UNNATURAL CAUSES is inequality making us sick? HEALTH EQUITY research topics and resources to learn more
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Image Thumbnail 1998 Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health (aka Acheson Report) E-mail to a friend

In the United Kingdom, the 1998 Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health Report (otherwise known as the Acheson Report) concluded with 39 policy recommendations to improve health.

Image Thumbnail Action on the Social Determinants of Health: Learning from previous experiences E-mail to a friend
REPORT from the Secretariat of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, March 2005

A background paper prepared for the first meeting of the Commission, with 20 pages of history of different understandings of health over the past century, and international trends and movements in recent decades to incorporate social concerns into public health policy and interventions. The report also contains about 10 pages on the aims and objective of the Commission itself.

Image Thumbnail Center for Social Inclusion E-mail to a friend
WEB SITE, Project of the Tides Center

The Center for Social Inclusion works to build a fair and just society by dismantling structural racism. We partner with communities of color and other allies to create strategies and build policy reform models to end racial disparity and promote equal opportunity. With our partners we conduct applied research, translate it, teach our communities, inform the public, convene stakeholders, nurture multiracial alliances and support advocacy strategies.

Image Thumbnail Challenging Inequities in Health: From Ethics to Action E-mail to a friend
BOOK edited by Timothy Evans, et al., 2001

This book is designed to present cutting-edge research and policy analysis to a wide non-specialist readership of students, professionals and policy-makers. It brings together in one volume new perspectives on the conceptual foundations of health equity, empirical evidence on the scale and nature of inequities in health in twelve countries around the world, and assessments of the associated policy developments and their implications for the future.

See especially, "Social Inequality and the Burden of Poor Health,” Kubzansky, et. al.

Image Thumbnail FRONTLINE: Sick Around the World E-mail to a friend

In Sick Around the World, FRONTLINE teams up with veteran Washington Post foreign correspondent T.R. Reid to find out how five other capitalist democracies -- the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland -- deliver health care, and what the United States might learn from their successes and their failures. You can watch the entire program online, and the site contains more information on the pros and cons of the different systems, interviews, transcripts, a teaching guide, and links to other resources and readings.

Image Thumbnail Guide to Health Impact Assessment: A Policy Tool for New Zealand E-mail to a friend
REPORT from the Public Health Advisory Committee, 2005

Health impact assessment (HIA) is a formal approach used to predict the potential health effects of a policy, with particular attention paid to impacts on health inequalities. It is applied during the policy development process in order to facilitate better policy-making that is based on evidence, focused on outcomes and includes input from a range of sectors. This Guide is for use – largely but not exclusively – by policy-makers in sectors other than health. Those likely to be affected by policy may also use it. We recommend that people who are using this Guide, or HIA for the first time, should attend an HIA training course and/or work alongside an experienced HIA practitioner.

Image Thumbnail Health Care for All - California E-mail to a friend

We support a comprehensive system to improve care quality and decrease medical errors. The California Health Care System would be established by the State of California as the insurer for all Californians who meet residency requirements. The system establishes the Health Insurance Fund to manage all money that is going to be spent on health care. The fund pays providers of care. Patients choose their primary providers. The health system works with providers to establish standards of care, to support physicians in providing high quality care, and to monitor care quality.

Image Thumbnail Health Care for All - Massachusetts E-mail to a friend

HCFA seeks to create a consumer-centered health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, culturally competent, high quality care and consumer education for everyone, especially the most vulnerable. We work to achieve this as leaders in public policy, advocacy, education and service to consumers in Massachusetts.

Image Thumbnail Health Impact Assessment E-mail to a friend

The Health Impact Assessment (HIA) project is a joint endeavor of the Washington, D.C. based Partnership for Prevention and researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health. The HIA project aims to assess the feasibility of HIA and to develop prototype HIAs that demonstrate methodologies, eventually enabling HIA to contribute to more informed decision-making about public policies impacting health in the U.S.

Image Thumbnail Healthy Development Measuring Tool E-mail to a friend

Developed by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, this tool is a comprehensive evaluation metric to consider health needs in urban development plans and projects. The Tool encompasses a community-based vision for planning and uses public health to explicitly connect physical and environmental planning to a wider set of social interests.

Image Thumbnail How U.S. Laws and Social Policies Influence Chronic Stress and Health Disparities E-mail to a friend
SCHOLARLY ARTICLE, Holly Avey, Politics of Race, Culture, and Health Symposium, Ithaca College, Nov. 14, 2002

A clear, thorough overview explaining the stress process (exposures and vulnerabilities to stressors), physiological response to stressors (how stress "gets into the body"), and why people of color and lower socioeconomic status tend to be more negatively affected by stress. Concludes with policy implications.

