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Our Life: A new wave of public health

Building from the Marmot Review’s work on health inequalities and living well, Our Life examines how public health can address the basic causes of ill health, to shift the priority from living longer to living better. In addition to being a knowledge translation tool to illustrate the impact of the social determinants of health, this video is also designed to help public health professionals think through what is needed to re-conceptualize and shift the system. 

This seven minute illustrated video uses the International Futures Forum’s Three Horizons Model to outline strategies to realize a new wave of public health. The first of the three horizons addresses today’s issues with our best knowledge and ideas, and represents the currently predominant way of working in public health. The second horizon recognizes the mid-term perspective that new ways of working are needed. Our Life proposes strategies such as asset-based approaches, empowered consumerism (“from working with people as passive recipients of services to active, informed and empowered consumers or indeed producers of services”), advocacy, and integrated wellness services. The third horizon is the long-term vision, based on fringe innovations and the framing of a clear goal for the future direction of public health. Here the video asks, “Is what we envision [for public health] appropriate given the cultural and global changes?” The video further proposes that, rather than the goal being life expectancy alone, the goal could be “to create an equitable, fair, well and just environment that is sustainable for our locale and the wider world, to leave it in a better state.” Our Life ambitiously places public health and health equity at the center of these larger shifts. 

Use this resource to

  • facilitate discussion about how public health systems can address or lead long-term change.
  • initiate discussion among public health professionals and authorities about re-energizing, and re-directing public health work, issue framing and goals.
  • develop tools for conceiving and developing public health strategies.
  • initiate discussions about the societal shifts needed to support a new wave of public health.
  • catalyze community discussions around policy change related to health equity and the social determinants of health.


NHS NW England. 2013. Our Life: A New Wave of Public Health. Retrieved from <>

Other documents

A New Wave of Public Health Workbook,” Jude Stansfiled. 2012

Fair Society, Healthy Lives,” The Marmot Review

Three Horizons Thinking, International Futures Forum

Tags: Assess and report, Critical works in health equity, Healthy public policy, Intersectoral action, Key concepts, Knowledge translation , Methods & tools, Public health unit / health authority, Video

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