Income Inequality and Health

In this guest post, Ronald Labonté moves from describing the impact of income inequality on health to the implications of this relationship for both the Canadian and global context. He presents two sets of policy reforms necessary for acting on these contexts and illustrates the scope for Canadian engagement with both national and global policy options. Labonté holds a Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity at the Institute of Population Health, and is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa; and in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia.

Acting to reduce health inequity: How much evidence is enough?

It is often asserted that more evidence is needed to take action on the social determinants of health. In this guest post Ted Schrecker identifies such claims as a key obstacle to achieving health equity. He argues that to overcome this obstacle, we must recognize that decisions about how much evidence is enough are irrevocably bound together with important ethical and political choices. Ted is a Professor of Global Health Policy at Durham University.

Paul Krugman: America’s Greatest Public Health Champion?

Last week the New York Times reported on a study which documents a reversing trend in life expectancy for the least educated whites in the US. The study shows that since 1990, life expectancy for white Americans without a high school diploma has fallen by five years for women and three years for men. Reading […]

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Good News for Unions is Good News for Public Health

Last Friday a Wisconsin county Judge, Juan Colás, struck down much of Act 10, also known as the ‘budget repair bill’. The Act, which was proposed and vehemently defended by Republican Governor Scott Walker, passed in early 2011 and effectively eliminated the collective bargaining rights of public employees, setting ablaze an on-going saga of protests, recalls and court appeals.

In his 27 page ruling, Judge Colás declared the Act unconstitutional and while it was overturned only in regards to city, county and school district workers, not state employees, union leaders and public workers alike have hailed the decision.

What does this have to do with public health? Unions have long been advocates for health promoting conditions, from better working conditions and employee benefits, to higher wages and policies that benefit the middle and working class. Their ability to do this has in large part depended on their ability to collectively bargain.

In the context of sustained political attacks against workers’ rights, it is important public health professionals stand with the labor movement, both in celebrating its victories and in supporting its struggles.



Income Inequality

Root Causes of Ill Health Fall Flat in Bloomberg’s Soda Ban

While reactions to Bloomberg’s soda ban continue to effervesce, those truly concerned with the public’s health would be well advised to hold their praise.


How Not to Think About Social Determinants of Health: A cautionary tale from Canada

In this guest post, Ted Schrecker critically discusses the results of a recently published public health study in Canada. Illustrated are the hazardous implications of de-contextualized conceptualizations of health.


Historical Trauma, American Indians, and Health

In this guest post, Dr. Margaret Moss talks about the health of American Indians and how it has been shaped through historical traumas related to US federal policy. Dr Moss is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota and an Associate Professor at the Yale School of Nursing.


Access to Contraception as a Human Right

In this piece, guest blogger Maria Pawlowska outlines the major arguments for why access to contraception should be treated as a human right. Also highlighted are the different implications of realizing this right in both the developed North and global South. Maria is a healthcare analyst with a passion for reproductive health and gender issues in health care provision. Maria has a PhD from Cambridge, where she was a Gates scholar, and has worked with the Global Poverty Project and RESULTS UK.


Occupy Healthcare but don’t forget about the Social Determinants of Health

The Occupy Wall Street Movement has opened up many opportunities to make clear the links between economic inequalities and inequalities in health. However, conversations and actions so far have largely focused on issues of access to healthcare, medical debt, cuts to healthcare budgets, and the pitfalls of for-profit medical systems. Join Healthy Policies for a Twitter chat on how SDOH messages can be better integrated into occupying efforts.

Health Systems

Debating the future of the English National Health Service

This post is the second half of a two-part series by guest blogger Kate Thomson which explores proposed changes to the National Health Service in England.The first post provides useful background information (particularly for those living outside the UK) on these proposed changes. In this post, Kate explains in greater detail the areas of reform which are of greatest contention. Kate is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Health at Birmingham City University and is currently researching health reforms in the Russian Federation.

Health Systems

Reforms to the NHS in England: a brief introduction

In the first of a two-part series, guest blogger Kate Thomson provides helpful background on the proposed reforms to the NHS, as embodied in the Health and Social Care Bill. Also outlined are the major concerns and debates surrounding the Bill. Kate is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Health at Birmingham City University and is currently researching health reforms in the Russian Federation.


Better Governance to Improve Health

In the context of the recent World Conference on Social Determinants of Health guest blogger Amir Attaran, discusses the role of governance in improving the health of societies. Amir Attaran is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Law, Population Health and Global Development Policy at the University of Ottawa.


Social Determinants of Health: Life after Rio

In this guest post, Ted Schrecker offers an overview of the recent World Conference on Social Determinants of Health. Ted discusses the Conference’s ‘Rio Declaration’, highlighting both its strengths and weaknesses, as well what it will take to keep the SDOH agenda moving forward. Ted is an associate Professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, and a principal scientist at the University’s Institute of Population Health.

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