The 20th International Conference on Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services (HPH) took place in beautiful Taipei on April 11, 12 & 13, 2012. Many very interesting topics were presented and all in all it was a very fruitful, inspiring and special Conference; Special for at least two reasons. First, with its location in Taipei, Taiwan, it was the first ever HPH Conference outside Europe and, by that, sat a clear landmark for the globalization of the HPH network. Second, with the 20th Conference on HPH, time had come to look back on what HPH originally set out to do, what the network had achieved so far, and what challenges and changes for the future lie ahead.

Against this background, the Scientific Committee had decided to highlight five major topics for the scientific program of the HPH Conference 2012:

  • Healthcare at a crossroad in a changing world: new demands for health care provision, health promotion and health systems design
  • Evidence for HPH related interventions: What do we know already, and what further research is needed?
  • Strengthening the public health agenda in health service development
  • What capacities do Health Promoting Hospitals and Health Services need to improve their contributions?
  • 20 years of reorienting health services towards health promotion – achievements and outlook

After the launch of WHO’s Ottawa Charter (1986), which formulated the demand of reorienting health services as one of five action areas, conceptual developments on HPH began in 1988. The international HPH network was formally founded in 1990. In its history, HPH saw model and pilot hospital projects, the launch of international network media, the development of national and regional networks, the installment of international support centres and task forces, the development of tools, and the expansion from a European to a global network. The conference reflected upon HPH achievements and future plans in Asia, America, Australia, Europe, and Africa.