International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 25–33 | Cite as

A scoping review of intersectoral action for health equity involving governments

  • Ketan ShankardassEmail author
  • Orielle Solar
  • Kelly Murphy
  • Lorraine Greaves
  • Patricia O’Campo



We carried out a scoping review to identify and describe scholarly and grey literature referring to global cases of intersectoral action for health equity featuring a central role for governments.


The scoping review process systematically identified articles describing one or more cases of intersectoral action. Each article was then described in terms of the context of initiation, as well as the strategies, actors, tools and structures used to implement these initiatives.


128 unique articles were found describing intersectoral action across 43 countries. A majority of the cases appear to have initiated in the last decade. A variety of approaches were used to carry out intersectoral action, but articles varied in the richness of information included to describe different aspects of these initiatives.


With this examination of cases across multiple countries and contexts, we can begin to clarify how intersectoral approaches to health equity have been used; however, the description of these complex, multi-actor processes in the published documents was generally superficial and sometimes entirely absent and improvements in such documentation in future publications is warranted. Richer sources of information such as interviews may facilitate a more comprehensive understanding from the perspective of multiple sectors involved.


Health equity Intersectoral action Government Scoping review 



We would like to acknowledge Alix Freiler, Sireesha Bobbili, Dr. Lauren Bialystok, Laure Perrier, Dr. Andreas Laupacis and Dr. Irfan Dhalla for their important contributions to this work. Authors from the Centre for Research on Inner City Health gratefully acknowledge the support of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Patricia O’Campo was supported by the Alma and Baxter Ricard Chair in Inner City Health. The authors’ work was independent of the funders. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the above named organizations or of the institutions with which they are affiliated.

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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ketan Shankardass
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Orielle Solar
    • 3
  • Kelly Murphy
    • 1
  • Lorraine Greaves
    • 4
  • Patricia O’Campo
    • 1
  1. 1.The Centre for Research on Inner City HealthThe Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.University of ChileSantiagoChile
  4. 4.British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s HealthVancouverCanada

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