Boyer Lectures 2016: Michael Marmot on the social determinants of ill health
The 2016 Boyer Lecture Series turns a critical eye towards health policy. Epidemiologist Professor Sir Michael Marmot discusses how social determinants such as birthplace and income can have a greater effect on our lives than access to healthcare.
The 2016 Boyer Lecture Series are delivered by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, the president of the World Medical Association, the director of the University College London's Institute of Health Equity, and a leading researcher on health inequality issues for more than four decades. Sir Michael's lectures will explore the challenges faced by nations and communities in reducing health inequality. Epidemiologist and former ABC Board member Fiona Stanley has called Sir Michael 'the world's most important social commentator and epidemiologist describing the social determinants of health'.
Sir Michael's lectures cast a critical, policy-minded eye over the social determinants on our health and well-being. Sir Michael has said his key insight is that health is not simply a matter of lifestyle, or access to healthcare, but is instead related to the inequality of economic and social conditions that affect all of us. Inequalities in health, Sir Michael says, are not confined to inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians: people in the middle of the social hierarchy will have fewer years of healthy life than those at the top, and those at the bottom have worse health than those in the middle. 'There is a tendency to see health inequalities as confined to the shockingly poor health of Indigenous Australians,' Sir Michael says. 'There is a life expectancy gap of 14 years between Indigenous and non-Indigenous men and women. But in Australia's general population, as elsewhere, the more years of education, or the higher the income, the better the health. ..Health inequalities arise from inequalities in the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age; and inequities in power, money and resources—the social determinants of health.'
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