Workshops, Networks and Projects

4th Annual Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2015 “Competences to Combat Counterfeits” 8-9 September 2015, The Kensington Close Hotel, Wrights Lane, London, UK

 Franklin Apfel gave a presentation on DAY 2 at 15:50 – Raising “counterfeit” health literacy -people, professionals and policy makers.


Where’s the pharmaceutical anti-counterfeiting technologies market heading? Counterfeit medicines issue is creating a growing threat to patients in every part of the world, with increasing numbers in Europe and the USA. Customs department in every part of the world are finding more and more illegally produced drugs in day-to-day life. [read more]


EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) First pilot training: CORDS - Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - 25-26 November 2014 Hotel Imperial, Kampala Uganda


Franklin Apfel together with Dr. Petra Dickmann and  Prof. Nigel Lightfoot is one of the facilitators during a 2-day pilot training on EBOLA – Intensified Preparedness Programme (IPP) organized by CORDS. The workshop convenes key stakeholders from several African Countries  and aims to build capacity in communication and community work to better manage the Ebola outbreak.


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 3-4 February 2015,Barcelona 

The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for early 2016. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


CORDS- Connecting Organizations for Regional Disease Surveillance - One Health workshop
10 - 12 November 2014 - Bangkok, Thailand

Franklin Apfel has been one of the facilitators during a 3-day pilot One Health workshop on Influenza H7N9 and Ebola organized by CORDS. The workshop convened key stakeholders from 7 South-Eastern Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries are part of 2 networks, MBDS (Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance) and APEIR (Asia Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research).

More videos from ONE Health workshop can be watched on CORDS Youtube Channnel


Cultural Adaptation and translation of Health- related materials

Assistance for country-tailored health communication activities to support measles and rubella elimination
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
August 2014-March 2015

WHCA, under the terms of a Framework Contract, has been working and supporting ECDC initiatives and pilot projects over the past few years. One major area of activity has been the development and adaptation of evidence-based communication tools to r support health care providers during their daily interactions with patients and/or beneficiaries around topics related to vaccination in general, and especially MMR uptake.  Activities have included coordinating the development of the ECDC guide Let’s talk about protection; the cultural adaptation of the guide and supporting materials (called guide set) in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania; the pilot testing of the guide set in three Roma communities in Bulgaria. As part of this process WHCA has helped ECDC develop guidance for cross-border adaptation of health related materials.

Over the next 8 months WHCA will support more country-led teams in adapting Let’s talk about protection plus work with Heidi Larson and colleagues at the London School of Hygiene to develop a supplement on “vaccine hesitancy” for use by relevant health care providers and public health professionals to enhance communications between providers and parents and grandparents  around vaccine preventable diseases and vaccines.

[read more about WHCA activities within the Framework contracts with ECDC]




Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative
The World Health Professions Alliance meets the journalists, Geneva,  19 May 2014

More videos on this meeting


4th ALICE RAP GENERAL PARTNERS' MEETING, 12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The WHCA Global Health and Journalism Initiative selected two students - Martin Luca de la Cruz (Faculty of Law, Padua University) and Charlotte Sexauer (MA Journalism - University of West England)  to participate in the Alice RAP meetings in Amsterdam to hear, debate and reflect on ways some scientists are trying to influence drug and addiction- related policy making in Europe and beyond through research and advocacy.

[Read more about ALICE RAP project]

Read Charlotte Sexauer's article

Read Martin Luca de la Cruz's article


Health in Europe: are we there yet? Learning from the past, building the future
13-16 November 2013, The Square, Rue Ravenstein 2, Brussels, Belgium

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA facilitated a panel on Risk Communication  for the prevention of communicable diseases: Introducing a new risk communication paradigm. Friday , 15 November from 13:30 to 15:00 Room M4.


5th Annual WHO Healthy Cities Conference, Izmir, Turkey, 20-22 September 2013

WHCA will coordinate the press conference and moderation services during the 5th “Annual Business and Technical Conference” of WHO European Healthy Cities Network and European National Healthy Cities Network.

