|15 November 1947
|Chairman WHO Foundation, physician, lawyer, and former Secretary of Health of Switzerland
|Chairman WHO Foundation; former secretary of health of Switzerland; co-founder of the Global Patient Safety Forum; professor of public health at the University of Bern, Switzerland; visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health; president of the Swiss Commission for UNESCO; and board member of the Medical University of Vienna
Thomas Zeltner (born 15 November 1947) is a Swiss physician and lawyer. He is the current chairman and interim CEO of the WHO Foundation.He was also the former Secretary of Health of Switzerland Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA. He has a long history in public health and has repeatedly been ranked among the 12 most influential political figures of Switzerland.
Zeltner is professor at the University of Bern, Switzerland, in Public Health and visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He chairs the Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction (Zürich) and is President of UNESCO Commission of Switzerland. He advises the Swiss government in the implementation and future development of The National Health Policy. He is also the Vice Chair of the University Council of the Medical University of Vienna.
Zeltner was born on 15 November 1947 in Bern, Switzerland. He graduated with an M.D. and an LL.M. (master's in law) from the [[University of Berne]. He specialized in human pathology and forensic medicine before becoming the head of Medical Services at the Bern University Hospital. He held various faculty positions at the University of Bern and at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is Doctor of law (honoris causa) of the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
In 1991, the Swiss Government appointed Zeltner as the 8th Director-General of the Swiss National Health Authority and Secretary of Health of Switzerland, a position he held until the end of 2009.
Under Zeltner's leadership, Switzerland developed in 1991 a pioneering illicit drug policy, which has received global attention. It is based on a 4-pillar strategy (prevention, harm reduction, therapy, and law enforcement), which is enshrined in the Swiss law on narcotic drugs. The harm reduction policy of Switzerland – which includes large-scale syringe exchange programs (also in prisons)and the medical prescription of heroin for chronic heroin addicts – was introduced against the strong opposition of the UN drug control authorities, but endorsed by a majority of the Swiss population in several popular referendums.
In 1999–2000, at the request of the then-Director General of WHO, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Zeltner chaired a committee which investigated the efforts of multinational tobacco companies to undermine tobacco control activities of the World Health Organization (2000).This landmark report marks the beginning of the development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (2003). With his efforts to reduce tobacco consumption in Switzerland, Zeltner became a favorite adversary of big tobacco and was nicknamed “the Tobacco Taliban."
As director of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, he presided over changes to transform the regulated market model of the Swiss health care sector into a more value- and consumer-driven health care system. The Swiss model guarantees access to affordable insurance to all, even if they have pre-existing medical problems. All residents are required to buy insurance even if they are currently healthy, so that the risk pool remains reasonably favorable. Finally subsidies are given to low income families to pay for their premiums. Even though the Swiss pay 12.18% of the GDP for health (data 2018),a majority of 78% considers that the system works well or very well. The Swiss health care model is gaining increased international interest, particularly in the U.S.
Zeltner was a member and vice-president of the executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) (1999-2002). He chaired the committee to reform the governance rules of the WHO in 2002–4. He was also Executive President of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe (1994–95) and Chairman of the Governing Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, (1998-2000). Between 2012 and 2014, Zeltner served the World Health Organization (WHO) in the capacity of a Special Envoy.In this function he advised the Director General of WHO, Margaret Chan, in critical areas of the ongoing reform of this UN agency. The work was successfully completed by adoption of the Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors (FENSA) by the World Health Assembly in May 2016.
In 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announcedthat Zeltner was one of the founding board members and the first chairman of the WHO Foundation. As of May 2020, Zeltner is acting as interim CEO of the WHO Foundation. The WHO Foundation is an independent grant-making foundation focused on addressing the most pressing global health challenges of today and tomorrow.
He is co-founder of the Global Patient Safety Forum, a convening organization of world patient safety organizations; and a member of the steering board of the Global Patient Safety Challenge, Medication Safety, of the World Health Organization. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Health Systems and Reform.
Since 1992, he has been Professor of Public Health at the University of Bern and is a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston). From 2018 to 2022 he serves as a member of the Board of the Medical University of Vienna (Austria). Zeltner has served as chairman of the board of the health insurer KPT until 2020, the leading online insurance company in Switzerland, which is repeatedly qualified as the best health insurer of Switzerland.He is also president of Blood Transfusion CRS Switzerland, the organization in charge of securing Switzerland's provision with blood and blood products.
The prohibition of drugs through sumptuary legislation or religious law is a common means of attempting to prevent the recreational use of certain intoxicating substances.
Harm reduction, or harm minimization, refers to a range of intentional practices and public health policies designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal. Harm reduction is used to decrease negative consequences of recreational drug use and sexual activity without requiring abstinence, recognizing that those unable or unwilling to stop can still make positive change to protect themselves and others.
