Health » Overview

Salzburg Global Seminar has long been a leading forum for the exchange of ideas on issues in health and health care affecting countries throughout the world. At these meetings agendas have been re-set affecting policy and practice in crucial areas, such as patient safety and the engagement of patients in medical decision making. In 2010, Salzburg Global Seminar launched a multi-year series of seminars to crystallize new approaches to global health and health care in the face of emerging challenges affecting us now and set to continue on through the coming generation.


Interviews and coverage from our Health programs

New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health - Day 2: Patient-centeredness and technology
New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health - Day 2: Patient-centeredness and technology
Louise Hallman and Jonathan Elbaz 
“Treat the person in front of you and not the schizophrenic!” – wise words from the floor during a discussion on patient-centeredness on the second day of the Salzburg Global session New Paradigms in Behavioral and Mental Health. All too often in health care provision, patients are merely seen as their diagnosis, especially when treating mental health issues. While shared decision making has been embraced in some areas of medicine, especially when considering aggressive treatments versus palliative care for terminal patients, it is poorly applied in mental health care provision. Patients might be the best placed people to determine what would the most effective treatment for them, but they are often assumed to have a diminished sense of responsibility and thus are denied personal agency. “Every time you relapse, you learn something,” insisted one Fellow who had been diagnosed as bipolar. Another Fellow who is in recovery from a teenage-diagnosis of schizophrenia told the audience, primarily of clinicians, advocates and policy-makers, that over several years, they had come to learn what can trigger their episodes, thus formulating coping mechanisms and better informing their doctors of what medication does and does not work for them. For many of the service users in the room who generously shared their own experiences, their families and communities had proven to be valuable assets in their recovery. Mental health services in many countries now strongly advocate for “care in the community.” But much like the fact that not all medications work for all people, not all patients are “lucky” enough to have supportive families and communities; in fact for some patients, these people can be a great hindrance to their recovery. Clinicians need to have the time and resources necessary to adequately consider each of their patients’ individual circumstances – a huge challenge for GPs who might only have ten minutes per consultation. New Technologies New technological tools—along with the growing ubiquity of phone access worldwide—are providing both health care practitioners and patients unprecedented abilities. Doctors can treat people remotely, decreasing costs and allowing them to treat more patients. Meanwhile, some new mobile applications allow patients in-the-moment support, like one self-management tool for schizophrenic patients that provides coping functions that help them avoid the escalation of symptoms. Thara Rangaswamy’s organization SCARF – Schizophrenia Research Foundation – created one of the world’s first mobile psychiatric treatment buses, which treats patients and dispenses medication remotely. It travels to many poor regions of India and allows psychiatric patients to talk with doctors in Chennai through a video screen. The company also leverages mobile technology with appointment reminders, alarms for taking medication, and provides emergency contact information. Some concerns about mobile health technology include questions about confidentiality, the potential for mobile apps to replace doctors and nurses, the validity of information, fighting tenuous connectivity in many regions, and the potential for mobile consultations to lead to over-medicating.
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New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health - Day 1: “I wouldn’t start from here...”
New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health - Day 1: “I wouldn’t start from here...”
Louise Hallman 
As the old joke goes: There was a man lost in the countryside and he asks a passing farmer for directions to the city; helpfully he responds, “Well, I wouldn’t start from here!” If we were to design an ideal mental health care system, we probably wouldn’t start from “here”, admitted Salzburg Global Program Director, John Lotherington in the opening session of the Salzburg Global Seminar program New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health. Mental health service provision has come a long way since the days of Victorian “insane asylums”, but the Western model (especially that of the USA) of “over-diagnosis, over-treatment, and over-medication” is hardly one to be emulated by developing countries which are expanding their mental health services provision. Even if Western medicine were the best example to follow, much evidence-based mental health care is based on the dominant cultural group of the country in which the research has been conducted, and as such should not be necessarily be applied wholesale to other minorities, communities or cultures. Individualization of care is important; there should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. So, where would be the best place to start building a better mental health service? Answers from the 70 participants – who include psychiatrists, policy makers and patients – gathered in Parker Hall included: avoid big costly hospitals, provide more community housing and support for families, introduce better information on mental health and education in schools, and ensure patients keep their sense of agency. One of the greatest challenges within mental health is stigma that the patients and their families often face in their communities and workplaces. One possible way to help reduce that stigma would be to integrate mental health better into the broader health field and to focus on mental “wellness” instead of mental “illness.” Over the next five days, through panel discussions, role play and group discussions, Fellows will consider best practices from across the world and how best to apply these to their home contexts, looking closely at human rights, patient-centeredness, new systems, existing resources and cultures, and new technologies. But they should avoid searching for a modern day panacea – even much-heralded “big data” is no silver bullet.
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New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care
New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care
Jonathan Elbaz 
More than 70 health care policy experts will gather at Schloss Leopoldskron this week to examine strategies for providing better behavioral and mental health care.  In partnership with the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, “New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care” will explore innovative approaches to fighting mental and substance use disorders—the leading causes of years lost to disability worldwide.
Even though wealthy countries lead the global mental health movement, they still exhibit systemic issues in providing treatment. Many patients face exorbitant costs, and individuals’ preferences and local culture are often disregarded and decisions come from government or industry experts.
Meanwhile, developing nations have vital opportunities to learn from Western health care systems and to avoid their pitfalls.
Program Director John Lotherington said the “New Paradigms” session will heavily emphasize empowering patients and communities through a shared decision-making approach. With shared decision-making, doctors and patients rigorously scrutinize available treatment options together and use all available evidence about treatments and their consequences.
“People often hear the phrase ‘shared decision-making’ and they think that it simply means that doctors are being nice,” Lotherington said. “But it’s a lot more than that. It means that all the options are explained and the patient and doctor reach a treatment plan together.”
“New Paradigms” marks the seventh session in Salzburg Global’s “Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century” series, which since 2010 has crystallized new approaches to solving health care challenges for present and future generations. Past sessions have focused on the right to health, innovation in health care delivery, and improving health care in developing economies.
“Salzburg Statements”— the comprehensive reports from past Health and Health Care Innovation sessions—have been presented at conferences and in venues around the world, including at the House of Commons in London, the World Health Assembly in Geneva, and the ISQua African Regional Meeting in Accra.
The upcoming session October 7-12 gathers policy experts from five continents, including Fellows from Peru, Columbia, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, India, Germany, the UK, China, South Korea and Balkan countries. Some U.S. representatives come from Native American communities, which Lotherington said will add a fresh and important perspective to the discussions.
The first half of the session will revolve around plenary discussions presented through an interview format. Fellows will then participate in a “knowledge café,” an exercise of “intellectual speed dating” where they’ll be placed in three intimate discussions that cover a variety of topics, such as health care in post-conflict countries and depression management.
Later, Fellows will convene according to their countries to develop action plans that outline the next steps needed for positive change. In both developed and developing economies, mental and behavioral health care can be improved by empowering citizens and families, training more health care workers, decreasing the reliance on prescribed medication, and by utilizing emerging health technology.
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Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Re-envisioning Salzburg Global Seminar
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Salzburg Global Seminar proudly presents its new periodical, The Salzburg Global Chronicle. Replacing the traditional annual President’s Report, the new publication “chronicles” Salzburg Global’s programs at Schloss Leopoldskron and around the world, including profiles on both “up-and-coming” leaders and high profile Salzburg Global Fellows, and features on the impact Salzburg Global Seminar, its programs, staff and Fellows have in the world beyond the Schloss.