[read more]


Population-Level Behavior Change (PLBC) Evidence Summit for Child Survival
FHI 360, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
June 3-4, 2013

Franklin Apfel, Managing Director of World Health Communication Associates, joined forces with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to launch the Behavior Change Evidence Summit for Child Survival on June 3–4 to ensure we are all doing what works best to end preventable child deaths and ensure healthy growth and development. The Summit brings together global leaders to determine what is needed to change health-related behaviors in lower and middle income countries (LMICs) and reduce under-five mortality.


Follow the summit on Twitter:

Hashtags: #GHmatters #Promise4Children


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN)meeting

Geneva, 18-23 May 2013

Four "cub reporters" have entered the stadium of the 66 World Health Assembly. They have faced and overcome some obstacles to access health information since the very first day. They are trying hard to make health information understandable to the general public in the attempt to democratise knowledge so everybody can leave the stadium and bring home some useful health information to start being a policy maker in their own homes. [read more]


ALICE RAP Steering Group Meeting, 5-7 February 2013, Barcelona



The aim of the ALICE RAP Barcelona steering meeting is to review project achievements and publications to date and agree reporting plans and the agenda and programme for the project meeting 23-25 April 2013. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.


Risk communication pilot training, 16-17 January 2013, ECDC, Stockholm

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has been coordinating the development of a risk communication training course. To this end WHCA recruited three international experts working at the forefront of research on and practice of risk communication and managed a curriculum development process. The course modules, developed through one face-to-face and five virtual meetings of the experts, were used to support the delivery of this 2-day “pilot” training course for ECDC staff.  Feedback and evaluation from this pilot testing is being used to finalise a course syllabus and inform ECDC planning for further development of the training programme.


2012 Child Safety Report Cards

On June 12, 2012 the European Child Safety Alliance of EuroSafe  launched the Child Safety Report Cards for more than 30 European countries at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with the support of MEP Malcolm Harbour Chair of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli.[read more]

The “Unofficial” World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) Action Guide to the: WHO – 65th World Health Assembly
21–26 May 2012, Geneva 

Download a copy here









Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness

Columbia University, New York City
Sunday, April 1st, 2012

WHCA participated in the Workshop on Wellbeing and Happiness which aims to reframe the way the world looks at and works for development.

[read more]


Annual meeting STI and HIV in EU/EEA
15-17 February 2012
Elite Hotel Marina Tower & ECDC

WHCA supplies facilitation and rapporteur services in this annual meeting that is meant to provide a platform for expert discussion amongst the nominated contact points for STI and HIV with respect to the recent STI and HIV surveillance reports to better understand the spread of disease and differences across EU/EEA Member States, and with respect to several ongoing projects in these disease areas initiated by ECDC.
[Read programme] ECDC website


The European Health Literacy Conference
Museum of Natural Science, Brussels November 22 -23, 2011

WHCA introduced system scorecard approach concepts to the meeting and will help with report finding dissemination. 150 people from more than 20 countries took part in the conference and discussed the developments and policy impacts of the health literacy survey results, which were launched. European Commissioner for health John Dalli opened the conference which was endorsed by several members of the European Parliament: Christofer Fjellner, Karin Kadenbach, Pat the Cope Gallagher and Antoniya Parvanova. [read more...]

The Movie of the HLS-EU project


9th International Dialogue on Population and Sustainable Development
Education Matters: Empowering Young People for a Healthy Future
Berlin, KfW, October 19 – 20, 2011

WHCA staff engaged small group activities in the Market place and  World Café sessions aimed at capturing their collective wisdom and experience in advocating, implementing, sustaining and strengthening human rights approaches to sexual and reproductive health.
[read more...]


 ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting & Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium, Lisbon, September 22, 2015 

 The ALICE RAP Final Plenary Meeting and Pre-Conference Satellite Symposium will draw together around 60 participants from a wide variety of research, clinical and policy backgrounds, and different scientific disciplines and geographical regions, to present and discuss the key preliminary findings of the 5-year ALICE RAP project (Addictions and Lifestyles in Contemporary Europe – Reframing Addictions Policy [read more]. 


