The 2019 edition: our 28th!

26-31 August

Courses | Plenaries | Networking activities|Poster presentations

At the Lugano Summer School public health professionals, researchers and graduate students learn together through mutual exchange in a stimulating and beautiful environment. The Lugano Summer School places health, disease, and health systems thinking under one common framework of coherent concepts and practical implications. The focus on public health policy, economics and management combined with the diversity of students and facilitators has provided for a rich learning environment for over 2 decades so far. The insights gained and networks created serve as an opportunity to reduce and prevent the gap between public health theory and practice.

We have two pricing structures; one for participants from low income countries and another for those from middle and high income countries. All can benefit from early bird rates. Discounts are available for those enrolling in two 3-day courses and for SSPH+ students.

In the last edition of the SSPH+ Lugano Summer School (LSS), we introduced the first ever poster session where participants shared their work with others. It was a great success that included 32 posters from 18 countries. For this year, we again invite all participants to submit a poster of their work or of a specific project. This is not a requirement, but we know it is a nice way to exchange projects, research, and activities among participants and faculty.
Each day several printed posters will be hung for all to view at their leisure and during the morning social events.
Submission deadline: June 15, 2019, to


Three 6-day courses & nine 3-day courses from 26-31 August

6 day course =  2 ECTS. 3 day course = 1 ECTS.

The courses of the SSPH+ Lugano Summer School are acknowledged by the SGPG (Schweizerische Gesellschaft der Fachärztinnen und -ärzte für Prävention und Gesundheitswesen / Società svizzera dei medici specialisti in prevenzione e salute pubblica) as an advanced training.

The courses are awarded 19 FMH credits (3 day courses) / 38 FMH credits (6 day courses).

To earn credit, participants must attend courses & plenaries and pass the final assessment.


6 Day Courses: Monday-Saturday

3 Day Courses: Monday – Wednesday

3 Day Courses: Thursday – Saturday


9-10:30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

Four mornings start with plenary sessions in the auditorium.  These consist of two experts and a moderator who discuss a pressing topic in public health today.

Attendance is required for students. These plenaries are open to the public.

Monday: "Barriers to and implementation of comprehensive mental health care"

Moderator. Prof. Emiliano Albanese MD, PhD, Università della Svizzera italiana, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences (CH)



Considering that:

  • very little evidence exists to show substantial reduction in the mental health treatment gap
  • resources allocated to mental health remain very low
  • when treatment for poor mental health is sought, it is made available insufficiently, inefficiently, and its quality is generally poor.
  • human rights violations in the community, and in health services still represent a global emergency.


The Plenary will analyse and discuss the main barriers to the implementation of human and cost-effective mental health systems and services.

The main potential implementation drivers to address these barriers will be also discussed, including:

  • Reframing mental health classification and treatment from a dichotomic approach (i.e. presence vs. absence of disease) to a dimensional approach of diffuse non-specific symptoms;
  • Adopting a convergent model: from exclusive biomedical to a social suffering approach which implies comprehensive social responses;
  • Shifting resources from hospital base to community base models; ,
  • Integrating mental health into priority health service delivery platforms that favor a holistic approach from diagnosis to healthcare provision
  • Presenting a country-level example that is currently in the process of reforming the Mental Health System in line with the above
Tuesday: "Air pollution and health: Linking research with policy"

Moderator: Prof. Nino Künzli, MD, PhD, Director Swiss School of Public Health and Deputy Director and Head of Department (SSPH+), Swiss TPH (CH)



Students will get an insight into the global challenges of ambient air pollution, its relevance for health and the possible solutions to the problem. A closer look at the last 40 years of Swiss clean air strategies and its possible global relevance will be discussed.

Thursday: "Social Marketing: What it is and why it matters to Public Health"

Social marketing is a discipline born in the 1970’s to focus on understanding human behaviors that help and/or hinder the well-being of individuals, communities, and societies. Starting with its roots in reproductive health, social marketing has grown to cover some of the most wicked social problems we face today, including those addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals among others. Social marketing is an approach to achieving social change that focuses on changing human behaviors, by influencing the determinants of those behavior (e.g., individual, social, economic, environmental). It is recommended in various health policies to address some of today’s most challenging problems, including NCDs and vaccination uptake. But, what is it and what does it mean for public health researchers, practitioners and policy influencers? This sessions aims to answer those questions.

In this plenary, Prof. Dr. L. Suzanne Suggs will start by providing an introduction to social marketing, describe its history and aims and its relevance to the LSS participants. Next, Prof. Jeff French will describe the nature and value of applying social marketing in the field of public health promotion. He will provide insights into why social marketing works, and how it can be used to achieve public health goals. Dr. Julie Huibregtsen will next talk about how social marketing has been embraced and can be incorporated inside local government public health departments by sharing her experiences in working in the Netherlands and with other countries. Case examples will be provided throughout the plenary to illustrate social marketing work. At the end, we welcome a moderated discussion and exchanges with the panel and the participants of the SSPH+ LSS.


Friday: "'There are many roads to UHC' – a timely discussion on Universal Health Coverage"

Moderator: Dr. Karin Gross, Health policy advisor Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), (CH)



Universal health coverage (UHC) aims to ensure that all people have equitable access to quality essential services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them. UHC, thus, combines efforts to improve primary health care, including prevention measures, health promotion, long-term care and broader public health approaches with health financing, quality and equity aspects. This provides a promising way towards improving health and wellbeing for all and is a critical driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development.

However, evidence shows that at least half of the world’s population still do not have full coverage of essential health services because of  insufficient healthcare funding, weak health systems, lack of access to affordable medical products and services of high quality, and insufficient skilled human health resources.  About 100 million people are still being pushed into poverty because of health care costs.

While almost all countries in the world aspire to reach the goal of UHC, some countries do better in providing universal health coverage to its populations while others do worse.

In September 2019, the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on UHC will be hold during the 2019 United Nations General Assembly. Resulting in a Political Declaration on UHC, negotiated by Member States and endorsed by Heads of State, it provides an opportunity to secure political commitment from Heads of State and Government for global efforts to provide universal access to affordable and quality health-care services, in line with SDG target 3.8.

This plenary on the topic of UHC aims at discussing the main bottlenecks of achieving UHC and the different roads that countries are taking in achieving it from a global and a national perspective. It will further discuss the expectations towards the High-Level Meeting on UHC in securing renewed commitment in improving universal health coverage.

The plenary seeks to answer the following questions:  

  • What do we mean by UHC?
  • Why is achieving UHC so difficult? What are the main bottlenecks of achieving UHC?
  • What are the different roads towards UHC? How do countries decide on UHC in the face of limited health funding and scarce resources?
  • To what extend can the High Level Meeting on UHC planned for September 2019 in New York help to secure political commitment for UHC and what are the current discussions around UHC in the forefront of the HLM?

Networking events

Each morning particpants meet over coffee and healthy snacks in a covered space where posters of projects from around the globe are also displayed. On Monday and Thursday evenings cultural events at the lake offer exciting opportunities to exchange knowledge and experiences, bulid networks, and enjoy the sights in Lugano.


Every morning: 10:30-11:00

Coffee & Snacks in the outdoor space

Monday: 18:30

Social event at Ciani Restaurant

Thursday: 18:30

Social event at  Al Lido Restaurant

Institute of Public Health and Institute of Communication and Public Policy