Welcome to Harstad

Professor Emeritus Børge Ytterstad

Dear participant, Welcome to Harstad 2014!

Harstad, situated 200 kilometers north of the arctic circle in Northern Norway and Safe Community since 1994, welcomes you to the 4th Regional European Safe Community Conference June 3-5 2014. A comprehensive scientific and advisory committee has been recruited from the European and Global networks of Safe Communities. Many suggestions for conference themes from politicians, academics, administrators, practitioners and field workers are much appreciated. The conference program is largely made according to these suggestions.

A major issue in Europe is the demographic change towards an increasingly ageing population and the challenge of falls and hip fractures in seniors. The morbidity and mortality of traffic accidents are another challenge. In North Western Europe the trend for traffic death rates has pointed encouragingly downward. However, in South- and East Europe - and Russia, the burden of traffic injuries still remains formidable.

From the Safe Community Movement several autonomous segments have developed: Safe Schools, Safe Hospitals, and Safe Sports. They will all share up-date knowledge with us in Harstad.

The injury prevention efforts made in our local communities have some obvious advantages for success. Inter-and intra-sector co-operation necessary for effective interventions seem to function well in small settings. National and regional injury prevention programs are also important and work in synergy with the local efforts.

Most European countries base their prevention of ill health in general according to public health programs, mostly based on the Ottawa Charter. Harstad 2014 will discuss this: How can injury prevention, under the public health umbrella, be prioritized according to the burden of ill-health that accidents and injury represent in a community?

Local data visualize this burden and is the locomotive, keeping the injury prevention train on track. Harstad has a prominent position globally regarding systematic prospective collection of Hospital injury data. Two workshops will provide for 1) Prevention of Traffic Injuries i communities and 2) Sharing knowhow on local data collection.

In the workshops and plenary sessions, experienced lecturers, recruited from the European and Global networks, will share their knowledge. In the break-out sessions you may participate with your works and experiences within the many areas of injury prevention. Abstracts from politicians, administrators, practitioners, field workers and academics are welcome. We all need to learn from you!

Our social program includes trips on land and sea in the country of the midnight sun. At the conference banquet we welcome from all participating countries a cultural performance gift to us all, be it music, dance or other.

Yours sincerely

Børge Ytterstad
Professor Emeritus
University of Tromsø
Chair Harstad 2014