Reimagining how local systems work together to address health inequalities

32 Local Authority Public Health representatives, community/voluntary sector workers, academics and residents involved in research activities from across the North West gathered in Lancaster last week to hear about findings from new research and share their experiences of tackling health inequalities across the region.  

Hosted by LiLac (The Universities of Liverpool and Lancaster collaborations for Public Health Research) the aim of the Public Health Networking Event was to share learning on key projects and strengthen links between Public Health practitioners, researchers and residents.

The workshop took place at The Storey in the city centre and the programme featured presentations and case studies from academics at Lancaster University and University of Liverpool including:

  • Dr. Ruth Young explained how the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Leadership and Care North West Coast (CLAHRC NWC) was bringing together practitioners, academics and public advisors through their Partnership Priority Programme to address critical challenges to health and social care services. One of the aims of the programme is to address the ongoing issue of timely practical evidence to support decision-making about new models of care that are effective in reducing health inequalities.
  • Dr. Emma Halliday shared findings from the NIHR School for Public Health Research (SPHR) Public Health Practitioners Evaluation Scheme which evaluated the impact on health inequalities of different approaches taken by local authorities to reduce the cost of facilities in the North West. One key finding was that making free entry to leisure facilities available to all substantially increased take up of swimming and gym activities especially in more disadvantaged groups
  • Dr. Ana Porroche-Escudero demonstrated her highly interactive approaches to explaining key health inequalities concepts, such as the distinctions between equality, equity and social justice and visually representing the unequal distribution of resources that impact on health
    • Professor Jennie Popay (pictured, above) introduced the CLAHRC NWC neighbourhood resilience programme - where the focus is on enhancing resilience within ‘the system’ i.e. amongst those who live work and provide services in neighbourhoods rather than focusing only on individuals or just the community. Neighbourhoods for Learning  facilitators Dr. Vivien Holt, Dr. Ana Porroche-Escudero and Dr, Adele Ring described how local residents, academics, community and voluntary sector organisations and local authority staff were working in partnership to develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to enhancing systems resilience. For example in one Neighbourhood for Learning (Liverpool), CLAHRC NWC’s Dr Ana Porroche has been working with residents to undertake a review of evidence-based approaches to revive the local high street,. Dr Adele Ring spoke about the work she has been involved in with a Local Oversight Group (LOG) in one of the neighbourhoods, that brings together Local Authority partners, third sector organisations, residents and other key stakeholders, to work together to identify ways of ‘tweaking’ the system to improve access to debt advice.  Dr Vivien Holt spoke about a how the CLAHRC neighbourhood resilience programme was working with the Preston Muslim Forum to engage with residents through their Community Day.  
    • Demonstrating neighbourhood systems in action, Dr. Emma Halliday discussed SPHR –funded Communities in Control study which is an evaluation of a community empowerment programme where groups of local residents are taking action on the social determinants of health as part of a Big Lottery funded initiative called Big Local initiative.

Presentations generated much lively discussion and sharing of perspectives. Local Authority partners for example, shared their own experiences of some of the challenges they faced in developing equitable leisure facility admission policies. They emphasised the importance of thinking about community access to health in its entirety, for example considering issues around transport which may be beyond the control of Public Health practitioners. The importance of research evidence and its role in Local Authority decision-making processes was also a topic of discussion, with a reminder that research is just one piece of information that decision-makers take into account.

At lunch time, as well as an opportunity to network, a number of Lilac resources explaining the social determinants of health inequalities were made available to those attending. These included bite size paper briefings of research study findings, footage of accessible talks on communities taking control over decision making and a snakes and ladder resource game designed to prompt discussions about the social determinants of health.



More articles     Posted on: 12 June 2017