Join us for the inaugural lecture of Professor Andi Mabhala from the Faculty of Health and Social Care.

Inaugural lectures are a great way to expand your general knowledge across a range of subjects or gain a deeper understanding of your own subject. They are free and afterwards you can mingle with other students, staff and members of the public to discuss what you’ve just learnt whilst enjoying refreshments!  

Since the independent inquiry into inequalities in a health report, reducing inequalities in health has become a priority for all UK health and social care policies. However, there are conflicting ideologies on how health inequalities should be tackled. The lack of a consistent definition of health inequalities has made the concept malleable by proponents of contrasting interventionist and non-interventionist ideologies. Interventionists’ views of inequalities in health favour upstream population-based activities associated with tackling core determinants of health inequalities. By contrast, non-interventionists favour activities associated with encouraging individuals to take person responsibility for their health and well-being.

The scientific evidence indicates that the uneven distribution of ‘primary social goods’ is the fundamental cause of the uneven distribution of health benefits and disease burden in our society. Therefore, interventions focusing on wider determinants have more potential to reduce health inequalities than individual behavioural interventions.

The lecture will draw on several studies that support the proposition that social justice is a foundation for public health as a strategy to reduce inequalities in health.

It will contextualise these concepts and principles within the research on socioeconomic determinants of homelessness. Furthermore, it will present evidence that homelessness is a manifestation of unequal societies.

Finally, Professor Mabhala will use Wilfred Carr’s framework of ‘embeddedness’ and ‘continuity and change’ to reflect on how his sociocultural, values and beliefs have shaped his relationship with public health and social justice. He will propose that if we believe that moral concern drives the pursuit of scientific knowledge of the causes, distribution patterns, and consequences of ill health; therefore, public health epidemiology can be described as a science with a moral purpose.

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