14th International Congress on Circumpolar Health
Yellowknife, NT – July 11-16, 2009
Six hundred health professionals, researchers, indigenous representatives, and government officials from Canada, Greenland, Denmark, USA, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and other countries interested in circumpolar health gathered in Yellowknife, NWT, Canada on July 11-16, 2009, to share health related research findings and program successes that will improve the quality of life for those living in circumpolar regions. The week-long event featured thought-provoking keynote addresses, workshops, information sessions, social activities, and networking activities that provided many opportunities for scientific, artistic, cultural, and social exchanges.
The International Congress, came at a special time as it closely followed the conclusion of the International Polar Year (IPY) www.ipy.org, a research initiative that takes place once every fifty years. From March 2007 to 2009, countries and communities have focused their attention on health and wellbeing and environmental issues in the circumpolar world. The theme of the congress recognized the end of the Polar Year and spoke to Securing the IPY Legacy: From Research to Action.
While results from much of the research conducted over the polar years are still pending, the congress programme contained a broad cross section of presenters, sessions and included some preliminary results from the International Polar Years. The sessions allowed for complimentary perspectives of researchers, clinicians, community representatives and governments on numerous topics which impact public health, health services delivery, the research process and Indigenous wellness in our circumpolar regions. Presentations demonstrated instances where research findings are applied in numerous settings, with uptake by clinicians, community organizations and governments. Presentations also recognized the contributions of numerous stakeholders through the research process with a particular focus on community engagement and participatory methods.
In addition to the focused sessions during the congress, the meetings, cultural events and social gatherings provided opportunities for networking and development of partnerships to support the ongoing uptake and enhancement of evidence as it applies to health and wellbeing in circumpolar regions. It is these partnerships which will contribute significantly to securing the IPY legacy and contribute to the creation of a forum where research can be turned into practical and applicable health care approaches and practices that can be sustained over the long term in our circumpolar regions.
Finally, but not lastly, the congress connected participants with the people, places, and experiences that make northern Canada spectacular and showcased the cultural richness and diversity of Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories, and the Canadian North. At the Weledeh Feast, the Northern Cultural Gala, and the specially-erected Teepee throughout the conference, local and regional aboriginal voices were front and centre, sharing knowledge, practices, and culture amongst the participants from the entire circumpolar world.
A special thank you to all the members of the planning committees who took extra attention to provide such a welcoming venue!
The congress website www.icch2009.com will be maintained in perpetuity as a living repository of congress-related information. Currently available are:
- streaming audio podcasts of keynote presentations
- photo galleries of the congress
- listings of award winners
- facebook pages for continued networking
The proceedings book is currently being prepared for publication in conjunction with the International Journal on Circumpolar Health. In addition to abstracts and submitted articles, the book will include various social glimpses of ICCH14.