Spanish Version/Version en español

In line with the Symposium core principles, the organizers aim to develop a programme that is of the highest technical quality, encourages active debate through effective engagement and is diverse and inclusive.

Programme Overview

There will be over one hundred 90-minute concurrent sessions planned within the programme. Approximately half of these concurrent sessions will be allocated to ‘organized sessions’ and the other half will be based on ‘individual abstracts’.

Registration for the Fourth Global Symposium is available here.

Abstracts for organized sessions and individual presentations were open from October 2015 until January and March, 2016. All abstract notices have now been sent via email as of May 17th, 2016. If you have not received an email, please contact Sarah Brown. These sessions are to be linked to the following sub-themes:

This sub-theme incorporates research and experience from different settings, including fragile and post-conflict states, that explore the nature of, and strategies for building, resilience to unexpected shocks and in the face of the ongoing daily demands of every health system (such as funding, human resources and data for decision-making needs). Submissions under this sub-theme can address areas of ongoing concern (e.g. the spectrum from MNCH to NCDs and ageing) and/or emerging and as-yet unidentified future needs (e.g. climate change, urbanization, mass migration, unforeseen outbreaks), as well as efforts to improve health care access and intersectoral action on the social determinants of health related to unfinished and emerging needs, sustaining gains and absorbing (or averting) shocks. They may also present innovative research approaches around these issues or relevant experience of learning communities, for example.

This sub-theme emphasizes the responsiveness of health systems and health systems research to the priorities and realities of populations facing vulnerability and marginalization in order to put into practice and sustain our value base of gender, social and health equity, social inclusion, and ethics in policy, practice and research. It aims to share and debate experience from a range of settings and contexts across all field-building dimensions. We particularly welcome submissions from minority, indigenous/First Nations and ‘Global South’ scholars, practitioners and activists as well as other stakeholders (such as adolescents) whose voices are seldom heard in research and health system dialogues and debates. Submissions related to reflective practice, ethics and learning in policy, planning and action at multiple levels for health systems responsiveness and resilience are also welcome under this sub-theme.

This sub-theme focuses on analysing, engaging, and challenging power and politics, in health systems research (HSR), health systems development or learning strategies, in relation to the broad conference theme of responsive and resilient health systems for a changing world. The power relations and political economy of the global health and development arenas are among the most relevant issues under this theme. Examples include:

  • the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • global-national and South–South–North dynamics, with or without donors;
  • power and politics of health systems; or
  • HSR-related aspects of macroeconomic, geopolitical, refugee and climate crises.

Micro- and meso-level engagement of power and politics in health systems and HSR is equally relevant to this theme, for example in relation to the experience of and strategies to confront social exclusion. Again, we particularly encourage perspectives that demonstrate success in primary and community-based health interventions, particularly from the vantage point of people living in conditions of vulnerability, marginalization, and exploitation.

This sub-theme focuses on implementation, from strengthening health worker supervision and access to integrated frontline teams, to harnessing new ideas and resources for quality improvement including enhanced resilience and responsiveness. Submissions to this theme might address a range of questions, for example:

  • What are we learning about research needs and methods for health system improvement?
  • What is new, promising, or needs to be challenged regarding the ‘governance of quality’ in planning for large-scale improvements in population health?
  • How does organizational culture affect system performance and how can it be changed to promote improvement in system performance?
  • Are results from economic evaluation and economic modeling being harnessed for health system improvement?
  • What have we learned – or what should we have learned – from: Ebola in West Africa; innovations for health systems strengthening to tackle HIV, TB and malaria; MNCH; indigenous/aboriginal perspectives on wellness and experience of health system challenges; the diverse needs of increasingly diverse populations?

This sub-theme focuses on new partnerships and collaborations through which the symposium themes can be advanced. Examples of possible submissions under this theme might include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing system-focused multi-actor partnerships to increase availability, access, affordability, and use of medicines and services.
  • Communication, negotiation, and mediation skills and processes for effective partnerships.
  • Assessing intended and unintended impacts of system-focused partnerships, from different actors’ perspectives.
  • Strengthening health systems through public health as well as infectious disease and NCD disease-based programmes.
  • New mechanisms and approaches to enhancing research use by communities and health systems practitioners.

