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Working for health equity: The role of health professionals

Published by the University College London’s Institute for Health Equity in 2013, this report  builds on a number of international resources, including Fair Society, Healthy Lives.  While the findings are specific to the United Kingdom, and focus on individuals working in the health care sector, they may also be useful for those working within public health in Canada.  

The authors avoid focusing simply on improving access to health services, and emphasize the need to ameliorate the broader social context for patients and providers. They suggest several potential levers for action within the health care system to do so, including: effective workforce education and training; relationships with patients and communities; partnerships within and outside the health care system; and advocacy strategies. The analysis focuses on six areas for the UK and includes key recommendations, case studies, and a description of next steps. 

The report includes commitments for action by several UK-based organizations and institutions, including the British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Colleges. These commitments provide practical information for a number of health professions and include a rationale for action, case studies and further reading.

The report describes cases in which health professionals (such as nurses, social workers, midwives, dentists, doctors, and dieticians) are taking action to improve health equity and suggests practical ways to alleviate health inequalities through clinical practice.  The case studies are also available as a separate document.

Use this resource to

  • Strengthen collaborative action between those working in the formal public health sector and those working in healthcare
  • Discuss practice examples, and reflect on how health professionals can influence the broader social context
  • Develop statements of action for your professional organization

Allen M., Allen, J., Hogarth, S., & Marmot, M. (2013). Working for health equity: The role of health professionals. London: UCL Institute of Health Equity. Retrieved from:

Tags: Community engagement, Competencies & organizational standards, Intersectoral action, Leadership & capacity building, Report / Document