Welcoming words

Swiss Public Health Conference 2020 «From Evidence to Public Health Policy and Practice»2 + 3 September 2020

Demographic developments, new clinical pictures or unequal access to resources are key factors when we talk about the promotion of public health and the treatment of diseases and injuries. Our health system must constantly adapt to new challenges. In this context the following questions arise: how must the health system be developed, so that it is able to offer future generations good medical care and affordable services?  How can the well-being of individuals be improved? How can a shared understanding about the challenges in health care be established?

We need more knowledge and scientific evidence concerning how processes in health care can be designed, so that the health care system is able to adapt quickly to the continuous exchange between research, politics and actual practice.  Especially with regard to social change, we can already see how a fluid interface can help develop common solutions for the support of the elderly, guarantee comprehensive care for the chronically ill, or meet the rising costs of health care via better models for care.

With the goal of strengthening public health in Switzerland, the Swiss Public Health Conference 2020 concerns itself with issues regarding the transfer of knowledge between research, politics and practice. Experts from around the globe will discuss how evidence-based solutions can be systematically and optimally integrated into our health care system. In addition, with the examples of diverse national and international projects, we will point out which questions are still open, how the results of research can be implemented in practice and how gaps within the Swiss health care system can be tackled.

In line with a health care system that is still learning, the Swiss Public Health Conference 2020 brings together various players from politics, practice, and research and thus becomes the locus of an important interface itself. Together, we should be able to define a shared understanding of the current needs and future challenges of the Swiss health care system. Not only that, but we can also develop steps for the processes which accompany these demands.

Ursula Zybach, President Swiss Society for Public Health

Nino Künzli, Director Swiss School of Public Health und Deputy Director Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Gerold Stucki, Chairholder and Professor of Department of Health Sciences and Medicine, Universität Luzern

Welcoming remarks by State Councillor Guido Graf and Prof. Bruno Staffelbach, Rector of the University of Lucerne

Dear Swiss Public Health Conference 2020 attendees,

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the "Swiss Public Health Conference", even though this is unfortunately only possible virtually due to the current pandemic situation.

As every year, the conference is dedicated to a topic of great importance for public health. This year's theme, "From Evidence to Public Health Policy and Practice", which was defined by the organizing committee long before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, could probably not have been more appropriate and topical for this year.

In recent months, the challenges posed by the pandemic have made us acutely aware of the importance of good and close cooperation between science, research, politics and civil society. This is exemplified by the search for a vaccine or drug treatment for the new coronavirus.

These pandemic-related challenges have also shown how important it is to support decision-makers in making science-based decisions. However, science today is no longer a closed domain practiced by individuals, individual institutes or faculties in isolation. Research projects today are usually only conceivable as national or even international collaborations. These projects take place in cooperation with other disciplines, faculties, research teams and universities as well as in collaboration with the business community and civil society. 

With the new coronavirus, the importance of "public health" has again become more apparent. The current health crisis shows us how vulnerable and yet strong our society is. And many of us have been reminded that high-quality, robust healthcare such as that provided here in Switzerland cannot be taken for granted.

The location of Lucerne's comparatively young university in Switzerland also contributes to the high quality of this health care, as it is firmly anchored in society and the economy in Central Switzerland. Great importance is attached to cooperation with other cantons, educational institutions and external partners. In 2018, for example, an agreement was implemented between the cantons of Lucerne and Zurich and between the University of Lucerne and the University of Zurich for the Joint Master of Medicine. With the establishment of the new Department of Health Sciences and Medicine last year, the University of Lucerne is increasingly responsible for the education and training of a new generation of physicians and health scientists. Given the growing and emerging needs in the Swiss health care system, this new generation should be equipped with a growing understanding of trans- and interdisciplinary cooperation in order to continue to support the bridging of research, practice and politics in the future - in the spirit of today's conference.

Even if the conference unfortunately cannot take place in Lucerne due to the circumstances, we hope to be able to share with you some of the interesting topics from the University of Lucerne and the Canton of Lucerne.

Now we wish you a good conference with exciting contributions. Stay healthy!


State Council Guido Graf

State Council of Canton Lucerne, Head of the Department of Health and Social Affairs of the Canton of Lucerne


Prof. Bruno Staffelbach

Rector of the University of Lucerne