Complementing sub-themes 1 and 2, this sub-theme focuses on future learning and evaluation approaches – oriented specifically to health system development. Under this theme, we might:

  • Ask what high-income countries can learn from the rest of the world, and how?
  • Interrogate the capacities and skills needed to cultivate health policy and systems research (HPSR) for a changing world, given the acute mal-distribution of teaching capacity and
  • Explore strategies for strengthening learning at local levels, to build health system resilience and responsiveness.
  • Take a critical and creative look at the current and future roles of technology and the internet in knowledge translation and health system development;
  • Examine governance, financing, priority setting and sustainability approaches and strategies for changing HPSR priorities.

If your topic does not appear to fit in one of the sub-themes but DOES clearly fit with the overall Symposium theme, include it in the ‘Other’ category and make the case for pertinence and excellence!

This sub-theme incorporates research and experience from different settings, including fragile and post-conflict states, that explore the nature of, and strategies for building, resilience to unexpected shocks and in the face of the ongoing daily demands of every health system (such as funding, human resources and data for decision-making needs). Submissions under this sub-theme can address areas of ongoing concern (e.g. the spectrum from MNCH to NCDs and ageing) and/or emerging and as-yet unidentified future needs (e.g. climate change, urbanization, mass migration, unforeseen outbreaks), as well as efforts to improve health care access and intersectoral action on the social determinants of health related to unfinished and emerging needs, sustaining gains and absorbing (or averting) shocks. They may also present innovative research approaches around these issues or relevant experience of learning communities, for example.
This sub-theme emphasizes the responsiveness of health systems and health systems research to the priorities and realities of populations facing vulnerability and marginalization in order to put into practice and sustain our value base of gender, social and health equity, social inclusion, and ethics in policy, practice and research. It aims to share and debate experience from a range of settings and contexts across all field-building dimensions. We particularly welcome submissions from minority, indigenous/First Nations and ‘Global South’ scholars, practitioners and activists as well as other stakeholders (such as adolescents) whose voices are seldom heard in research and health system dialogues and debates. Submissions related to reflective practice, ethics and learning in policy, planning and action at multiple levels for health systems responsiveness and resilience are also welcome under this sub-theme.
This sub-theme focuses on analysing, engaging, and challenging power and politics, in health systems research (HSR), health systems development or learning strategies, in relation to the broad conference theme of responsive and resilient health systems for a changing world. The power relations and political economy of the global health and development arenas are among the most relevant issues under this theme. Examples include:

  • the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • global-national and South–South–North dynamics, with or without donors;
  • power and politics of health systems; or
  • HSR-related aspects of macroeconomic, geopolitical, refugee and climate crises.

Micro- and meso-level engagement of power and politics in health systems and HSR is equally relevant to this theme, for example in relation to the experience of and strategies to confront social exclusion. Again, we particularly encourage perspectives that demonstrate success in primary and community-based health interventions, particularly from the vantage point of people living in conditions of vulnerability, marginalization, and exploitation.

This sub-theme focuses on implementation, from strengthening health worker supervision and access to integrated frontline teams, to harnessing new ideas and resources for quality improvement including enhanced resilience and responsiveness. Submissions to this theme might address a range of questions, for example:

  • What are we learning about research needs and methods for health system improvement?
  • What is new, promising, or needs to be challenged regarding the ‘governance of quality’ in planning for large-scale improvements in population health?
  • How does organizational culture affect system performance and how can it be changed to promote improvement in system performance?
  • Are results from economic evaluation and economic modeling being harnessed for health system improvement?
  • What have we learned – or what should we have learned – from: Ebola in West Africa; innovations for health systems strengthening to tackle HIV, TB and malaria; MNCH; indigenous/aboriginal perspectives on wellness and experience of health system challenges; the diverse needs of increasingly diverse populations?
This sub-theme focuses on new partnerships and collaborations through which the symposium themes can be advanced. Examples of possible submissions under this theme might include (but are not limited to):