 The MDG to SDG Journey! 

The Communication Initiative Network is a platform convening the communication and media for development community. Here is a thread of news and social media updates that include a variety of perspectives on the journey from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals. All intro and commentary text is my take only. Please submit through "Join the conversation", at bottom of this thread, any items that you wish to feature.


Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks, Kuopio, Finland - 24-26 June 2015

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Kuopio. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives. 

This is the first Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks in Phase VI. The WHO European Network consists of 98 cities. In addition, 30 national healthy cities networks in Europe have more than 1400 cities and towns as members. [read more]

Defeating Ebola and building up resilient health systems for a better future” - From Emergency to Development: Consolidating Efforts for a Sustainable Ebola Response towards Building Resilient Health Systems - Brussels, 4 June 2015

Background information

 This high level debate will be an opportunity to discuss the state of play of the Ebola outbreak and the global response, its medium and long-term societal implications for the most affected countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - and the role of the international community to ensure a sustainable recovery. It would also allow to discuss the conditions, resources and political commitments needed for global public health emergency response 

watch the video

 As a result of the debate, three main outcomes in terms of identification of actions, policy development, political commitment, and resources allocation resulting from the following question are expected: capacity and preparedness for future global epidemics.

Watch the video 
(# 5 on the page)

Outcome 1:

a) Which measures and policies need to be put in place or strengthened to build partnership for comprehensive emergency response in epidemics?

b) How to ensure global health preparedness at country level in implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)?

Outcome 2:

a) How to strengthen health systems fully involving communities’ participation around the principles of PHC and UHC?

b) How to re-establish the services, systems and infrastructure which have been devastated in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Outcome 3:

Which policies and commitments need to be in place to support research and development to respond to epidemics such as Ebola?




List of speakers:

 - Dr. Roberto Bertollini, WHO Representative to the EU, World Health Organization Office at the European Union

- Moderator: Dr. Franklin Apfel, Managing Director and Founding Partner, World Health Communications Associates.

 - Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization (WHO).

 - Mr Claus Sørensen, Director General, Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), European Commission.

- Dr. Joseph Caboré, Director for Programme Management, World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Africa.

MEP Linda McAvan, Chair, European Parliament's International Development Committee.

- Dr. Victor Matt-Lebby, Director of Hospitals and Laboratories, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Meinie Nicolai, President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Belgium and of MSF’s operational center in Brussels.

- Ms Rebecca Johnson, Nurse, Public Health Care Services, Sierra Leone; Ebola survivor and founder of Pink Cross, Sierra Leone.

- Ms Shakira Choonara, Future Leader, PhD Research Fellow, Centre for Health Policy (CHP), South Africa.

[read more]


WHEN 2015: Enhancing global health literacy
Towards the development of Regional Health Communication Networks
World Health Assembly 68 - Geneva, 17- 21 May 2015

Miatta Zenabu Gbanya, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Republic of Liberia is interviewed by journalists participating in the WHEN 2015.


The World Health Editors Network (WHEN) is an international and inter-disciplinary exchange and action platform for journalism and public health. WHEN is dedicated to strengthening journalism and public health communication capacity as public goods and key determinants of health.  WHEN development has been facilitated by the World Health Professional Alliance The World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) serves as secretariat to the WHEN.

Since 2007, the WHEN has convened journalists and other communicators at the World Health Assembly (WHA); helped them “enter the stadium” of this most important global health gathering; facilitated knowledge exchange and network building; and provided tools and training ( Over the past 2 years, in collaboration with CSDconsulting (Switzerland), The Newsminute(India) and Media Wise Trust (UK), WHEN has selected, sponsored, trained and mentored international journalism students attending the WHA (see

AIM of 2015 WHEN training

The aim of this year’s  training will be to raise journalist global health literacy; strengthen scientist - journalist communications; and explore the development of an African Regional Health Communication network that can enhance epidemic coverage and serve as watchdogs to monitor global health commitments.


