Journal Article

Can a regional government's social inclusion initiative contribute to the quest for health equity?

Fran Baum, Lareen Newman, Katherine Biedrzycki and Jan Patterson

in Health Promotion International

Volume 25, issue 4, pages 474-482
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI:
Can a regional government's social inclusion initiative contribute to the quest for health equity?

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Despite decades of concern about reducing health inequity, the Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) painted a picture of persistent and, in some cases, increasing health inequity. It also made a call for increased evaluation of interventions that might reduce inequities. This paper describes such an intervention—the Social Inclusion Initiative (SII) of the South Australian Government—that was documented for the Social Exclusion Knowledge Network of the CSDH. This initiative is designed to increase social inclusion by addressing key determinants of health inequity—in the study period these were education, homelessness and drug use. Our paper examines evidence from a rapid appraisal to determine whether a social inclusion initiative is a useful aspect of government action to reduce health inequity. It describes achievements in each specific area and the ways they can be expected to affect health equity. Our study highlighted four factors central to the successes achieved by the SII. These were the independent authority and influence of the leadership of the SII, the whole of government approach supported by an overarching strategic plan which sets clear goals for government and the clear and unambiguous support from the highest level of government. We conclude that a social inclusion approach can be valuable in the quest to reduce inequities and that further research on innovative social policy approaches is required to examine their likely impact on health equity.

Keywords: health equity; social inclusion; healthy public policy; social determinants of health

Journal Article.  4639 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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