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May 21st 2019

Latest Glasgow Convention Bureau initiative leads way

Heather Lishman image by Heather Lishman

Championing public health in Glasgow and delivering legacy benefits to local residents from hosting major medical meetings in the city are at the heart of a new initiative being led by Glasgow Convention Bureau.

2019 is a milestone year for medical association conferences converging in Glasgow, with 13 taking place through to November, which will bring more than 20,000 UK and international delegates to Scotland’s largest city.

Together with support from the Scottish Government, the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), local industry and the city’s academic community, Glasgow Convention Bureau has launched its People Make Glasgow Healthier campaign; reflecting the city’s award-winning People Make Glasgow brand.

The initiative is geared at taking key themes and messages – from the likes of obesity and organ donation to smoking cessation and cancer research – beyond the walls of convention venues and into communities; informing and empowering citizens.

Aileen Crawford, Head of Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “People Make Glasgow Healthier is a platform for medical associations to really engage with the people of Glasgow through a varied range of activities. It’s about bringing positive and informed health messages to our citizens and encouraging real-world interactions that extend beyond conference seminars to deliver a genuine and lasting legacy from hosting these meetings.

“Glasgow has a proud history of medical innovation that continues to this day, through world-leading research from our universities. Together with our city and national partners, Glasgow Convention Bureau is leading the way in which conferences can realise tangible benefits for their host destination which go beyond the bottom line for our tourism economy.”

The People Make Glasgow Healthier campaign started in March this year with the arrival of the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare, which took place at the SEC.

Beyond the success of the conference itself – which attracted a record number of delegates from over 70 countries – the organisers together with city partners and the Scottish Government ran a Health Week at venues across the city.

Local health groups and volunteers were engaged to provide advice and information, with activity including a ‘Quit Your Way’ smoking cessation event and organ donation registration teams, reaching more than 1,000 members of the public and resulting in 50 new registered organ donors.

Scottish Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, said: “As one of the world’s foremost healthcare conferences, we felt it was really important that the presence of the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Glasgow had a positive impact on the people of the city.

“That is why we were very keen to have some of our cutting-edge public health campaigns on show while the forum was underway. Our CPR Ready, organ donation and smoking cessation campaigns were showcased in various locations and generated positive interest from local citizens.”

The European Congress on Obesity, which took place at the SEC last month also engaged with the People Make Glasgow Healthier initiative through a public event at the Glasgow Science Centre.

Managed by the University of Glasgow, in collaboration with Glasgow Convention Bureau, the event presented research on population health, childhood obesity and physical activity to Science Centre visitors. Attractions for the public included a pedometer step challenge, with

260 children and adults taking part.

Gillian Bell Engagement and Communications Officer, Public Health Sciences, University of Glasgow, commented: “We were really grateful to Glasgow Convention Bureau for giving us the opportunity to extend the reach of the European Congress on Obesity to the general public.

“With such a major conference happening in the city, we were keen to engage a non-academic audience with the University of Glasgow’s research around obesity, physical activity and population health. Glasgow Science Centre was the ideal venue to get children, parents and tourists visiting our stands and taking part in our activities to help build a healthier city.”

Euan Woodward, Executive Director, European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), added: “EASO is the voice of the European obesity community, representing scientists, health care practitioners, physicians, public health experts and patients. Our European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, brought together colleagues from every area of obesity research, prevention and management. A key mission for EASO is to advocate obesity as an urgent and relevant health priority to policymakers, research funders, health professionals, the media and the public.

“We were delighted when Glasgow Convention Bureau approached us with the idea of activating our public health message to the people of Glasgow, while the congress was taking place. The resulting family activity day, delivered by the University of Glasgow at the Glasgow Science Centre was an excellent example of the positive health impact a conference can bring to a destination.”

There are 10 major medical conferences still to meet in Glasgow in 2019:

  • Royal College of Ophthalmologists from 20-23 May;
  • European Society for Paediatric Gastro, Hepatology and Nutrition from 5-8 June;
  • British Society for Gastroenterology from 17-20 June;
  • British Association of Urological Surgeons from 24-26 June;
  • International Association for Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from 6-9 August;
  • British Association for the Study of the Liver from 17-20 September;
  • British Orthodontic Society from 19-21 September;
  • National Cancer Research Institute from 3-5 November;
  • UNICEF Baby Friendly Congress from 15-16 November;
  • British Association for Sports and Exercise Medicine from 21-22 November.
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