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integrating health promotion & sustainability governance: transdisciplinary ecohealth framework

Supportive organizations have been identified as the most vital enabler for individual professionals to actively join cross-sectoral initiatives. Ability to justify inter-professional cooperation makes it easier for practitioners to gain the necessary approvals within their institutional mandates.


This new conceptual framework bridges health promotion and sustainability governance theories to facilitate practical cross-sectoral collaboration, so practitioners can better target complex health related environmental and social-ecological challenges.



Disciplinary silos often hinder cross-sectoral collaboration. Yet increasing environmental health issues are examples of “wicked problems” that require cross-sectoral collaboration at the community level.

©Paivi Abernethy 2014

This framework integrates six concrete overlapping themes linking health promotion and sustainability governance. The framework also highlights examples of areas where the fields could benefit from one another.


Children’s environmental health is proposed as a desirable overall outcome and an attractive venue for potential collaboration, because of its critical role in the public health and well-being of future generations. As a determinant of adult health, children’s environmental health genuinely emphasises the vital interdependencies between health and the environment.


The practical value of this type of new epistemé, theoretical context-independent knowledge, which was created as an academic exercise, is that it offers a theoretical platform that can be used to facilitate cross-sectoral discussions. The idea is that this ecohealth framework could be employed much like alternative future scenarios are applied in resilience assessment workshops (by Resilience Alliance). It provides a concrete starting point that allows participants to discuss and contemplate the proposed model in relation to their own knowledge and experiences.


The framework is described more in detail in Abernethy, P. (2014). Bridging conceptual ‘silos’: Bringing together health promotion and sustainability governance for practitioners at the landscape scale. Local Environment:The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. doi:10.1080/13549839.2014.968841


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