Highlights include:

15 Faces for the Future  

Salzburg Global Seminar’s mission is to challenge current and future leaders to tackle problems of global concern. To this end, Salzburg Global brings young, emerging leaders to Schloss Leopoldskron, not only for our Academies programs, but for every Salzburg Global session. Nearly 500 of our 1844 Fellows who attended sessions between 2011 and 2013 were under the age of 40, in addition to the more than 800 Academies participants. Below are just 15 of our remarkable young Fellows.

The Power of Partnership 

Salzburg Global Seminar’s programs would not happen without our partners. Partners provide not only the intellectual capital and input to drive the session forward but often the much needed financial capital necessary to bring Fellows and faculty to Salzburg. But what do partners get out of working with Salzburg Global?

A Distinct History, a Universal Message  

For three days, at a palace once home to the local Nazi party leader, experts from across the globe considered the value of Holocaust education in a global context at a symposium hosted by Salzburg Global and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. They proved the Holocaust is more than just a European or Jewish experience.

Strength in Diversity 

LGBT rights are moving up the international agenda, and while progress is being made, at the same time some countries are passing increasingly regressive laws. In June 2013, Salzburg Global convened its first ever Salzburg Global LGBT Forum addressing LGBT and Human Rights: New Challenges, Next Steps, starting a truly global conversation.

An Unlikely Constellation of Partners  

Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Appalachian College Association, member institutions of which serve predominantly white students, do not seem like the most obvious of partners. But this did not stop them from coming together to transform their schools into sites of global citizenship through the Salzburg Global Seminar-led, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Mellon Fellow Community Initiative.

