Improving Health for the World's Poor
Canadians are among the healthiest populations in the world. Statistics show that our life expectancy has reached an all-time high and infant mortality is lower than ever. But the statistics also indicate that health and health care in Canada, and in many other countries, is unevenly distributed along socioeconomic boundaries. Generally, good health and longevity are highest among the rich and lowest among the poor.
Many socioeconomic inequalities in health are unfair and avoidable. They cause needless human suffering and lost productivity, and significantly impact the economy, social order and justice. Yet despite this, the magnitude of health inequities in most developed countries remains largely unchanged; in some cases, it is growing. Vital research is needed to decrease these inequities and improve the health of our most vulnerable citizens.
This is Dr. Peter Tugwell's focus as Chair in Health Equity at the University of Ottawa. He has assembled a multidisciplinary team to establish an evidence-based approach to the study of socioeconomic inequalities and inequities in health in Canada and in developing countries. A conceptual framework has been developed for the Canadian component. Based on this, Dr. Tugwell and his team are modelling and developing medical, social, legal and educational interventions to assess their impact in reducing socioeconomic disparities among Canadians suffering from musculoskeletal diseases. The international component will use similar methodologic approaches to address major infectious, chronic and environmental causes of diseases in the disadvantaged with a focus on evaluating and enhancing information communication technologies such as decision support tools.
Throughout his career, Dr. Tugwell has partnered with experts around the world working in other universities, at all levels of government, and in prominent organizations such as the World Bank and the World Health Organization. His team will now build on such collaborations to achieve optimum research results.
The ultimate goals of Dr. Tugwell's ambitious research are to reduce socioeconomic inequalities, and to improve the health of poor and middle classes in Canada and internationally.