The project will select and convene senior journalists at the WHA-68 for a training and mentoring experience that will introduce participants to this most important and underreported (!), global health arena, facilitate information gathering and catalyse relationship building with global health experts.  


WHCA partner agencies will solicit applications and recommend national and local journalists and other communicators for participation.



Journalist applicants should have:

  • 5 years experience in journalism and communication on national and/or local level;
  • Expressed interest in global health reporting- does not need be designated health reporter could be economics, trade, education, development etc. with interest in enhancing health angle of reports.
    • Extensive network of communicator contacts;
    • Excellent English language skills;
    • Agreement to work towards WHEN ethical guidelines 


All applicants are asked to provide:

  • a Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • a letter of interest,
  • writing sample and
  • a support letter from an editor or agency of intention to publish material produced as a result of participation.
A selection committee, including representatives of key partner agencies will review applications and select participants.

All training and mentoring activities are free of charge.
All participants completing the training will receive a certificate of attendance.Funds are available to cover the costs of a few selected participant journalists, especially from African countries.

For more information contact: Sabrina Cecconi, Programme Manager WHCA at


Marking 25 years of the Healthy Cities movement
2014 International Healthy Cities Conference
Athens, Greece - 22–25 October 2014

WHCA is supporting the WHO Regional Office for Europe during this annual Healthy City Network business meeting and conference in Athens that marks 25 years of the European and global Healthy Cities movement. The movement represents one of the most enduring and thriving international public health initiatives.

This Conference offers the opportunity to celebrate and take stock of the collective achievements of Healthy Cities, which are based on the leadership and creativity of hundreds of cities across Europe and around the world. It provides ample opportunities for people to share stories and use narrative exchanges as a basis for reflecting, sharing and learning from a wealth of experiences and innovative solutions. Ultimately, the Conference offers a platform for political leaders, health professionals and activists to shape their visions for the future and to renew and reinvigorate their commitment to health, sustainable development and the Healthy Cities movement.

[follow the conference]


Workshop: Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building
Chatham House - The Royal Institute of International Affairs
10 St James's Square, London
9-10 October 2014

Franklin Apfel was one of the facilitators during a two-day workshop on Key Principles of Sustainable, Safe and Secure Laboratory Capacity Building within phase II of the Chatham House project Safe and Secure Biomaterials. The workshop convened key stakeholders from engineering, science, policy and NGOs from low-, middle- and high-income countries together with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

[Chatham House website]


Pharma Anti-Counterfeiting 2014
Marriott Hotel Maida Vale, London, UK
23 -24 September 2014

Franklin Apfel will join a counterfeiting meeting and share a platform with Cyntia Genolet from Fight the Fakes. They will participate in the Morning Keynote Panel Discussion: Challenges and Opportunities and talk about campaigns and communications. The panel will discuss:

- How people and systems can protect themselves from counterfeits;

- How should organizations work together to combat the problem of counterfeiting;

- Combating the illegal sale or supply of medicines over the internet sales;

- Predicting and dealing with common pitfalls and challenges;

- Case study: learning from recent real-world examples.

Programme of the Conference


“We Love Eating” - PAU education project
Scientific board and city coordinator meeting
Barcelona, 16 June  2014

WHCA is working with PAU on its We Love Eating campaign. PAU is a company specializing in education and communication initiatives in the EU and beyond. Their projects are based on developing and sharing innovative knowledge, fostering creativity, building participatory frameworks, contributing to the quality of learning, enhancing understanding and multicultural skills, and partnering with research institutions. WHCA is focusing on working with “disadvantaged” populations.

