"While the health system has a vitally important role, broader actions to reduce social risk through improving wealth, education, employment and housing also have a major influence on the status of a society's health and wellbeing." Australian National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission, 2009
This document has been curated by Fellows of the RACP to help you find high quality CPD resources on the broader context of health.
Resources are categorised by type:
Key organisations & websites
Professional development in the broader context of health
The context of people’s lives has a significant impact on their health. Effective care therefore relies on an understanding of how people grow, work, live and age as well as the impact of broader political, social and economic systems.
Important behaviours include:
- Effecting improvement in the health of the community and determinants of health, both locally and broadly across Australia and New Zealand.
- Using clinical and patient encounters to promote healthy lifestyles, quality of life, illness prevention and screening.
- Demonstrating an awareness of the costs and benefits of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions and using this to inform decision making.
For further information on patterns of behaviour and behaviour markers in the area of health advocacy please refer to the SPPP Guide.
Short on time? Try this:
- Read an article on clinician-driven strategies for maximising value of healthcare
- Watch a talk on the social determinants of health
- Do a short primer on health equity
1. Key Organisations & Websites
Useful as a starting point and overview of current work in this
This website was set up by the WHO for those who want to get actively involved in the social determinants of health. It includes tools, short courses and an extensive library of evidence and policy documents.
Australian Health Promotion Association
AHPA is a professional association for people interested in the practice, research and study of health promotion. This is the process of enabling people take control of the determinants of their health.
NPS MedicineWise: For Health Professionals
NPS MedicineWise aims to improve how technologies, medicines and tests are prescribed and used. The health professionals section includes evidence, CPD activities, tools and patient resources.
In partnership with Specialty Societies, the EVOLVE initiative encourages specialists to consider medical tests, procedures and interventions that may be overused or ineffective in particular contexts. It aims to create a list of the top 5 ‘low value' practices in each of the RACP's specialties.
WHO: Social determinants of health
The WHO gives a helpful overview of what the determinants are and why they are important. The site also includes detailed research, links to international programs, training tools, policy documents and media.
Useful for brief overviews of topics and recent developments
Useful for in depth, structured learning
Useful for implementing what you have learned in your daily practice
AMA: Community Health Leadership
The AMA has compiled a list of tools and information to help physicians create healthier lifestyles and healthier communities, particularly relating to obesity.
The Health Equity and Prevention Primer (HEPP)
The HEPP, developed by the Prevention Institute in the US, is a web-based training series for practitioners interested in policy advocacy, community change, and multi-sector engagement to achieve health equity.
NPS MedicineWise: Decision tools and resources
NPS MedicineWise has developed a wide range of tools for clinicians and patients to promote safe, evidence based management and prescription.
5. Key Journals
Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on
BMJ Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health
This is the official journal of the Society for Social Medicine. It publishes research and reviews on applied, methodological and theoretical issues with a multidisciplinary emphasis.
International Journal for Equity in Health
This journal aims to improve the understanding of issues that influence the health of populations, including political, policy, economic, social and health service related influences.
6. Recommended Reading
Useful for keeping up to date with research and finding out more on
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: Population Health FAQ
This page on the AIHW website explains population health, determinants of health and how a conceptual framework incorporating these effects healthcare planning.
Disability and Health Inequalities in Australia
This research from VicHealth provides an overview the health of people with disabilities and the underlying social determinants, using the population-based data.
The Context of Indigenous Health
This overview from the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is an accessible explanation of the historical contexts of Indigenous health, as well as ongoing social, cultural and political factors.
This article by Atul Gawande is a personal and introspective exploration of how modern medicine focuses on aggressive end of life interventions rather than improving a patient’s last days.
Morden, N.E., Colla, C.H., Sequist, T.D., Rosenthal, M.B. (2014). Choosing wisely: the politics and economics of labeling low-value services. New Engl J Med; 370(7):589-592.
This 2014 editorial discusses the American Board of Internal Medicine’s ‘Choosing Wisely’ campaign.
National Rural Health Alliance: Social Determinants of Health
This is a short article about the social determinants of health in a rural Australian context.
Oberg, E., & Frank, E. (2009). Physicians’ health practices strongly influence patient health practices. The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 39(4): 290–291.
This article outlines the importance of physicians’ counselling patients about health-promoting behaviours, as well as the strong connection this has with a physicians’ own health practices.
Andermann, A., Blancquaert, I., Beauchamp, S., Déry., V. (2008). Revisiting Wilson and Jungner in the genomic age: a review of screening criteria over the past 40 years. Bulletin of the World Health Organization; 86(4): 241-320.
This short bulletin from the WHO revisits James Wilson and Gunner Jungner’s classic ‘Principles and practice of screening for disease’ in light of recent technological developments in genetics and genomics.
Wilkinson, R., Marmot, M. (2003). Social determinants of health: the solid facts. 2nd edition. Denmark: WHO.
Although older, this booklet gives a helpful overview of policy and the social determinants of health.
Berkman, S., Kawachi, I., Glymour, M. (2014). Social Epidemiology. Oxford University Press.
This book is widely considered a landmark reference on social epidemiology, the study of how the social world influences the fundamental determinants of health.
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