Europe – EURO

Paolo Contu PhD, MD

Regional Vice President

Paolo Contu PhD, MD, VP for Europe

2001-date: Full Professor of Public Health, University of Cagliari

2020-date: Coordinator of the Customer Satisfaction Program of the University Hospital of Cagliari

2019-date: Vice President for Europe - International Union Health Promotion and Education

2016-2019: Vice President for Communications - International Union Health Promotion and Education

2010-2016: Vice President for Capacity Building Education and Training - International Union Health Promotion and Education

2018-date: Coordinator of the Class of “Prevention”, University of Cagliari

2016-2019: director of the School of Public Health, University of Cagliari

2012-2018: Member of the Board of the IUHPE Accreditation System

2012-2018: Co-Chair of the Global Working Group “Competencies and Workforce Development” – International Union Health Promotion and Education

2012-2015: President of the Faculty of Medicine - University of Cagliari

2011-2012: President of the Bachelors Class of “Prevention”, University of Cagliari

2010-2012: Coordinator of the Scientific Area “Medical Sciences”, University of Cagliari

2007-2010: member of the Global Board of Trustees International Union Health Promotion and Education

2007-2010: President of the Bachelor Course of “Health Visitor”, University of Cagliari


Research in the area of epidemiology and health promotion (clinical epidemiology, biostatistics, action research, participatory methods).


Work Plan

  • To facilitate and strengthen the participation of individual and institutional members, with specific attention to the different languages and cultures.

  • To consolidate the European structure of IUHPE.

  • To organize a regional conference in 2021.

  • To develop and strengthen partnerships.

  • To involve almost one contact persons in most of EU countries.


Message from Dr. Paolo Contu, Regional Vice President, on the COVID-19 Pandemic

I am looking at the Italian situation (as it is today – April 2020 – a major crisis area), with a more direct experience in Sardinia (and especially in my city) where we are affected by Italian norms and national perceptions, without having a large local epidemic. I can summarize with a SWOT.


Strengths: Social Cohesion, Attention to public health and health care                             

Citizens feel more a part of a community (sense of belonging and ownership) and try to find ways to be active (also staying at home is perceived as fighting the pandemic; voluntary groups are supporting older people).  

The awareness of the role of health care and public health increased. Resources, especially new professionals, have been allocated.

Weaknesses: Literacy, Communication, Equity

The lack of literacy in general population (but also in politicians and media) emerged: the need to keep physical distancing became a simple message "stay at home" without trying to understand and discriminate the effects of specific behaviours. Media often accept without questioning any statement from authorities or "experts" (epidemiologists are increasing faster than virus). 

Opportunities: Innovation Resources for health care/promotion

Social distancing pushes agencies and organizations to develop online actions and to simplify procedures. Digital literacy is increasing. Hopefully, this will be a legacy for the future.

Awareness of the importance of having strong health systems paired with complaints concerning shortages in the last few years are expected to protect resources for the future.

Threats: Economy, Increasing inequities      

With the long lockdown, consequences for the economy can be huge.

The norms aimed to cope with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic heavily affect the most vulnerable: children in low-income families who are not able to access to online education offered by schools, workers (often racial minorities) with precarious employment who lose their income. The risk is increasing the gap between well-off individuals and families that can seize the opportunities, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and populations who become more marginalized. For instance, staying at home is different for children with well-educated relatives and access to all resources.


We invite you to read all COVID-19 messages from the IUHPE President and Regional Vice Presidents.

Webinar Series-UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education

The UNESCO Chair and WHO Collaborating Centre have organized a "Global Health and Education" webinar series that is held regularly throughout 2020.

Speakers include Stephan Van den Broucke, IUHPE Vice President for Scientific Affairs and member of the IUHPE/EURO regional committee.

UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education webinar series

10th European Conference

10th IUHPE European Conference and 4th International Forum for Health Promotion Research took place during 24-26 September 2018, in Trondheim, Norway. 

 Six years after the last European Conference in Tallinn, more than 200 health promoters gathered to share ideas, experiences and challenges. The conference privileged participative sessions and featured symposiums, workshops, communications and an “Euro Café” session.

IUHPE Global Working Groups (GWG) were heavily involved in this conference, particularly during the second day which was dedicated to discussing how the Health Literacy, Salutogenesis and Healthy Settings approaches contribute to health promotion, including how to tackle NCDs. You can access the presentations here.

The IUHPE European Conference and International Forum was also a health-promoting conference: pauses included music and dance to relax the spirit between highly engaged periods.


