Since 2005, the social determinants and health inequalities research group within the Department of Public Health and Policy has been designated as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Determinants of Health Equity, headed by Professor Dame Margaret Whitehead.

As the title implies, we investigate the social dimensions of ill-health, in particular social pathways to and from health inequalities and what can be done about them. This involves research into both the social causes and the adverse consequences of ill health. The group investigates the ways in which health and social welfare systems themselves reduce or exacerbate the adverse consequences of ill health.

Innovative methods and analytic frameworks developed by the group have been adopted internationally, including: methods for prospective health impact assessment and equity audits of services; approaches to assessing health systems from a household perspective; and evidence synthesis of non-healthcare policies and their impact on public health.

The academics are supported by 32 researchers, technical and administrative staff largely funded from external research grant sources.

Key policy documents for WHO include

• Concepts and Principles for tackling social inequities in health: Levelling up Part 1. Read
• European strategies for tackling social inequities in health: Levelling up Part 2. Read
• How can the health equity impact of universal policies be evaluated? Insights into approaches and next steps. Read