Public Health

The WUN Public Health Global Challenge emphasizes a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing challenges, especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations but also in developed societies where there are social disparities in risk. This focus is based on substantial evidence for the inextricable linkage between maternal, perinatal, infant, childhood factors and adult lifestyle factors that accumulate and contribute to the risk of developing NCDs later in life. It is recognised that some non-communicable diseases are linked to communicable disease and some have genetic predisposing factors.

Particular attention will be paid to both population- and individual-based approaches to increase access to education, to promote nutritional and health literacy and physical activity in children, adolescents and parents and to empowering women to reduce the burden of disease, to promote healthy ageing and to provide other benefits such as gender equality and promoting neurocognitive capacities.

The importance of socio-demographic and environmental factors underlies the importance of links with ongoing global initiatives, in particular the UN Sustainable Development Goals announced in 2015, which highlights the importance of the environment for good maternal and child health, food security, climate change and health system responses to global public health.

Steering Group

The Public Health Global Challenge Steering Group is made up of experts in the field from across the network. The Steering Group is responsible for guiding the development, focus and research portfolio of the global challenge. 

Global Challenge Chair: Professor Dr David Olson, University of Alberta, Vice Chair: Assistant Professor Roger Chung, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For more information, contact: Dr John Bell, WUN Coordinator, Email:

WUN Shanghai Declaration

At the 2011 WUN Public Health Global Challenge Conference, the WUN Shanghai Declaration on Early Life Opportunities for Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases was adopted. This declaration was fed into the agenda of the WHO and national governments, and had a significant role in influencing the content of the 2011 UN Political Declaration on NCDs with issues relating to women’s health, pregnancy, health literacy and research partnerships.