How Australia improved health equity through action on the social determinants of health

6th May 2021

By Friel S, Baum F, Goldfield S, et al

In a supplement to the Medical Journal of Australia titled Australia in 2030: what is our path to health for all?, Professor Sharon Friel and health experts bring us along a journey where health inequities no longer exist in Australia by 2030.

The article addresses concerns that Australia is still far away from addressing the social causes of health inequity and offers a glimpse of what life could be like if policymakers were committed to addressing the social determinants of health equity.

“While devastating in many ways, COVID‐19 provided a policy window to intervene in the social determinants of health equity. We saw government interventions provide financial support that enabled people to have sufficient material resources and a sense of control over their lives at a time of great uncertainty. Policies that were considered unthinkable before COVID‐19 were introduced almost overnight as society was catapulted into new ways of being. We could discuss many issues but focus on three — income, education and housing, the fair distribution of which will advance Australia towards health equity.”

Read the MJA supplement here.

Listen to Sharon’s discussion about health equity alongside Cassandra Goldie (CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service) and Dr Sandro DeMaio (CEO of VicHealth) on ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas.

Listen to Sharon’s interview with ABCTV on what we can do as a society to improve public health.

Experts in the social determinants of health Sharon Friel and Sandro Demaio join hosts Arnagretta Hunter and Sharon Bessell to discuss realising the vision of a healthy Australia by 2030, on this episode of Policy Forum podcast. Listen here.

For more about Sharon’s research, visit her project website.

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