Nordic School of Public Health NHV

Barbro Westerholm gaines Nordic Public Health Prize for work to fight discrimination against the elderly

Pressmeddelande   •   Jul 06, 2009 14:24 CEST

Professor Barbro Westerholm's important work for the health and well-being of the elderly has been awarded the 2009 Nordic Public Health Prize. It was conferred at the meeting of Nordic ministers for Health and Social Policy in Iceland on June 29.

"I feel deeply honored and gratified because this places the focus on age issues," says Barbro Westerholm.
Special attention was paid to her work within the framework of "Healthy Aging" at the European level.
Professor Barbro Westerholm's work to ensure that the elderly are respected as individuals and have the right of self-determination regarding their lives has been carried out at local, regional, and European levels.
The SEK 50,000 prize and a diploma are awarded annually to an individual, organization, or institution that makes a major contribution to improving Public Health in the Nordic countries. At the request of the Nordic Council of Ministers it has been conferred for the last twenty years by the Nordic School of Public Health, NHV.

The president of Nordic School of Public Health, Göran Bondjers, conferred the prize with the following statement:
   "Barbro Westerholm has made significant contributions to many aspects of Public Health science. She has carried out a great number of assignments of importance to Public Health in the Nordic countries. In particular, her work in fields such as equality and health has been substantial.
   In recent years here efforts on behalf of the health of the elderly have been especially outstanding. From 2002 to 2007 she was vice president of AGE (Older People's Platform)in the EU and was responsible for the development of the Healthy Aging program. In the Nordic context she has been active in the network for Healthy Aging. She has served as chair of the Swedish government's delegation on senior housing, which submitted its final report in December 2008 and where she worked to ensure the right of the elderly to have access to good housing.
   She has stressed both society's responsibility for the elderly and the competence that the elderly have to offer to improve the development of society.
   By awarding the Public Health Prize to Barbro Westerholm, we wish, on the one hand, to draw attention to her work for the elderly and, on the other hand, to assert the right of the elderly to good health and quality of life. Barbro Westerholm herself formulated an expressive motto for work with the elderly: Your whole live is for living, all the way."

Barbro Westerholm is working to have the European Union initiate national and local programs to prevent violence and cruelty against the elderly and to assist victims of crime.
"Age discrimination is a grave problem that employers, the business community, and politicians must take very seriously," she says.
One of her goals is to get all European countries to actively combat poor health among the elderly. She participated in work to formulate the declaration for the protection of elderly citizens that was recently adopted at the EU conference on the elderly in Prague.
Westerholm was one of the experts in this work, which has led to EU funding being provided for "Healthy Aging," a project that was initiated by the Swedish National Institute of Public Health. Ten EU countries, the WHO, EuroHealthNet, and AGE, which is an umbrella organization for the elderly in the EU, have participated.
"My role was to individuals who are released from hospitals. evaluate some of the research that lay behind the recommendations we arrived at. The content of the publication Healthy Aging is evidence-based."

Age issues are multi-faceted, and Westerholm has been active in everything from having more animals involved in care of old people in order to enhance the well-being of the elderly to bringing about functional care planning for elderly.