer to local public health workforce. In addition, we will use the concepts just presented for Ebola to understand the information flow and barriers for the Coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).

Download reading material: Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Acknowledging the limits of public health solutions

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Delphine Courvoisier
Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva
13 May 2020

Health, functioning and well-being

An enormous amount of resources is invested in health because this is somehow conceived in as the link to a person’s wellbeing and, at the level of population, to overall societal welfare. However, this link is not always evident. What matters to people about their health is the lived experience of health and its effect on daily life. This concept is captured in the WHO’s ICF by the notion of functioning. It is also an indicator of health complementing mortality and morbidity, and provides the bridge that links the provision of healthcare both to individual well-being and to societal welfare.

Download reading material: Health, Functioning, and Well-being

Watch video Download slides

Gerold Stucki
Head of the Department Health Sciences and Medicine of the University of Lucerne
27 May 2020

Work, retirement and health inequalities in later life: a life course perspective

Despite improvements in life expectancy, we are not necessarily living more years in better health. Moreover, inequalities in health persist in later life. This lecture addresses the contribution of work and retirement to health and health inequalities in later life, taking a long view to assess the role of work across the life course. The implications of the findings are discussed in the context of the ‘extended working lives’ agenda.

Download reading material: Lifetime employment histories and their relationship with 10-year health trajectories in later life: evidence from England

Supplementary information (tables and figures)

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Laurie Corna
Professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI); Affiliate researcher, King's College London