Beginning this week, you consider the inequality and inequities seen in populations. Inequality refers to health differences that may be possible to reduce but not eliminate, such as those related to genetics or aging; inequity refers to differences that are unfair and preventable, such as ageism. Governments have the power, and some would suggest the moral obligation, to reduce inequities that influence population health.
Your Learning Resources this week challenge the traditional belief that increasing access to medical care will improve health. In fact, much of this course will challenge the notion that medical care or primary prevention is the answer that will solve the world’s population health problems. While prevention and health care do play a role, they are not a “cure” for population health. The alternative way of perceiving population health introduced in The Spirit Level and the course media contradicts these long-held beliefs.
As you focus your attention on the various determinants of health, think about how you can contribute to social change, locally or even globally, to improve population health.
Post a brief explanation of how broader population-focused determinants, which influence health inequalities and inequities, challenge the traditional approach for assessing population health. Then, explain your personal reaction to the concept of considering population determinants to measure population health. Expand on your insights utilizing the Learning Resources.

To prepare for this Discussion, review the week’s Learning Resources below, including the media elements. Pay particular attention to the episode of Unnatural Causes.


Social Determinants of Health