Global Health Equity

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Our Research Themes

Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity

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Research themes

Our work is organised into four work packages, each addressing a respective stages of the policy process: agenda-setting, formulation, implementation and evaluation.

The CRE in the Social Determinants of Health Equity work spans a number of thematic areas, chosen because they powerfully affect the social determinants of the health and health inequities.


Thematic issues


Macroeconomics and infrastructure

Land use and urban environments

Health system

Indigenous peoples

Policy processes

Problem identification & agenda setting

Policy solutions / formulations


Evaluation of impact on health equity

Our research program

Making health equity a policy concern

Understand the ideas, actors and instituitions which shape policy to make health equity a policy concern in the future


Formulating policy: understanding complex systems and policy coherence

Improved conceptual & empirical understanding of how sectoral policies interact to affect health equity


Effective implmentation for health equity

How can the implementation of social determinents of health action be enhanced and maintained?


Health equity impacts of public policy and action

What are the health equity impacts of policies and practice in social determinents of health?

Case studies
» Medicare
» Paid parental leave
» Trans Pacific Partnership agreement
» Northern Territory Intervention
» Health implications of South Australia’s transition from manufacturing  industries (including Holden) to new 21st century industries and technologies » National broadband
» New South Wales land use legislation
» Primary health care
» Closing The Gap
» National broadband
» New South Wales land use legislation
» Primary health care
» Closing The Gap

Cross-cutting theories and methods

Bourdieu, Harvey & Sen; Policy theory; Complex systens; Theory driven program logic; Integrated-knowledge translation across disciplines and sectors; Interface of different knowledge systems.


Theme 1 – Macroeconomics and infrastructure

  • Such policies shape the distribution of jobs, money and other material resources in society and therefore powerfully affect daily living conditions and health.
  • Our research involves case studies from trade and investment (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement), employment (Australia’s paid parental leave scheme) and digital technology (implementation of Australia’s National Broadband Network) policy sectors.


Theme 2 – Land use and urban environments

  • Over seventy percent of the Australian population and a majority of Indigenous Australians live in urban areas.
  • The social, economic and physical make-up of urban environments therefore presents an important opportunity to improve health equity.
  • Our research will use land-use planning legislation in New South Wales as a case study.


Theme 3 – Health system

  • Access to health services is a key social determinant.
  • Successive reviews of health systems have recommended a policy shift to primary health care and yet this shift fails to happen.
  • We will investigate Medicare as a key policy initiative contributing to health equity.


Theme 4 – Indigenous peoples

  • Addressing Indigenous health inequities has long been recognised as requiring in Australian institutional and policy practices.
  • Our work will engage with culturally appropriate Indigenous research methods (Dadirri) to investigate the Closing the Gap strategy, which emphasises health equity.
  • We will also investigate the Northern Territory Intervention.