Session 1. Arctic health and social inequalities in health

Session description:

The Arctic region includes eight countries inhabited by indigenous and non-indigenous populations. The indigenous populations often represent minority groups in the countries in which they reside. In the multi-ethnic Arctic region several factors may influence the population groups’ health and living conditions differently, like differences in history and development, grave environmental changes, education and economy.

In the pan-Arctic region we observe increasing inequalities in health – even in welfare societies where all citizens in principle should have equal access to health services and health literacy. What causes the great differences in morbidity and mortality of common diseases between countries and between ethnic populations in this region, and how big are such differences? How can we build actionable knowledge to improve health and reduce inequalities in health?

The determinants of health in a life course perspective are complex and interrelated. Research has demonstrated that historically traumatic events and contemporary stressors have an impact on future health and well being on an individual level, as well as on families and communities. Childhood circumstances have a major influence on adult health related behaviour, socioeconomic position, and social relationships. However, individual or collective changes in lifestyle in adulthood may alter life expectancy and mental and physical health.

In order to combat health inequalities between and within countries, we need a better understanding of the state of health and disease in various population segments of the Arctic region – Indigenous peoples, majority populations and immigrants, and among the young as well as the elderly population. Public health authorities and policy makers need improved knowledge of the causes of suboptimal health as well as better knowledge of which interventions are effective. This includes a better understanding of how culturally relevant interventions are key in order to improve health and well being among indigenous peoples.

Addressing UN Sustainable Development Goals on Health and Well being (No. 3) and Inequalities (No 10) as well as WHO Rio Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health, we welcome abstracts for oral and written presentations aiming to increase insight into the complex interrelationships between health-related choices, the social gradient and modifiable risk factors for physical and mental health. An overarching goal is to contribute to building actionable knowledge to reduce inequalities in health and to improve health of the Arctic populations.

In particular, we welcome contributions within the field of:

  • Public health and life expectancy
  • Health services and treatments, including culturally relevant and indigenous-focused health care solutions
  • Occurrence and prevention of infections including the covid-19 pandemic, zoonotic disease threats and antibiotics resistance
  • Non-communicable diseases (i.e. CVD, cancer, COPD)
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Self-harm including suicide, and violence in close relationships
  • Child and youth health
  • Strength-based interventions to improve health and well being of indigenous peoples
  • Injuries and injury prevention
  • Alcohol and substance use and abuse
  • Environmental pollutants and human health
  • Health literacy
  • Dental health
  • Food safety, security, and sovereignty, and dietary transitions in the Arctic

The science committee plans to arrange a special issue or collection of articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals (tentatively, International Journal of Circumpolar Health and/or Scandinavian Journal of Public Health) in conjunction with the session.

Science committee:

  • Inger Njølstad, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (lead)
  • Christina Viskum Lytken Larsen, Centre for Public Health in Greenland/ National Institute of Public Health, Denmark
  • Yury Sumarokov, Northern State Medical University, Arkhangelsk, Russia
  • Arleigh Reynolds, UAF Center for One Health Research, Alaska, USA
  • Ann Ragnhild Broderstad, Centre of Sami Health Research, Norway
  • Jonas Minet Kinge, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway
  • Marie Wasmuth Lundblad, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (Secretary)
Alexey Pavlov Photo: Lars Olav Sparboe

Alexey Pavlov
+47 948 45 342

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