Past Program


Optimizing children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive health and well-being is a goal in itself that also lays the foundations for long-term health of individuals, communities and societies. In today’s world, wide outcome variations can be mapped by location, income and origin. Poor health in early years further widens racial, social and economic gaps. Building a culture of health for all children requires there is shared mindset across a population that inherently values and prioritizes “our kids over my kids.”  

There is compelling evidence that concerted investment in early childhood development and education generates high social and economic returns. However, such investments are vulnerable to resource competition and have been diminishing in many countries. Conversely, some countries have justified such investments through appropriate public debate, backed up by demonstration of long-term benefits and management of political and financial trade-offs.  Successfully establishing why investing in children matters for all is what moves the needle in ensuring long term stable and financial investments in these types of programs that have proven to be so fundamental in a child’s future health and well-being. 

Early childhood programs need to be integrated into ongoing support for child health and well-being in later years and placed in the context of inter-generational health, taking particular account of maternal and family stress. This needs support at both the macro level - with societal demand stimulating political and socio-economic action - and the micro level, to help families engage with community resources, co-create better health pathways, and enable children to overcome adverse experience and trauma.

Schools have unique potential to enhance child well-being holistically through curricula, play, sports and food. Many countries leverage schools as a place to reach, serve and support families through a multitude of policies and programs.  Schools impact children directly and through outreach to families and they play a pivotal role in developing a community culture of health to help all children flourish.   What are the best practices for establishing this as a norm and value for an entire population?  How can these best practices and methods be translated across countries and communities? 

Building on Salzburg Global’s long-standing series on health systems transformation, this program will enable participants from across the world to review strategies and adapt them to different contexts to shift social norms and investment priorities. This seminar will seek to understand how to best empower families, schools, service providers, and policy makers to create healthy environments for all children and in turn establish a shared value across a population for young people. 


Virtual Library

Adverse Childhood Experiences, Resilience and Trauma Informed Care: A Public Health Approach to Understanding and Responding to Adversity. The Annual Report of the Director of Public Health. 2018. NHS Scotland.

Ballon M, J. Botton and others. Socioeconomic Inequalities in Weight, Height and Body Mass Index from Bith to 5 years. International Journal of Obesity. 17 August 2018.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. Whole Family Approach. Bernard Van Leer Foundation, The Aspen Institute,

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change. Centre on the Developing Child. Harvard University. 14 May 2013.

Early Year Challenges. Supporting parents to give tamariki a great start in life. Summary Report, October 2017. The Southern Initiative.

Florida, Richard. How ‘Social Infrastructure’ Can Knit America Together. CITYLAB, 11 September, 2018.

Fox, Stacey, and others. Better Systems, Better Chances: A Review of Research and Practice for Prevention and Early Intervention. Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, 2015.

Hannah, Margaret. Exploring Five Waves of Public Health. International Futures Forum.

Kane, Martina; Jo Bibby. Listening to our Future: Early findings from the Health Foundation's Youg People's future health inquiry. The Health Foundation, June 2018.

Making Tomorrow Better Together. Report of the Two-Generation Outcomes Working Group. Ascend. The Aspen Institute.

Moore, T.G., Arefadib, N., Deery, A., & West, S. (2017). The First Thousand Days: An Evidence Paper. Parkville, Victoria: Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Noonan, Rob. Child obesity is linked to deprivation, so why do poor parents still cop the blame? The Conversation, November 22, 2018

Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development: A Framework for Helping Children Survive and Thrive to Transform Health and Human Potential. World Health Organization, 2018

Parenting to Prevent and Heal ACEs. ACEs Connection, 2018

Perez-Escamilla, and others. Prevention of childhood obesity and food policies in Latin America: from research to practice. Obesity Reviews 18, July 2017.

Powis, Stephen. "Grasping the Nettle": how can we transform outpatient care. Royal College of Physicians, 15 November 2018.

Ring- Dimitriou, Susanne. SALTO - Salzburg Against Obesity, 14 March 2018

Ring- Dimitriou, Susanne et al. SALTO – Study Protocol and Rationale of a Community-Oriented Obesity Prevention Program in the Kindergarten, 30 June 2018 

Stevens, Jane. The Adverse Childhood Experiences STudy - the largest most important public helath study you never heard of - began in an obesity clinic, ACES Too High, October 3, 2012

Stevens, Jane. ACES Science 101 (FAQs), November 1, 2017

Stevens, Jane. Selection of  Articles on ACEs & Obesity, 2018

The Nest. A National Plan for Child and Youth Wellbeing. Aracy.

Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families. Center on the Developing Child. Harvard University.

Understanding ACEs. ACEs Connection, 2018

White, Roxane, and others. States Leading the Way. Practical Solutions that Lift Up Children and Families. Ascend. The Aspen Institute.

Session Format

The five-day highly-interactive program, held at Schloss Leopoldskron, home of Salzburg Global Seminar, will prioritize opportunities for cross-border sharing and learning. Participants will focus on building new insights and aggregating perspectives and experiences from relevant sectors, areas of expertise and regions. Working groups, each with a thematic and/or country focus, will prepare recommendations for action by different target audiences.

Participant Profile

This program will bring together 60 innovators and stakeholders from around the world who have engaged families, communities and policy-makers in integrated approaches to support child health and well-being. The group will span perspectives from community and civil society organizations; education, psychology and behavioral science; urban planning and green space; sport and recreation; local and national government; business and the media; and philanthropy.

Key Questions

  • What specific innovations, policies, and practices around the world have successfully developed new approaches and achieved better, more equitable outcomes for children's physical, social, and emotional health?
  • What are the drivers of a strong sense of collective responsibility for the health and well-being of all children and their families, and of a commitment to equity with respect to economic, ethnic and/or migrant status?
  • What points of intervention can most effectively disrupt the cycle of marginalization and poor health affecting some children and families?
  • How can schools and educational policy-makers take action to improve child well-being in schools in resource-efficient ways, aligned with the growing emphasis in schools on social and emotional learning and 'whole child' policies?
  • Which innovations in the use of social media and peer group initiatives best support child health and wellbeing and help establish a shared value for all children?

Outcomes and Impact

  • Seed new and innovative approaches through international and cross-border exchange and the transmission of best practice.
  • Initiate networking and collaborations among participants and the institutions they represent.
  • Co-create action plans designed and agreed by participants for them to take forward as appropriate at local and regional levels, and to leverage the global scope of the project to influence public opinion and democratic debate and policy making, through agenda-setting articles published as part of a media partnership with the British Medical Journal.

Session Brochure

The session brochure can be downloaded here

Multi-Year Series


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 – Health and Health Care Innovation in the 21st Century – 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.

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