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MatchPoints conference: Global Health Challenges and Solutions

Pandemics, war, climate change, mental health issues and cardiovascular disease: global health is threatened on many fronts. Join us at this year’s MatchPoints conference at Aarhus University on 11-13 May to explore these challenges – and help find solutions. Registration is now open.

The climate crisis will increasingly force the world’s population to crowd together in denser communities on less land, which in turn will increase the risk of food insecurity, the spread of disease and even greater socio-economic inequality.

The theme of MatchPoints 2022 was laser-focused on the brain; this year, MatchPoints is zooming out to encompass one of the world’s most urgent challenges:  the state of global health. Under the heading Global Health Challenges and Solutions, MatchPoints 2023 will explore global health from an multidisciplinary perspective that will address mental health and chronic disease; pandemics; sustainability and climate change; and global health equality.

MatchPoints 11-13 May

Global Health Challenges and Solutions: Academic conference in English at the Lakeside Lecture Theatres. The four themes are:

  • Mental Health and Chronic Disease
  • Pandemics
  • Sustainability and Health
  • Global Health Equality

Read the programme and register

About MatchPoints

Aarhus University has been holding MatchPoints – an academic conference with an outward-facing profile – every year since 2007. The purpose of MatchPoints is to create communication between Aarhus University and the general public on issues of broad interest in the community. The presenters at MatchPoints are among the most prominent experts in their fields. Each year, an AU faculty is responsible for chairing the conference; this year, the Faculty of Health has the programme chairship.

Right now ‘pandemic’ is probably the first word that springs to mind for most of us when we think about global health. But although pandemics are one of the conference’s central themes, there’s a lot more on the programme. Over the course of the two-day conference, leading researchers from Denmark and abroad will illuminate some of the major health challenges facing the world. On top of a deepening global mental health crisis, the climate crisis will increasingly force the world’s population to crowd together in denser communities on less land, which in turn will increase the risk of food insecurity, the spread of disease and even greater socio-economic inequality.

Global inequality is everyone’s problem

Professor Christian Wejse from the Centre for Global Health at the Department of Public Health is the programme chair for this year’s conference, and he’s looking forward to bringing researcher and NGO representatives together to debate these  challenges – and just as importantly, explore possible solutions. Because in an increasingly hot, flat and crowded world, we can’t simply ignore the health challenges other countries are already facing, he explains:

“There are enormous global challenges in access to health, and there’s a need to present research-based solutions to the big health challenges. A number of infectious diseases that have historically ravaged poor countries are in decline, but new ones continue to emerge, and infectious diseases still have a major impact on mortality rates world-wide. At the same time, many of the diseases that can be prevented and treated in the West are spreading to large parts of the world where the healthcare systems are not yet able to handle them.”

Four central themes within global health

There will be four main themes at this year’s MatchPoints which will address major global challenges as well as possible solutions. Within each themes, a wide variety of issues and topics will be explored, geographically as well as scientifically, explains Wejse:

“The themes were selected to reflect the most important and topical issues within global health. Global health is a broad concept, and we could have selected numerous other focus areas of high importance, but we have decided to give priority to areas in which AU and our area in general have strengths. In this way, the conference will also be a showcase for what Aarhus has to contribute in this area.”

Wejse hopes that the debate about challenges and solutions will resonate outside the conference.

“I hope that MatchPoints will help draw attention to the enormous challenges we face. But I also hope that we’ll be able to present a variety of solutions at the conference, and hopefully contribute to the implementation of some of the strategies we’re already familiar with.”

Surprising topics

The conference will present such a wide palette of exciting content and debate that Wejse expects it to attract participants from Aarhus University, the European university alliance Circle U. and others with an interest in global health, for example from NGOs.

“We’ll be exploring a wide variety of exciting topics. Including some that might be surprising. For example, when we discuss ‘infodemics’ – a concept for the kind of misinformation that had a major impact on our faith in face masks, social distancing and vaccines during the pandemic. That’s a debate I’m looking forward to,” Wejse says.