Download the presentation


Second edition of the Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative

WHEN meetings at WHA67, Geneva,  18-23 May 2014

A new mentoring approach

Media's pH Value's Global Health and Journalism Mentoring Initiative is a independent initiative which which aims to raise the health literacyof journalists and an awareness of their roles and responsibilities to raise health literacy of others.  The initiative explores the role of communications as a determinant of public health along-with epidemiology, law and economics.  The initiative provides on-going networking support. In this way the initiative aims to catalyse interest in global health reporting and strengthen global health communication. The initiative has already benefited from the active involvement of governments, civil society, the private sector and academia.
[more information] [WHA67 videos]

The unofficial Guide to the 67th WHA

[Dr Chan's Opening address]

[Read the young journalists' articles]


12-14 May 2014, Amsterdam

The 4th ALICE RAP General Partners' meeting was held in Amsterdam at the NH Barbizon Palace. Prins Hendrikkade, 59-72. WHCA supported the project communication work and chaired the media and communication advisory group.

Monday 12 May at 19.30 – 22:00 Open Political Debate on Cannabis Policy and Regulation, De Balie debate centre, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, Amsterdam

Franz Trautmann led the organisation of a public debate between researchers, public health policy makers and politicians on cannabis policy. The discussion was led by high-level academics and political figures in the field, and took the 5th AR policy brief as its framework and starting point. Watch the debate in our Video series


Developing country capacity for the implementation of Health 2020: Briefing of consultants

8-9 January 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark WHO/UN City Auditorium I

Under contract to WHO, WHCA moderated and facilitated discussion among the participants through the use of examples based on different country scenarios with the aim of developing a common understanding of Health 2020 and the role of policy consultants in supporting countries develop and implement their policies.


Multifaceted interventions aimed at increasing vaccination uptake- pilot project,  18-21 November 2013, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has helped ECDC to facilitate the dissemination of the Bulgarian version of the Let’s talk about protection” -increasing childhood vaccine uptake communication action guide, by health care providers in selected communities in Bulgaria as a central part of a pilot project initiative to increase MMR vaccination uptake by underserved population groups.

The objectives of the intervention are to:

  1. Raise awareness of health care providers of obstacles to MMR uptake by underserved populations and ways to overcome these;
  2. Strengthen the capacity of healthcare providers in using communication tools and especially the “Let’s talk among protection” guide and accompanying flip book.
  3. Evaluate how use of different combinations of the tools (the “Let’s talk about protection” guide, flip-book and brochure) by the healthcare providers influences awareness, attitudes and behaviours of HCPs and underserved population groups.

Photo Album

Seasonal influenza vaccination “Reframing the issue”
4 November 2013, Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA will moderate and facilitate discussion among the participants who will share stories about their personal, institutional, community and national experiences of influenza vaccination related issues. __________________________________________

Risk Communication in the prevention and control of communicable diseases
An ECDC training course, Tallinn, Estonia - 2-4 October 2013

Under contract to ECDC, WHCA has facilitated the delivery of a risk communication training course to 4 EU Member States including Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania.

The overall objective of the course was to develop the capacities of public health programme managers and practitioners to analyse, understand and apply risk communication concepts, principles and approaches to the prevention and control of communicable disease threats on regional, national and/or local levels.

This training experience aimed to Raise awareness, Build competence and Translate & Adapt knowledge into concrete actions.


Media’s pH Value, 9 September 2013, New Delhi, India

On September 9, 2013 a briefing (watch this space for location and time) will be held on tobacco industry activities worldwide and in India. The briefing will be followed by a tutorial on the role of media, advocacy and communications in public health with a special focus on tobacco control.


This initiative will be partnered by Newslaundry and Who’s There? Yes (WTY), a global journalism and health mentoring initiative launched by Chitra Subramaniam Duella (Switzerland) and Dr Franklin Apfel (United Kingdom). They are united by a mutual interest in understanding journalism and public health as public goods.

Read the press release

Media's pH value organisers Chitra Subramaniam, Abhinandan Sekhri and Franklin Apfel (taking picture) meet with Jeffrey Wigand ("the Insider") and Economic Times reporter Ullekh NP discuss meeting plans for Tobacco Control Workshop in New Delhi 9 September.



Let's talk about protection: an ECDC Action Guide to enhance childhood vaccination uptake.

