Health by the people: a colloquium to celebrate the life of Ken Newell



Professor Ken Newell influenced many people during his life. In March 2000, it will be ten years since he died. This seems an appropriate moment to reflect on his life, celebrate what he achieved, and to explore his continuing influence on international health.

Always an innovator, Ken Newell influenced the direction of thinking in international health in recent decades. He was a driving force behind the concept of primary health care and bravely challenged fashionable views whilst subjecting traditional theories to critical analysis.

Ken Newell worked at WHO headquarters in Geneva for ten years, founding the Division of Research in Epidemiology and Communications Science, and acting as Director of the Division for Strengthening of Health Services from 1971 to 1977.

After spending time in his native New Zealand, he joined the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as Professor of Tropical Community Health. To recognize his contribution to international health, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine will hold an international colloquium that will:

– highlight the key themes of his work, their continuing influence and relevance;

– look to the future by exploring and challenging old and new dogmas.

The colloquium will take place in Liverpool on 23–24 March 2000 and will be based around key themes in Newell’s landmark publication Health by the people.b The themes of the colloquium are as follows.

  • Equity
  • Community voices
  • Epidemiology for public health action
  • Future challenges for community health.

For each theme, there will be contributions of both a personal and academic nature from a range of international speakers reflecting the breadth of his vision and how these ideas have developed. The contributions and discussions will be published after the meeting for a wider audience.

If you would like to attend the colloquium, or require further information, please contact Ms Philomena Hinds, International Health Division, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool, L3 5QA, England (tel: + 44 151 708 9393 ext. 2224; fax: + 44 151 707 1702; e-mail:



b Newell KW. Health by the people. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1975.         

World Health Organization Genebra - Genebra - Switzerland