This paper was presented as part of the Beyond best in practice: meeting the challenge workshop held on August 8, 2016.
Health, and the social determinants of health in particular, presents a formidable challenge for governance: actions are required in many sectors of government and society. There are thus many institutions and actors involved, each with differing, and sometimes conflicting, institutional goals and objectives. This diversity of actors – state and nonstate, public and private – suggests that governance will take place in ‘many rooms’, at many levels, and use many processes in an increasingly ‘decentred’ world. This session explores health and disease in a wider societal context, as a window into the challenges that decision-makers face across many other areas or regulation and governance. The argument will be that the use of multiple intersectoral policy instruments, involving a broad range of actors, is necessary to address the fundamental conditions of health policy, as is in many other spheres of regulation.