Sir Michael Marmot at Harvard
February 12, 2010
Yesterday, 11 February 2010, Sir Michael Marmot has published his final report “Fair societies, healthy lives”.
I was one of the lucky few to meet him personally at a seminar held mid January on ‘Social Determinants of Global Population Health’, hosted by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies and led by Director Lisa Berkman. At this seminar, Sir M.Marmot gave us already an insight into the findings of this now published report.
Professor Sir Michael Marmot is Director of the International Institute for Society and Health and MRC Research Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College, London.
“We are dealing with these huge inequities within countries and the inequities between countries and they overlap. This is a problem for all of us…. No country has cause for complacency,” Marmot said in his lecture.
“The reason for taking action on the social determinants of health in order to promote health equity is one of social justice.”
Michael Marmot has been at the forefront of research into health inequalities for the past 30 years. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years. In 2000 he was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen for services to Epidemiology and understanding health inequalities.
It was in November 2008, that Professor Sir Michael Marmot was asked by the English Secretary of State for Health to chair an independent review to propose the most effective evidence-based strategies for reducing health inequalities in England from 2010. The strategy should include policies and interventions that address the social determinants of health inequalities.
In a few months Sir Michael Marmot and his team have come up with a remarkable piece of work, which not only focuses on health inequalities in England, but also leads the way on how to tackle the problem of health inequalities worldwide. The report is available athttp://www.ucl.ac.uk/gheg/marmotreview
1. give every child the best start possible
2. enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control over their lives
3. create fair employment and decent work for all
4. ensure a healthy standard of living for all
5. create and develop sustainable places and communities, and
6. strengthen the role and impact of ill-health prevention.
So, quite a challenge, but not irrealistic; for each of the 6 recommendations, the report gives a practical example, situated in England, which has worked as is shown by quantitative and/or qualitative data.
During a short private discussion, Sir Michael Marmot and I spoke about the need to have solid and reliable statistical data base – in casu for Europe – on health and social determinants whereby health interview surveys harmonized across countries will play a major role.