WHCA has helped ECDC to  coordinate a group of experts to develop content for an Action Guide on childhood immunization and different vaccines, with a special focus on MMR vaccine, targeting health professionals, parents/grandparents, underserved/poorly served population and media. [download the Action Guide from ECDC website]

WHCA has also helped ECDC in the Adapatation and Translation of the Action Guide in 4 different countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

Download Romanian version here


New! Health Literacy - The solid facts  New!

This publication makes the case for policy action to strengthen health literacy. Evidence, including the results of the European Health Literacy. Survey, is presented that supports a wider and relational whole-of-society approach to health literacy that considers both an individual’s level of health literacy and the complexities of the contexts within which people act. The data from the European Health Literacy Survey show that nearly half the Europeans surveyed have inadequate or problematic health literacy. Weak health literacy skills are associated with riskier behaviour, poorer health, less self-management and more hospitalization and costs. Strengthening health literacy has been shown to build individual and community resilience, help address health inequities and improve health and well-being. Practical and effective ways public health and other sectoral authorities and advocates can take action to strengthen health literacy in a variety of settings are identified. Specific evidence is presented for educational settings, workplaces, marketplaces, health systems, new and traditional media and political arenas.

Download the book


EU Summit on Active and Healthy Ageing: An Action Agenda for European Cities and Communities
In association with the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU
Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin, Ireland - June 13-14, 2013

The European Year for Active and Healthy Ageing and Solidarity between Generations in 2012 forms the primary foundation for the EU Summit and a platform for answering serious questions including: What are the challenges that threaten to slow the momentum and the opportunities for action?  How will European leaders create political will and support during a time of great austerity to use age-friendly cities as a key vehicle for active and healthy ageing?  How can adding two additional healthy life years become a reality?  Further, how can we drive five additional active years to life?

Conference website
Follow the summit on Twitter@AHA_2013

13 June - Opening Session of European Age-friendly Cities and Communities European Village
Franklin Apfel will present  a demo from the Digital Health Scorecard as a tool to monitor and enhance quality of life


XXVII National Congress on Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain, 5-7 June 2013

Franklin Apfel is invited to present a special session on the topic of the importance of communication in preventive medicine.
Congress website
See Programme
Download presentation


WHCA joins forces with CSDconsulting in Geneva to launch a new Journalism and Health Mentoring Initiative

WHEN meeting, Geneva, 18-23 May 2013

Who's there? Yes. Here is the "Bringing it home" team (Left to right): Rebecca Megson, Xun Lu, Lindsay Gill, Chitra Subramaniam, 
Franklin Apfel, Anand Ranganathan, Ullekh NP, Kartika Candra Dwi Susanti.

The Challenge
Finding effective ways to:

  • Enter the stadium – overcoming obstacles to health accessing information
  • Democratise knowledge – making health information understandable
  • Bring it home – enhancing the utility of health information for all.

Why Journalism and Health

Journalism and public health are public goods. Journalists are key contributors to people’s health literacy (the ability to access, assess and use information for health). Poor health literacy is associated with poor health choices, increased illnesses, higher health costs and death. Health literacy is one of the strongest predictors of health along with age, gender, ethnicity, income and empowerment. Paradoxically, journalism training does not often focus on public health and the study of public health gives low priority to the role of journalists as public health educators and informers.

Who’s there? Yes (WTY) is a new independent initiative which aims to address this paradox by raising the health literacy of journalists and an awareness of their roles and responsibilities to raise health literacy of others.  A proof of concept workshop is bringing 15 international journalists, scientists and advocates from around the world to the 66th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) for a hands-on understanding of global health policies. Through a series of meetings with key policy makers, advocates and analysts, participants will reflect and identify effective ways to gain information from and about the work and plans of WHA participants (National Public Health Authorities including Ministers of Health from 198 countries of the WHO).  While the WHA, the World Health Organisation’s apex body, is the largest gathering of public health decision makers from around the world, its public recognition remains low.

