Ilona Kickbusch

"With the Ottawa Charter, the health promotion community has initiated the third public health revolution and heralded a new public health, which considers health ‘a resource for living’, places it firmly within the context of everyday life and has empowerment at its very core." 

Health Promotion

The Ottawa Charter

During her distinguished career with the World Health Organization Ilona Kickbusch contributed significantly to the development of the new field of health promotion. She initiated the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986, which has become a seminal document of the new public health. She was the initiator of the WHO Healthy Cities project and other worldwide initiatives such as health promoting schools and heath promoting hospitals now known as the setting approach in health promotion.

She was the founder of the journal Health Promotion International in 1986 and serves as the Chair Emerita of the editorial board. In December 2021 the Director General of WHO awarded her the WHO medal in recognition of her role in the development of the Ottawa Charter for Health promotion an her contributions to global health.

She continues to be fully involved in health promotion development and
serves on a wide range of boards and advisory groups related to health
promotion as well as advising health promotion organisations and
foundations. She was widely engaged in the celebrations of 25 years of the Ottawa Charter in 2011. She contributed significantly to the preparation of the 9th Global Conference on Health Promotion which took place November 2016 in Shanghai, China and was engaged in the 10th global conference on health promotion which developed the Geneva Charter

Reflecting on health promotion history

At the RIO Ministerial Conference on Social Determinants of Health a special conversation took place to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Ottawa Charter: Reflections on Social Determinants of Health - Discussion with Michael Marmot, University College London, Paulo Buss, FIOCRUZ, Brazil and Ilona Kickbusch, Graduate Institute, Switzerland.
Health Promotion in Canada: critical perspectives on practice has been published. Ilona Kickbusch has contributed the Afterword: Understanding the Rhizome Effect: Health promotion in the 21st Century. You can find it here.

The commercial and political determinants of health

Ilona Kickbusch is presently especially interested in analyzing the commercial and political determinants of health. Here are some examples:

  • The Commercial Determinants of Health
  • The political determinants of health - ten years on. BMJ 2015; 35.h81
  • Addressing the interface of the political and commercial determinants of health; in Health Promotion International (2012); 27 (4); pp. 427-428
  • 21st century determinants of health and wellbeing: a new challenge for health promotion; in: Global Health Promotion 2012; 19:5