  • Developing system-focused multi-actor partnerships to increase availability, access, affordability, and use of medicines and services.
  • Communication, negotiation, and mediation skills and processes for effective partnerships.
  • Assessing intended and unintended impacts of system-focused partnerships, from different actors’ perspectives.
  • Strengthening health systems through public health as well as infectious disease and NCD disease-based programmes.
  • New mechanisms and approaches to enhancing research use by communities and health systems practitioners.
Complementing sub-themes 1 and 2, this sub-theme focuses on future learning and evaluation approaches – oriented specifically to health system development. Under this theme, we might:

  • Ask what high-income countries can learn from the rest of the world, and how?
  • Interrogate the capacities and skills needed to cultivate health policy and systems research (HPSR) for a changing world, given the acute mal-distribution of teaching capacity and
  • Explore strategies for strengthening learning at local levels, to build health system resilience and responsiveness.
  • Take a critical and creative look at the current and future roles of technology and the internet in knowledge translation and health system development;
  • Examine governance, financing, priority setting and sustainability approaches and strategies for changing HPSR priorities.
If your topic does not appear to fit in one of the sub-themes but DOES clearly fit with the overall Symposium theme, include it in the ‘Other’ category and make the case for pertinence and excellence!

Abstracts in a given sub-theme may address any of the Symposium’s traditional ‘field-building dimensions’:

  • Cutting-edge research
  • Innovative research approaches and measures
  • Novel strategies for developing capacity
  • Learning communities and knowledge translation
  • Innovative practice in health systems development.

Submitting your abstract

Organized sessions

Proposals for 90-minute panel and participatory sessions is now closed. Submitters were informed of the status of their submission by February, 2016.

There are two different session types:

Participatory sessions

These can be round table discussions, debates, ‘fishbowl’ discussions, simulations, games, pyramid sessions, group modelling, or any other approach that actively encourages audience participation. We also encourage organizers to plan how to involve those not able to be physically present in Vancouver.

Panel presentations

This format is the traditional panel presentation, but organizers must allow adequate time for audience discussion and interaction.

In line with the core Symposium principles, the Scientific Committee will be asked to assess organized session on the basis of: (i) technical merit; (ii) relevance to the Symposium theme; (iii) significance for the sub-theme area and/or field-building dimension; (iv) engagement of policy-makers, managers and civil society groups (i.e. chair and those with planned roles); and (v) potential for active involvement by the audience.

Individual abstracts

Proposals for individual abstracts are now closed. Submitters will be informed of the status of their submission by early May.

Individual abstracts may be a paper, poster or e-poster (does not require attendance, but does involve a small fee). If an abstract is submitted as a paper, it may be accepted as a poster.

In line with the core principles outlined above, the Scientific Committee will be asked to assess individual abstracts on the basis of: (i) technical merit; (ii) relevance to the Symposium theme; (iii) significance to the sub-theme area and field-building dimension.

Restriction on number of presentations

In order to foster diversity, each person will be permitted to present a maximum of:

  • once in an organized session (either as chair/moderator or named contributor);
  • once in individual abstract-based sessions;
  • and once as a poster presenter, based on an accepted individual abstract.

Multiple submissions that include the same named contributor will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee, but the Programme Working Group will be responsible for finalizing abstract selection so as to maximize diversity and ensure balance across the programme.

Symposium languages

Abstracts in English, French and Spanish will be accepted. Simultaneous translation into French and Spanish will be available for all plenary sessions; simultaneous translation into French and Spanish will be available for a limited number of concurrent sessions. Posters may be produced in English, French or Spanish.

Travel support

We hope to be able to provide travel support to some participants, in particular residents of low- or middle-income countries and full-time students (from countries of all income levels). Applications for travel support will be accepted only after the results of the organized session and individual abstract review process is complete (approximately April 2016). Applications will only be accepted from those who have had an individual abstract accepted (for poster and/or oral presentation) or who are named contributors within an accepted organized session that does not have external funding. The number of scholarships offered per organized session will be dependent on funding availability.