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About our Centre of Research Excellence

Upcoming Event 

CRE Policy Symposium

The next CRE Policy Symposium titled 'De-industrialisation: Employment, health and equity impacts for people and communities' will be held on Thursday 21st September 2017 at the Adelaide Pavilion, Cnr South Tce and Peacock Road, Adelaide, 9.00 - 5.00pm. For further information please click  here (PDF 464KB)  

To register for this free event, please click here.

For any queries please email: enquiries.southgateinstitute@flinders.edu.au or telephone Moira Mathieson on 08 7221 8411.


CRE workshop at the 15th World Congress on Public Health, Melbourne 5 April 2017

The CRE showcased a workshop "Generating priority for health equity in government policy agendas: Concepts, recent examples and skills development" at the recent 15th World Congress on Public Health held in Melbourne 3-7 April 2017. Professor Sharon Friel introduced the CRE and outlined the aims of work package one on agenda setting (PDF 173KB) . Dr Phillip Baker outlined the importance of political science theory to understanding agenda setting and policy change (PDF 509KB) . Professor Lyndall Strazdins presented tentative findings on the paid parental leave case study (PDF 1MB) .

The workshop also focused on skills development and participants worked in groups to brainstorm how they can influence government agendas drawing on policy theories. Workshop handout slides are available here (PDF 697KB) .


CRE National Policy Forum 12 May 2016, University House, Common Room, ANU Canberra

This one day forum was an initiative of the National Health & Medical Research Council Centre for Research Excellence on the Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRE-SDHE) and was an opportunity for politicians, government officials, non-government organisations, media researchers and the general public to engage on topics that are addressed in the CRE-SDHE programme of work . The forum focussed on policy areas that powerfully influence the 'social determinants of health' including Indigenous affairs, urban environments, social protection and health systems. Please click flyer (PDF 628KB) for the full program.

For any queries, please email crehealthequity@flinders.edu.au.


Aims

The aims of the Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRE-SDHE) are to:

  • Understand how government policies can work more effectively to address the social determinants of health, so as to improve health and reduce health inequities.
  • Increase understanding of the use of evidence in policy under conditions of multiple policy agendas and differences in power among groups;
  • Build research capacity and undertake knowledge exchange so as to inform policy, generate political priority for health equity and improve the health of Australia’s most disadvantaged peoples.

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Although evidence shows the power of policy interventions that target the social determinants indeed improve health, translation of this evidence into policy has been slow.

We believe this is because a focus on social determinants and health inequities raises many political and policy challenges which occur throughout the policy cycle – getting an issue onto the agenda, formulating, implementing and evaluating policy.

For example, addressing the social determinants requires buy-in from a range of groups, including politicians, policymakers, communities and business. Sometimes these groups can have different and even conflicting objectives and some will have more power than others to influence policy.

The existing evidence base does not address these challenges. It is largely at the technical level, focused on the ‘facts’ of health inequities rather than understanding the political and policy dimensions.

 


Health inequities

There is increasing concern from political leaders, policy-makers and the public about the growing gap in the financial, social and health status of Australia’s most advantaged and disadvantaged peoples.

The social, cultural and economic forces that shape people’s daily living conditions are called the ‘social determinants’ or the ‘causes of the causes’ of health.

When these determinants result in an unfair and avoidable distribution of health in society, for example between the rich and poor, between men and women, or between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, they are considered health inequities.

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Many of these determinants and health inequities are affected by political and policy processes outside of the health sector. For example, education, employment, the built environment, access to healthful commodities (e.g. nutritious food), as well as health care all affect the distribution of health in society.

To achieve and maintain good health, people not only need sufficient financial resources and control over their lives, but also representation in the policy processes that affect their health.

Health inequities are such an important issue internationally that the World Health Organisation established the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health to identify what could be done to improve global health.

The Commission identified that improvements in health inequities can be achieved through an integrated approach of public policy in health and non-health sectors. This is sometimes called a ‘health-in-all-policies’ or ‘whole-of-government’ approach.

An optimal policy mix would include actions to improve the daily living conditions of disadvantaged groups within populations (targeted interventions), as well as actions to address the distribution of health across populations (universal interventions).

 


 

Conceptual framework flowchart

Conceptual framework of the social determinants of health equity