Media Change Makers

Since helping to launch the program in 2007, Salzburg Global President Stephen L. Salyer has taken a hands-on role in the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change: helping to devise the program, delivering lectures and mentoring students. This year, he met with student representatives from each region represented at the eighth annual program to find out how the Academy is helping shape them. The Chronicle is available online at chronicle2013.salzburgglobal.org and to download as a PDF and in our ISSUU Library    Download the Salzburg Global Chronicle as a PDF Print copies are available at Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron and all upcoming Salzburg Global Seminar events and programs.
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Impact Story: Ayman Sabae
Impact Story: Ayman Sabae
Salzburg Global Staff 
Ayman first came to Salzburg Global Seminar in 2012, for the session "Making Health Care Better in Low and Middle Income Economies." At the time, he was studying for his masters in international healthcare systems management. Since 2012, Ayman has attended a further two sessions as part of Salzburg Global's long-running Health and Health Care Innovation series. At 30 years old, Ayman is a perfect example of a rising young leader. In Salzburg, he has gone from a master's student listening to older experts, to helping to lead discussions from the front of Parker Hall. In Egypt, since the revolution in 2011, Ayman has moved his focus from working as a doctor and healing people, to healing the health care system at large. He now works with a number of NGOs in Egypt. Ayman also founded his own organization working to establish innovative community health care systems in the country. His work is partly inspired by the Minister for Health in Rwanda - someone Ayman was able to have contact with through his Salzburg Global experiences. In Salzburg, besides meeting health care experts from around the globe, Ayman was also able to meet a fellow Egyptian who later served as the Minister for Health. As well as working with senior colleagues, Ayman also spends a lot of time getting other young people involved in the future of health care, and he would encourage them too to travel to Salzburg.
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Salzburg Global 2014 Program now available online
Salzburg Global 2014 Program now available online
Oscar Tollast 
Salzburg Global’s 2014 Program will feature over 25 distinctive sessions and workshops inspired by three interdependent values: Imagination, Sustainability and Justice. The three values underpin Salzburg Global’s new program ‘clusters’ and aim to form the foundations for global citizenship. Under these ‘clusters’, a number of topics will be discussed. For example, participants will be asked how societies can renew their education, how to improve life chances for present and future generations, or examine how societies can reframe responsibilities. The 2014 Program brings together distinctive multi-year projects and partnerships with the common goal of promoting vision, courage and leadership to tackle the most complex challenges of a globalized society. The Salzburg Academies – covering Global Citizenship, Media and Global Change, and the Future of International Law – will continue to prepare outstanding young people with the skills to drive change. Salzburg Global Seminar remains determined in breaking down barriers separating people and ideas. It spans the world’s regions and challenges countries at all stage of development and institutions across all sectors to rethink their relationship and identify shared interests and goals. The program is available for download as PDF. 2014 Program Brochure
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Ilirjana Bajraktari: "Great momentum" given to the issue of the right to health
Ilirjana Bajraktari: "Great momentum" given to the issue of the right to health
Oscar Tollast 
The founder of Healthcare Professionals for Peace and Social Responsibility of Kosovo believes a Salzburg Global session has given “great momentum” to the issue of the right to health. Ilirjana Bajraktari spoke to Salzburg Global whilst attending a session co-sponsored by The Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and the World Bank Institute. Dr Bajraktari said: “Right to health should mean a right to high value care that will ensure that patients are an integral part of the design and delivery process. “It has been a valuable experience to hear different models of how you engage all the stakeholders, including the patients, in the process of care design and care delivery.” Dr Bajraktari’s organization promotes values in healthcare in Kosovo and social responsibility among healthcare professionals. Prior to this, Dr Bajraktari worked with the World Health Organization as national professional officer for health systems and policy. She now advises the Ministry of Health of Kosovo as part of a larger group on population health matters, a subject she has extensively studied. “During the time I’ve been studying medicine, I have always had the feeling that treating the patients on an everyday basis is not sufficient. “I took that courage to explore further what ways we could improve the health of a population by applying concepts that ensure the participation of them, as recipients of care in those systems.” Dr Bajraktari is currently enrolled in a master’s program on health care delivery science with Dartmouth College, exploring patients’ empowerment in limited resource settings. During the five-day session at Salzburg Global entitled, ‘The Drive for Universal Health Coverage’, Dr Bajraktari worked in a small group analyzing Kosovo’s health care system. “Our group was focused on identifying activities and actions to improve mother and child health in Kosovo. “Despite improvements in the last decade and [whilst] much effort has been put in by local - as well as international - organizations, mother and child health indicators continue to be not at a satisfactory level.” Participants then had to present their findings to Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health of Rwanda. Dr Bajraktari stepped up to ask the minister a question about a topic their group had been concerned about. “I was entrusted to understand the ways of how you engage in a sustainable way patients in the care and design, and care delivery process. “Her perspective was that in Rwanda you tried to engage the community from the beginning onwards. “Instead of going there with an answer on how to solve the issues, you raise questions, which is very much in line with what our country aims to do in its efforts to improve mother and child health.” Dr Bajraktari said the session had been a very useful experience. “[The session] developed a spirit of engagement that goes beyond the national level. It’s cross-boarder engagement - a global engagement - that helps us see the things not only from a local perspective but also the implications in the whole society.”
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