The International Academy for Design and Health (IADH) will be organising the 10th Design & Health World Congress & Exhibition (WCDH 2014) in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and supported by world-renowned academic institutions and healthcare industries worldwide (Click here to download sponsorship and exhibition information).
The WCDH 2014 will be held from 9-13 July 2014 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, one of the most multicultural population centres in North America, and a city with ambitious plans to place the health, wellbeing and quality of life of its citizenship at the heart of its plans for regenerating its urban and health infrastructure.
The health status of people living in Canada is one of the highest in the world, with rising life expectancies and falling mortality and morbidity rates. But the region’s healthcare system faces similar challenges to the rest of the developed world, characterised by increasing cost pressures and a rise in the level of chronic diseases linked to unhealthy lifestyles, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), lifestyle is a key determinant of an individual’s health status. Health promotion is therefore “the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health”. However, enhancing the quality of the environment is also one of the most cost effective and enduring approaches to improving public health.
Growing awareness of the importance of health promotion and the need to invest in healthy and sustainable public, social, domestic and urban infrastructure through the application of ecological and salutogenic design is at the forefront of opportunity and the leading edge of change in our society. Embracing these perspectives to shape our built environment and infrastructure investment, whilst embedding it at the core of a preventative care strategy changes the focus from risk factors and the treatment of disease to a more holistic understanding of the factors that determine a healthier society.
The salutogenic perspective embraces both the science and art of health promotion by exposing us to wellness factors in the built environment that support behavourial change and motivates us to lead a healthier lifestyle. By improving our understanding of health as a process that engages social, mental, spiritual and physical well-being, the salutogenic approach acts on the knowledge that health is a fundamental resource to the individual, the community and society and must be implemented in all environments where we are living, working and playing.
One of the most pressing needs is the regeneration of our existing infrastructure into more livable eco-cities, providing the foundation for the creation of a healthier society. Supported by world governments, a new generation of designers, architects and engineers are needed to learn how to apply ecological and salutogenic design principles in their work.
At the centre of city life, the role of healthcare will remain fundamental, but increasingly providers must adopt a leadership role in health promotion as well as the treatment of disease. How we design our health infrastructure to better connect communities and urban life will support these efforts. The role of public private partnership as the primary procurement model for infrastructure projects across all sectors, including healthcare, requires challenges to apply the salutogenic approach that supports the delivery of healthy and sustainable environments.
The IADH is committed to bringing this understanding to the design and health professions in an effort to reduce the prevalence of lifestyle diseases and improve quality of life, and invites you to submit scientific abstracts for the 10th Design & Health World Congress & Exhibition in Toronto, Canada, from 9-13th July, 2014.
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