Michael Marmot and Karen DeSalvo on stage

How can leaders make the most inroads into improving the health of the public? According to speakers at a Monday morning session on health inequalities, it’s by addressing social determinants of health.

Michael Marmot, director of University College London’s Institute of Health Equity, joined Karen DeSalvo, acting assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and leaders from the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for Public Health for a discussion on the ways health advocates around the globe can advance programs that promote health and address inequalities.

Duncan Stephenson, director of external affairs for the Royal Society for Public Health, highlighted the organization’s Health on the High Street campaign, which documented how healthy businesses influence the health of neighborhoods.

Working conditions can lead to gaps in health, said Marmot, who highlighted both physical risks and wage inequalities by gender. DeSalvo discussed Public Health 3.0, HHS’ new plan to integrate social determinants of health across the U.S agency.

“This is our window, this is our time, this is our era of attending to social determinants of health,” DeSalvo said.

Watch a recording of the session now via APHA Live.

Michael Marmot and Karen DeSalvo speak at an Annual Meeting session on how to close remaining health gaps. Photo by Michele Late/courtesy The Nation's Health