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World expert raises concerns about health inequalities

Clocktower at night

Tuesday 12 July 2011 12:09pm

Renowned UK epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot will be the keynote speaker at a wide-ranging symposium on health equity and the social determinants of health being held at the University of Otago, Wellington this Wednesday and co-hosted by the New Zealand Medical Association.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot is one of the world’s top researchers into the social determinants of health and health inequities. He has been invited to New Zealand by the NZMA to inform this country’s progress towards reducing health inequities between different social and ethnic groups.

His research has clearly demonstrated the effects of a wide range of social determinants such as income, housing and education levels on the health status of UK public servants.

Sir Michael was also chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health established by the World Health Organisation in 2005 which produced the recent report ‘Closing the Gap in a Generation’.

He also published another investigation last year at the request of the British Government on health inequities entitled ‘Fair Society, Health Lives’.

The Minister of Health, the Hon. Tony Ryall, will open the Symposium in the Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre at 1pm. Other than Sir Michael Marmot’s keynote address there will be a series of presentations from a range of speakers with a focus on health inequities in New Zealand.

These concise and hard-hitting presentations from New Zealand researchers and doctors will cover such issues as children and health inequity, health services, economic shocks from the perspectives of clinicians and recent graduates, and Maori and Pacific perspectives.

The New Zealand Medical Association will also highlight issues of concern arising from its Health Equity Position Statement published earlier in the year.

Further background on this issue, including 10 most important actions to reduce health inequities, can be found in an editorial published last week in the New Zealand Medical Journal and at this site:

All media are welcome to attend.

For further information, contact

Professor Tony Blakely
Health Inequalities Research Programme
University of Otago, Wellington
Tel +64 4 918 6086

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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