Health Challenge Think Tanks

Health Challenge Think Tanks, launched by Professor Laurette Dubé, were a series of annual conferences designed to get leading academics, business leaders and policy makers to explore the convergence of health and economics and encourage the development of policies that would lead to healthier lifestyles. These Health Challenge Think Tanks led to the “whole of society” model of health and economic convergence. This model underpins the MCCHE’s mission and goals, recognizing that health and dietary behavior is influenced by a number of socio-economic and biological factors.

2009 Health Challenge Think Tank

In 2009, experts focused on examining business, social, and health innovation and technology as well as collective action to improve universal access to:

  • Food and nutrition security.
  • Credit and economic empowerment.
  • Sustainable places and communities.
  • Health-promoting work environments.

All topics focused specifically on the poor in both developed and developing countries. 

These themes were chosen because all are tied to the immediate and concrete needs of underserved populations that, if mainstreamed into business’ value-producing activities and strategies with a convergence of social and economic goals, could be more powerfully addressed than they have been thus far with traditional corporate social responsibility. 


2008 Health Challenge Think Tank

In 2008, experts focused on identifying leverage points for change to promote active living and energy balance, specifically focusing on four themes:

  1. Why kids and teenagers move or don’t move.
  2. Shaping individual behaviour and microenvironments.
  3. Shaping homes, schools and communities.
  4. Shaping cities and regional planning systems.


2007 Health Challenge Think Tank

The objective of the 2007 Health Challenge Think Tank was to identify points for change along local and global food chains to shift the drivers of supply and demand away from the current focus on quantity, high-yield/high-caloric content and low-cost/low-price products, to an emphasis on quality and diversity.

This think tank demonstrated more compelling than ever that halting the childhood obesity epidemic worldwide requires revisiting some of society’s basic parameters to ensure a better convergence between consumption, business, and economics on the one hand, and the social domains of environment, health, education, and culture on the other. This calls for “health-friendly” policy interventions that are logistically, economically, and culturally sustainable for individuals, organizations, and governments at a global level.

Reaching the scale, scope, and speed of changes needed to halt childhood obesity also calls for social, business, and market innovation as much as for grassroots action and behaviour change from individuals.


2006 Health Challenge Think Tank

Forging a Societal Action plan in Preventing Childhood Obesity Around the World

This 2006 McGill Integrative Health Challenge Think Tank convened leading academics, professionals, and decision-and policy-makers. Participants forged the draft version of a societal plan for childhood obesity prevention currently in the making by the Global Prevention Alliance, a partnership among five international medical associations that work in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.

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