(Re)connecting also promotes health and IUHPE conferences are the perfect opportunity to finally meet in person or see again kindred colleagues. The IUHPE GWG on Health Literacy even seized the opportunity for a group photo.

If sadly you were not able to attend this conference, you can access some of the keynote presentations: Young People's Reflections on Health Promotion, Ellen Ersfjord; Health Promotion, Version 2.0 - Key Principles and Challenges, Bjarne Bruun Jensen; and Sustainable Implementation of Public Health Initiatives, Monica Lillefjell. Abstracts are still available here.


There is also a digital trace of this event. Read all the messages and photos shared under the #HealthPromotionEurope Twitter hashtag to have a sense of what happened in Trondheim.

“The entire conference was very well organised, extremely interesting and engaging. Hence, I took a lot of interesting news, contacts and inspirations back home which I will share with my colleagues at the Austrian Health Promotion Fund,” Gert Lang, Austrian Health Promotion Fund, IUHPE Institutional Member

Finally, this event would not have been possible without the dedication of a hardworking team:

  • the conference Co-chairs, Bjarne Bruun Jensen, IUHPE Regional Vice President for the European region, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, and Geir Arild Espnes, Director of NTNU Center for Health Promotion, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU;
  • the Chair of the Local Committee, Siw Tone Innstrand, NTNU Center for Health Promotion Research, and all members of the committee;
  • the Chair of the Scientific Committee, Bengt Lindström, IUHPE Board Member, NTNU Center for Health Promotion Research, and all members of the committee.

HP Forum


The idea to establish a European Forum for Health Promotion Research (HP Forum) has been developed by IUHPE, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Steno Diabetes Center, Copenhagen, with the support of EuroHealthNet, WHO/Europe, EUPHA and the UNESCO Chair Global Health & Education.

The HP Forum is intent on gathering researchers across Europe to thoroughly discuss challenges in concepts, theoretical foundations and methods in health promotion research. It also aims to become a platform to communicate with European research funders, like the European Union, and to put Health Promotion Research firmly on their agenda.

After its launch last September during the 10th IUHPE European Conference and 4th International Forum for Health Promotion Research, the HP Forum is up to a successful start. By the end of 2018, it brought together over 30 institutions representing more than 20 countries. The HP Forum held its first meeting in Ljubljana, at the time of the European Public Health Conference. One of the working groups formed during this meeting is busy planning a series of activities for the first year. The next full-day seminar will be 16 May 2019 in Copenhagen, home city of IUHPE’s regional European Vice-president, Bjarne Bruun Jensen, and the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, one of the organizations behind this initiative. 

How to sign up for the HP Forum? Send an e-mail to representatives from the Center for Health Promotion Research, NTNU, Geir Arild Espnes, Professor and Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Siw Tone Innstrand, Professor and Deputy Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

UNESCO Chair Global Health and Education

IUHPE joined the new initiative of a UNESCO Chair and UNITWIN network on “Global Health and Education.” The initiative had its kick off meeting in Paris at UNESCO’s headquarters on 26-27 February 2018 with IUHPE as one of the co-sponsors. The formal launch took place in October 2018 in Paris.

In line with current strategies from UNESCO, WHO and IUHPE, the “Global Health and Education” UNESCO chair and the UNITWIN network aim to contribute to creating the conditions for schools to make a difference for health and well-being of all pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff by strengthening schools’ capacity as a healthy place to live, learn and work.

There are two chair holders: professor Didier Jourdan, University of Clermont Auvergne (France), and professor Beverley Yamamoto, Osaka University (Japan). Together with academic institutions, learning societies, professional organisations, communities and private sector partners from across the world, they form a truly global network.

IUHPE is proud to have played a leading role in propelling this initiative and to be part of the global community supporting the Chair. It looks forward to the joint projects to come.


 IUHPE European Core Group/IUHPE-EUCG 



Role and Country


EU Vice President









Orkan OKAN




Scientific Affairs






HP Forum






Capacity Building




United Kingdom

Natalie TAYLOR 


United Kingdom

Christa AYELE





European IUHPE Executive Board Members



Role and Country

Margaret BARRY

Immediate Past President



VP Administration


José Luis CASTRO

VP Finance and Internal Control



VP Partnerships and Institutional Affairs



VP Scientific Affairs



European IUHPE Contact Persons


Name  Country
Adriana BABAN Romania
Evangelia NENA Greece
Marjeta MAJER Croatia
Giuseppe MASANOTTI Italy
Merita BERISHA  Kossovo
Alena PETRAKOVA Czech Republic
Diane LEVIN-ZAMIR Israel