Image Thumbnail How U.S. Laws and Social Policies Influence Chronic Stress and Health Disparities - A Response (pdf) E-mail to a friend
SCHOLARLY ARTICLE by Thomas C. Shevory, Ithaca College, 2002

A short response to Holly Avey's literature review that provides additional background and references regarding misconceptions of the character traits of "the poor" vs. "the affluent," chronic stressors, and the need for structural policy intervention.

Image Thumbnail Lessons From Sweden (pdf) E-mail to a friend
ARTICLE in the Review of Economic and Social Trends, April 2008

An excellent four-page primer on the Swedish model of social protections, prepared by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. There have been changes to the Swedish welfare state over the past two decades and, in some areas, inequality has increased. However, other social policy areas have expanded and other forms of inequality continue to steadily decline. Like the other Nordic lands, Sweden has been considerably more resistant to the ‘imperatives’ of global integration, and the article considers what we could all learn from their experiences.

Image Thumbnail Library of Resources on Social Determinants of Health E-mail to a friend
WEB SITE created and maintained by Dennis Raphael

A great collection of resources on the issues surrounding SDOH, health equity, and the politics of creating real change in the social factors that most affect health outcomes. 

See especially Raphael's "Public policies and the problematic USA population health profile," and "The Politics of Population Health: Why the Welfare State is the Key Social Determinant of Health."

Image Thumbnail Physicians for a National Health Program E-mail to a friend

Physicians for a National Health Program is a non-profit research and education organization of 15,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

Image Thumbnail Prevention is Primary E-mail to a friend
BOOK edited by Larry Cohen & Sana Chehimi, Prevention Institute, and Vivian Chavez, San Francisco University, 2007

This book aims to move future practitioners from the margins of prevention to its core by defining the elements of quality prevention efforts, identifying best practices and illustrating the application of prevention principles in a multitude of settings. The text, with chapters from a variety of authors, is written primarily for Master’s level public health, public policy and social welfare students to underscore the value and promise of prevention and to frame its practice as a key social and economic justice issue; however, it is also a wonderful resource for the dedicated layperson or activist.

Image Thumbnail Reaching for a Healthier Life: Facts on Socioeconomic Status and Health in the U.S. (pdf) E-mail to a friend
REPORT from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health, 2007

An overview of how socioeconomic status affects health, though consideration of neighborhood, employment conditions, personal behaviors, health care, race and stress. Includes policy implications. The MacArthur Network on SES and Health brings together many of the world's top researchers on socioeconomic factors in health. Many of these experts were interviewed for UNNATURAL CAUSES.

Image Thumbnail SiCKO E-mail to a friend

The film's official site contains a variety of resources and information on national health care access, including news and updates (including information on the candidate's proposed plans), ideas for mobilization, information about Canada's national health plan (including personal testimonials), and links to other resources.

Image Thumbnail Social change and health in Sweden - 250 years of politics and practice E-mail to a friend
BOOK by Jan Sundin and Sam Willner, Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2008

This thorough text examines the history of public health in Sweden, with particular attention to the emergence of the welfare state in the past century. Say the authors, "Historical lessons cannot be transferred uncritically from one country to another. However, differences and similarities in appropriate contexts can increase our understanding of relations between health and society. We hope that this book will be useful for policy comparisons and in the training of public health policy-makers, researchers, administrators and practitioners."

Full pdf available online, 5 MB.

Image Thumbnail Study Shows Americans Sicker Than English E-mail to a friend
NEWS ARTICLE, Washington Post, May 2, 2006

"White, middle-aged Americans - even those who are rich - are far less healthy than their peers in England, according to stunning new research that erases misconceptions and has experts scratching their heads. Americans had higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, strokes, lung disease and cancer - findings that held true no matter what income or education level. Those dismal results are despite the fact that U.S. health care spending is double what England spends on each of its citizens...."

Image Thumbnail Tackling Health Inequities Through Public Health Practice: Theory to Action E-mail to a friend
BOOK edited by Richard Hofrichter and Rajiv Bhatia

Social justice has always been a core value driving public health. Today, much of the etiology of avoidable disease is rooted in inequitable social conditions brought on by disparities in wealth and power and reproduced through ongoing forms of oppression, exploitation, and marginalization.

Tackling Health Inequities raises questions and provides a starting point for health practitioners ready to reorient public health practice to address the fundamental causes of health inequities. This reorientation involves restructuring the organization, culture and daily work of public health. Tackling Health Inequities is meant to inspire readers to imagine or envision public health practice and their role in ways that question contemporary thinking and assumptions, as emerging trends, social conditions, and policies generate increasing inequities in health.