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 New Zealand

Public Health and Social Policy

There is now consensus that health is more than the absence of illness or disease, it is also about the physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing of people. Inextricably linked to this is the understanding that at every stage of life, health and wellbeing are affected by complex interactions between social and economic factors, the physical environment and individual behaviour, as well as by hereditary factors. Socio-economic factors and access to community facilities that focus on ‘walkability' are determinants of health, as they influence the degree of health outcomes achievable by individuals and communities. This concept of health and what affects it is referred to as a social model of health.

The overarching principle used by the College in developing public health and social policy is an analysis of literature that is evidence based. All policies are developed through a consensus approach with appropriate representation including consumers and key stakeholders. The policies take a population health approach, identifying populations and sub-populations who are affected, positively or negatively, by the issue being addressed. Each policy presents clear evidence of the social, economic, political, cultural and scientific context.

Position Statements


New Zealand Submissions


The College, in association with other major medical colleges, have developed a suite of four policies on addiction medicine that incorporate the social determinants of health.

Other Policies

Please contact the Policy and Advocacy Unit for further information: