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Margaret Whitehead – a legend in health inequalities

Posted in Blog by saraburke on October 9, 2009

I had the honor of hearing Margaret Whitehead, professor of public health in Liverpool, speaking at a confernce in Belfast on 2 October. Whitehead is synonymous with strategies to reduce health inequalities and improve the health of the poorest. She wrote the follow up to the seminal Black Report in England which was the first official government report in the developed world to document the extent of health inequalities that existed between rich and poor. This work also made clear the social gradient that exists in health, ie the more income you earn and the higher you are up the social scale, the better your health. Whitehead’s book ‘The Health Divide’ which also included the Black Report was a classic Penguin best seller and sold well over 100,000 copies – a very unusual achievement in public health literature. Here are some of the interesting points she made in Belfast  and some quick thoughts of mine on strategies (or lack of them) to reduce health inequalities in Ireland, North and South. (more…)