The initiative will explore the role of communications as a determinant of public health along-with epidemiology, law and economics. The curriculum will have inputs from governments, civil society, the private sector and academia. [read more]

Provisional Program
The Unofficial Guide to WHO 66th WHA


3rd ALICE RAP GENERAL PARTNERS' MEETING, 23 -25 April 2013, Barcelona

The third ALICE RAP General partners' meeting focused on Governance of Addictions and lifestyles in contemporary Europe. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group. [video]


Evidence Summit on Enhancing Child Survival and Development in Lower- and Middle-Income Countries by Achieving Population-Level Behavior Change.

13-14 February 2013, UNICEF, New York City

The U.S. Agency for International Development has invited WHCA Managing Director Franklin Apfel to be a member of an evidence review team for this Summit.

This Evidence Summit is a key outcome of the Child Survival Call to Action – A Promise Renewed, which was held in June 2012 in Washington, DC and outlined a roadmap for ending preventable child deaths.

Expected outcomes from the Summit include: 1) provision of recommendations on practices, interventions, and policies that result in sustainable population-level behavior changes to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of child survival and development interventions in low- and middle-income countries; and 2) identification of critical evidence gaps to inform a research agenda.  An evidence-to-action strategy is being developed as part of the Summit to ensure application of the principles, implement evidence-based best practices, and address critical knowledge gaps.


Cultural adaptation research workshop, 28 January 2013, ECDC, Stockholm

This cultural adaptation research training workshop was held as part of the ECDC pilot project which is adapting and translating - “Let’s talk about protection”- a vaccination communication guide for healthcare providers (HCPs) and related support documents and tools for use in in 4 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

A key activity in the project is comprehension testing which involves testing translated materials with representatives of end user groups (in this case HCPs, parents/ grandparents, “poorly reached” populations, and media/ communicators) to see if the information presented is understandable and helpful.

The comprehension phase will use two qualitative research methods – interview and focus groups. WHCA associate Nadia Oprandi provided practical training to country coordinators on ways to design, recruit, conduct and report on focus groups and interviews. The workshop aimed at ensuring that all experts involved in the project share a common understanding and set of skills on the research, so that reliable and consistent implementation in the field is ensured.


Social marketing conference 15 November 2012, London, UK

Social marketing conference 27 November 2012, Lisbon, Portugal


WHCA conducted two Focus groups with Country experts and selected other social marketing experts to review and comment on draft contents of a practical social marketing “toolbox” that it is developing under contract to ECDC. The toolbox aims to catalyse the interest and serve the needs of public health managers and practitioners in addressing communication and engagement challenges related to enhancing measles and rubella protection amongst currently un-protected and under-protected groups.


mHealth 3-5 Dec 2012, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Washington DC area

WHCA supported the presentation of The Digital Health Scorecard,a new NCD health literacy metricthat is proposed as a new globally accessible non-communicable disease (NCD) health literacy metric. It is envisioned that the DHS could serve as an easily communicable and understandable tool to:

  • enable people to easily gain reliable insights into their current state of health;
  • raise public, professional and policy maker NCD health literacy;
  • catalyse needed behavioural and policy changes on all levels;
  • monitor impact of interventions; and ,
  • help achieve agreed national and global targets.


Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health Policy Around the World
New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue New York, NY September 24, 2012

The Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Health Literacy of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences hosted a workshop on September 24, 2012 at the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City addressing Health Literacy: Improving Health, Health Systems, and Health Policy Around the World.

The Roundtable brought together leaders from academia, industry, government, foundations and associations, and representatives of patient and consumer interests to promote health literacy through mechanisms and partnerships in both the public and private sector.  Franklin Apfel was invited to participate in this meeting and gave a talk minute presentation addressing the innovative work WHCA is doing in health literacy communication. Watch the video

The Movie of the HLS-EU project


Inform, protect, immunise:  engaging underserved populations
Dublin, 4-6 September 2012

WHCA supplied facilitation and rapporteur services in this ECDC meeting that provided a forum for discussion on how knowledge and experiences could be used to stimulate the use of preventive services in the area of communicable diseases. The meeting aimed to find practical solutions to current situations, especially within the WHO measles and rubella elimination target buy 2015 and facing economic crisis challenges.[read more


