WHO Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Social Determinants of Health

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

The research training environment of the WHO Collaborating Centre is also boosted by active collaboration in a number of external research consortia and international networks including:

The objectives of the WHO Collaborating Centre for 2010-14 are:

  • To assist WHO EURO and globally in analysing, synthesising and disseminating
  • evidence on the impact of non-healthcare policies and interventions on public health and health inequities.
  • To help WHO EURO and globally to provide evidence-based information and advice to member states on developing policies and strategies to address the social determinants of inequities in health and how they might best be monitored.
  • To contribute to WHO EURO and global activities on monitoring and evaluating
  • strategies to address the social determinants of health inequities.
  • To contribute scientific products to support implementation of the WHO Venice
  • initiative.