Answering questions about the HSR2020 call for abstracts

Answering questions about the HSR2020 call for abstracts

On September 17, 2019, HSG hosted a webinar to launch the call for abstracts for the Sixth Global Symposium on HSR2020

Answering questions about the HSR2020 call for abstracts

On September 17, 2019, Health Systems Global (HSG) hosted a webinar to launch the call for abstracts for the Sixth Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR2020) and to provide more information about the Global Symposium’s theme and sub-themes.

During the webinar, participants were invited to submit questions to the panel made up of Fadi El-Jardali and Sara Bennett, Co-Chairs of the HSR2020 Program Working Group, and Asha George, Chair of the Board of HSG. For anyone who is interested and unable to participate in the webinar, HSG thought it would be useful to share the questions and answers that were covered.

More information about HSR2020 can be found on the Symposium website.

More information about the different types of sessions and abstracts can be found on the HSR2020 Abstract web page, and all HSR2020 key dates are available on the HSR2020 Key Dates web page.


Will the recording of and slides from the webinar be available?

Yes – you can watch the recording of the webinar, which includes the presentation of the slides.

Symposium program and participation

Will there be an Emerging Voices for Global Health [program] during the Symposium? Any themes for this program?

Yes. The Emerging Voices for Global Health program for 2020 launched its call for applications on 26 September 2019. The applications deadline is 6 February 2020. Read more about the EV4GH program.

Are there scholarships opportunities available for HSR2020?

Yes. Individuals whose abstracts are accepted for the HSR2020 scientific program, and who meet the eligibility criteria, are welcome to apply for scholarship to participate at HSR2020. More information about HSR2020 scholarships.

Abstract submission

Will there be a team to give technical support for interested participants to improve their abstracts?

A range of national, regional and online events have taken and will take place to offer advice and support to people planning to submit abstracts, as well as other opportunities to contribute to HSR2020.

More activities and information in support of HSR2020 participation will follow.

If I am a newcomer to HSR2020, what would you suggest are the practical steps I need to take to submit my abstract?

Read information about the HSR2020 themes and the guide to submitting abstracts.

Participate in or listen to a webinar if possible, and make sure that your abstract addresses the conference theme and one or more of the sub-themes. Finally submit the abstract online, and keep your fingers crossed!

 What is the deadline for satellite session proposals?

30 April 2020, however satellite sessions are allocated on first come first, served basis and if we run out of space, we may close the applications earlier. Thus, early submissions have a greater chance of making it into the program.

Can an abstract which has been presented in other conference be submitted?

We endeavor to secure high-quality abstracts that present completed research – and/or engage in policy and proactive-relevant discussions. Abstracts also need to speak directly to the Symposium theme and one or more of the sub-themes. If material has already been submitted and presented at previous events then submitters need to be clear on how the current proposal differs. Abstracts must be placed under embargo until they are presented at the HSR2020, if accepted.

Can the same author/presenter submit more than one abstract?

In order to foster diversity and inclusivity, each person will be permitted to present a maximum of:

  • Once in an organized session (either as chair/moderator or named contributor);

  • Once in individual abstract-based session;

  • And once as a poster presenter, based on an accepted individual abstract.

The Program Working Group will review multiple submissions that include the same named contributor, and will be responsible for finalizing abstract selection so as to maximize diversity and ensure balance across the program.

Themes and topics

Can one paper include two sub-themes?

Yes but you will be expected to prioritize the sub-theme as the abstract submission system requires you to choose the one that is most important. Read more about abstract submissions.

Do I have to organize my abstract around the ‘sub-sub’ themes?

In the online submission system, you will find that each sub-theme has further breakdown into sub-sub-themes. We suggest that when drafting your abstracts, you do not focus too heavily on these “sub-sub themes”; it is most important that your submission fits with the overarching theme and likely one of the three sub-themes. The sub-sub themes will simply help us to organize ourselves. Please consult the abstract submission page and submission system.

How do you imagine presentations on the commercial determinants of health to be included? What if they are conflicts of interest with sponsors?

HSG has very strict fundraising policies maintaining distance from commercial sector. However, abstract has to be submitted even if it speaks about interest off the symposium sponsors.

In regard to sub-theme three, are medicines considered as a technology?

Medicines could be considered a technology and we are certainly open to abstracts under sub-theme three that talk about Medicines. However, please recognize that the primary focus of this sub-theme is on innovation. So, we would be more interested, for example, in proposals that concern innovations in medical supply systems, or medicines that really require different approaches within the health system to accommodate them.

Would you consider how disciplines like human-centered design, working in partnership with global health entities and technical experts, could address inequities in access to health systems and provision of healthcare?

Yes! This would be an interesting and welcome submission under sub-theme three related to innovation

Do you consider having abstracts on the role of research and academia on improving the global health systems?

In recognizing the role of research and academia in strengthening government stewardship and improving health systems, we welcome abstracts under sub-theme one that explore innovative models of collaborations between academia and policy-making/governmental institutions to strengthen institutional capacities and institutionalize the use of evidence in decision-making in governmental as well as other organizations that affect the health system. We also welcome abstracts that explore how health system stewardship can be strengthened through timely collation of information, building strategic multi-sectoral partnerships, and deploying evidence to inform decisions and actions.

Where do effective training techniques fall?

What about capacity building on starting new health programs (like health informatics) that will have an impact on improving quality and health services?

Are we also focusing on strengthening health programs around global health emergencies like MDR-TB, Dengue and other infectious and neglected tropical diseases? If so, what theme are we focusing them under?

What about pre-service and in-service training requirements across countries?

The questions above outline several different topics that are not reflected directly in the Symposium call for abstracts, and the overarching Symposium theme. The idea of having a theme for a Symposium – albeit a broad one – is to seek to focus discussions in areas where the organizing committee feels that there are impactful and interesting debates to be had. Of course, a conference theme cannot encompass everything. We would advise people considering submitting abstracts to the Symposium to review the theme and sub-themes carefully and see how their work might connect with the sub-themes. For example, for the first of the questions above about training techniques, it may be possible to include a submission on this topic under the innovation theme (i.e. sub-theme 3) if it employs interesting and new approaches to training.

Do power differences also mean differences in power amongst human resources for health – eventually affecting health services?

Yes, we recognize that power differentials exist in multiple shapes and forms….and certainly between health workers within the health system. We are open to abstracts that explore any or all of these.

And what about the cross-links between sub-themes one and three (power and technology)?

As this question points out, there are potential linkages and overlaps between all three of the sub-themes. We think that is a good thing…the sub-themes should reinforce each other. When submitting an abstract, please submit to the sub-theme that you think it fits best.

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