Health and well-being: from an early start in life to healthy ageing
Annual Business and Technical Conference of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks
St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 14–16 June 2012

Three hundred fifty European Mayors and other political and health municipal leaders gather in St. Petersburg 14-16 June at the first-ever WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Network of European National Healthy Cities Networks conference to be held in the Russian Federation. City officials from over 35 countries in the WHO European Region will join politicians and health coordinators from 15 Russian Healthy Cities to share their practical experience in catalysing action for health and wellbeing across peoples’ life spans from a healthy start in life to healthy aging. [read more]


General partners’ meeting, Newcastle, 15-17 May 2012

The second ALICE RAP General partners' meeting focused on trans-disciplinary research, moving forward technical work in each of the seven project Areas, and setting the scientific goals of the project within a wider public health framework to improve policy for population well-being. WHCA supports project communication work and chairs the media and communication advisory group.
[Press release]
AliceRap website
Meeting Highlights on video
Computer-mediated communication video


Risk Communication Training Course Development
Focus on Measles
Stockholm 10-11 May,  2012

WHCA facilitated a meeting of risk communication experts to agree a process and content of a new ECDC training curriculum to be offered in 2013. The experts will work virtually as a team and test the curriculum with ECDC staff in October or November 2012.
Watch this space for more information.


Free thinkers for measles
Stockholm, 23-24 April 2012

WHCA supplied facilitation and rapporteur services in this ECDC meeting of public health experts and successful professionals with experience in management, marketing, campaigning and behaviour change. The purpose of the event was to generate new ideas for promoting measles vaccination in Europe. [read more]


United Nations Conference on Well-being and Happiness
New York City, April 2-4 2012

WHCA participated in the planning and communications group charged with creating an overall road map and action plan for forward movement towards the new economy, including a special event at Rio + 20, plans to communicate the vision of the new economy widely, and development of short and medium-term policies that governments can be urged to adopt to make concrete moves towards the new economy.
[read more] [video]

Press release

Statement of spiritual leaders
Plenary presentation, communication group
Pictures of the meetings (Credit, Sabrina Cecconi-WHCA)
Watch Bhutan´s Hon. Prime Minister talks


IAPO 5th Global Patients Congress
London, UK - 17-19 March 2012

WHCA moderated the panel session on Tools of Empowerment. In this session participants explored different approaches  to enhancing the action competence of people and  patients in the management of their health and disease conditions. In another session , Franklin Apfel, managing director of WHCA, gave a presentation on "Evaluating health(care) systems" as a tool for advocacy.

[read more]




Communicable disease prevention among Roma
28-29 November 2011, Rainers hotel, Vienna (Austria)

WHCA supplied background research paper, planning, facilitation and rapporteur services in this international conversational conference whose scope was two-fold:

-       to share best practices and lessons learned in improving access of Roma population to public health programs to prevent communicable diseases, by bringing together key stakeholders from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Spain with experience in working with and for Roma.

-       to provide an opportunity of identifying ways of improving health seeking behaviour and empowering Roma people to take part in the processes affecting their health considering the social, historical, cultural and behavioural context.

Thus the overall aim of the meeting was to provide a forum for discussion on how knowledge and experiences could be used to stimulate the use of preventive services in the area of communicable diseases. [read more about ECDC]


Facilitating training workshops and meetings:  an in-house communication workshop
11-12 October 2011,
ECDC, Stockholm - Sweden

WHCA has organised and conducted a 2-day workshop at ECDC.
The aims of workshop:
1. To explore the role of facilitators in training workshops and meetings.
2. To review current, and introduce alternative ways to organise and run training workshops and meetings.
3. To gain practical experience in using different facilitation and meeting organisational approaches.


Tackling seasonal flu in Europe: Success stories from European countries
13 October 2011, ECDC, Stockholm - Sweden

WHCA moderated discussions at the ECDC  2nd influenza immunisation behavioural and communication workshop that intended to identify, analyse and discuss various communication actions that — in some countries — have contributed to enhanced influenza vaccination coverage.