Join the effort to Demystify… Health!

From the early English definition of ‘hælth’, as a notion of whole’ ‘a thing that is complete in itself’ to the WHO’s famous ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ and more modern conceptualisations of health ‘as a complex adaptive system’, how we understand the concept of health is highly variable and contextual, and reflects shifts in society. ‘Health’ is therefore an ideal candidate for the second in the Valuing Nature Demystifying… series.

‘Good health – it depends on who you are, where you live, the society around you, and in particular on the person you are. There is no common denominator. What is good for one, cannot help 2000’. (Arctic Fisherman)1

The purpose of the Demystifying… series is to bring together experts to explain the key concepts that might cause confusion in the wider Valuing Nature community, and agree on principles of good practice. The first publication focused on Economic valuation. This second publication will discuss the contested and complex concept of ‘health’ reflecting on the many different definitions and conceptualisations.

We are recruiting for the Contributor Group.

The group will contribute to the central activity of explaining the concept of health and will act as a reference group for the publication. This will be done by email exchange.

If you are interested in being part of the Valuing Nature Demystifying Health Contributor Group please complete the webform HERE

The call for the contributor group will close on the 10th January and we will get in contact in the New Year!

Your contribution will be acknowledged on the final publication.


The Demystifying Health note will address the following topics:

  1. What is health, how is it defined, how do definitions vary?
  2. What is the relationship between health and related concepts such as wellbeing, quality of life and so on?
  3. What are the determinants of health?
  4. What is health promotion, public health, and preventative health, and what are health interventions?
  5. How is health measured and assessed? What are key health metrics?
  6. What is the state of public health in the UK?  
  7. What are the key health policies and strategies in the UK? How do international factors affect UK health activity? What are the key health decision making points?
  8. How is health is affected (positively and negatively) by the environment and what are the key decision points in which the environment-health links could be reflected?

​For further information, please contact


1 Sturmberg, J. P. (2013). Health: A Personal Complex-Adaptive State. In J. P. Sturmberg & C. M. Martin (Eds.), Handbook of Systems and Complexity in Health (pp. 231-242). New York, NY: Springer New York.