Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 6, pp 881–893 | Cite as

Are We Producing the Right Kind of Actionable Evidence for the Social Determinants of Health?

  • Patricia O’CampoEmail author


Globally, health and social inequities are growing and are created, actively maintained, and aggravated by existing policies and practices. The call for evidence-based policy making to address this injustice seems a promising strategy to facilitate a reversal of existing strategies and the design of new effective programming. Acting on evidence to address inequities requires congruence between identifying the major drivers of disparities and the study of their causes and solutions. Yet, current research on inequities tends to focus on documenting disparities among individuals or subpopulations with little focus on identifying the macro-social causes of adverse population health. Moreover, the research base falls far short of a focus on the solutions to the complex multilevel drivers of disparities. This paper focuses upon recommendations to refocus and improve the public health research evidence generated to inform and create strong evidence-based recommendations for improving population health.


Social determinants of health Health inequalities Evidence Social epidemiology 



This work has been funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research under grant #101693, entitled “Power, Politics, and the Use of Health Equity Research.”


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research on Inner City HealthTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA

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