The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a treaty adopted by the 56th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland on 21 May 2003. It became the first World Health Organization treaty adopted under article 19 of the WHO constitution. The treaty came into force on 27 February 2005. It had been signed by 168 countries and is legally binding in 182 ratifying countries. There are currently 14 United Nations member states that are non-parties to the treaty.
Julio José Frenk Mora is president of the University of Miami and has served in this role since 2015. He is the University of Miami's first Hispanic and native Spanish-speaking president. At the University of Miami, he is also a professor of public health science at the university's Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, professor of health sector management at the university's Herbert Business School, and professor of sociology at its College of Arts of Sciences.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is the name of a number of autonomous pressure groups (charities) in the anglosphere that seek to publicize the risks associated with tobacco smoking and campaign for greater restrictions on use and on cigarette and tobacco sales.
Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy to lower the health risks to individuals and wider society associated with using tobacco products. It is an example of the concept of harm reduction, a strategy for dealing with the use of drugs. Tobacco smoking is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of illness and death, and reducing smoking is vital to public health.
A drug policy is the policy regarding the control and regulation of psychoactive substances, particularly those that are addictive or cause physical and mental dependence. While drug policies are generally implemented by governments, entities at all levels may have specific policies related to drugs.
Drug liberalization is a drug policy process of decriminalizing or legalizing the use or sale of prohibited drugs. Variations of drug liberalization include: drug legalization, drug re-legalization and drug decriminalization. Proponents of drug liberalization may favor a regulatory regime for the production, marketing, and distribution of some or all currently illegal drugs in a manner analogous to that for alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.
Illicit drug use in Australia is the recreational use of prohibited drugs in Australia. Illicit drugs include illegal drugs, pharmaceutical drugs when used for non-medical purposes, and other substances used inappropriately. According to government and community organisations, the use and abuse, and the illegality, of illicit drugs is a social, health and legal issue that creates an annual illegal market estimated to be worth A$6.7 billion. Estimates made in 2022 place the figure at A$11.3 billion per year.
Health in Bhutan is one of the government's highest priorities in its scheme of development and modernization. Health and related issues are overseen by the Ministry of Health, itself represented on the executive Lhengye Zhungtshog (cabinet) by the Minister of Health. As a component of Gross National Happiness, affordable and accessible health care is central to the public policy of Bhutan.
Tobacco control is a field of international public health science, policy and practice dedicated to addressing tobacco use and thereby reducing the morbidity and mortality it causes. Since most cigarettes and cigars and hookahs contain/use tobacco, tobacco control also concerns these. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco itself, but (often) do contain nicotine. Tobacco control is a priority area for the World Health Organization (WHO), through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. References to a tobacco control movement may have either positive or negative connotations, depending upon the commentator.
K. Srinath Reddy is an Indian physician and the Former President of the Public Health Foundation of India and formerly headed the Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) is a panel of world leaders and intellectuals, with a Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Professor Ann McNeill is a British academic and tobacco policy expert. She is currently a professor of Tobacco Addiction in the National Addictions Centre at the King's College London Institute of Psychiatry and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies.
The scientific community in the United States and Europe are primarily concerned with the possible effect of electronic cigarette use on public health. There is concern among public health experts that e-cigarettes could renormalize smoking, weaken measures to control tobacco, and serve as a gateway for smoking among youth. The public health community is divided over whether to support e-cigarettes, because their safety and efficacy for quitting smoking is unclear. Many in the public health community acknowledge the potential for their quitting smoking and decreasing harm benefits, but there remains a concern over their long-term safety and potential for a new era of users to get addicted to nicotine and then tobacco. There is concern among tobacco control academics and advocates that prevalent universal vaping "will bring its own distinct but as yet unknown health risks in the same way tobacco smoking did, as a result of chronic exposure", among other things.
Gerry Stimson is a British public health social scientist, emeritus professor at Imperial College London from 2004, and an honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 2017. Stimson has over 220 scientific publications mainly on social and health aspects of illicit drug use, including HIV infection. He has sat on numerous editorial boards including AIDS, Addiction, and European Addiction Research, and with Tim Rhodes he was the co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Drug Policy from 2000 to 2016. He is one of the global leaders for research on and later advocacy for harm reduction.
For Alternative Approaches to Addiction, Think & do tank is an international non-profit organization working on drug policy, created in 2015 and based in Paris, France.
The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an organization focused on smoking harm reduction founded in 2017. In 2024, it changed its name to Global Action to End Smoking.
Hans Stöckli is a Swiss politician who served as President of the Council of States from 2019 to 2020. A member of the Social Democratic Party (SP/PS), he was first elected to the Council of States for the canton of Bern in 2011. Stöckli was previously elected to the mayorship of Biel (1990–2010), Grand Council of Bern (2002–2004) and National Council (2004–2011).
Emily Banks is an Australian epidemiologist and public health physician, working mainly on chronic disease. She is a Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Head of the Centre for Public Health Data and Policy at the Australian National University, and a visiting professor at the University of Oxford.
Founding Board Members are: Mr. Bob Carter, Ms. Clare Akamanzi and Professor Thomas Zeltner.