The World Health Organization created a Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, whose site publishes a wide range of useful information resources. It has mobilized polity research and initiatives around the world, working with many countries including Canada. Its report is the subject of intensive discussion in many jurisdictions. The Public Health Agency of Canada and the National Collaborating Centre on the Determinants of Health have led discussion of the implications of the WHO findings and recommended policy directions within Canada.
The Commission has been active on many fronts. One of the most interesting has been its various knowledge networks, which bring together leading researchers on particular determinants or issues. The networks have initiated considerable research on various aspects of social determinants into policy action, and have published a range of valuable reports.
- Early Child Development
Well established evidence illustrates that opportunities provided to young children are crucial in shaping lifelong health and development status.
The scope is to examine how globalization’s dynamics and processes affect health outcomes: trade liberalization, integration of production of goods.
- Health Systems
The focus will be on innovative approaches that effectively incorporate action on social determinants of health. Recommendations will be relevant for countries with tight resources.
- Measurement and Evidence
The focus is on leading the development of methodologies and tools for measuring the causes, pathways and health outcomes of policy interventions.
- Urban Settings
The focus will be on urbanizations, particularly broad policy interventions related to healthy urbanization, and will closely examine slum upgrading.
- Employment Conditions
It will help to develop measures to clarify how different types of jobs, threat of unemployment affect workers’ health.
- Women and Gender Equity
It will focus on mechanisms, processes and actions that can be taken to reduce gender-based inequities in health by examining different areas.