Understanding and tackling ethnic inequalities in health

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					Understanding and tackling
ethnic inequalities in health

An ESRC Research Seminar Series

   Organisers: Sarah Salway and Kiran Nanchahal
   Interest in links between race, ethnicity & health is not

   Huge increase in available data, and significant shift in
    policy, in last 10-15 years.

   Evidence of large and persistent inequality (and diversity)
    in many aspects of social, economic and health-related
    well-being between ethnic groups.

   Growing number of ‘ethnic health researchers’.

   Increased programme activity at local level.
Background (2)
   Improving health of minority ethnic groups central
    component of government’s agenda to reduce social
    exclusion and inequalities in health

   Significant action at policy level across many
    government departments: new research programmes,
    new focused interventions, and new targets for
    achieving reduction in ethnic minority disadvantage.

   Increased recognition of ways in which different
    dimensions of disadvantage inter-relate.
Background (3)
   Wide range of factors contribute to health outcomes
    in ethnic minority groups:
       Differential access & quality of health services
       Socio-cultural influences
       Socio-economic disadvantage
       Racial discrimination
       Migration and life events
       Genetic or biological variation

   Need cross-disciplinary methods of enquiry and
    multi-sector intervention
ESRC Research Seminar Series
Aims and objectives

   Promote discussion networks between
    academic researchers and strengthen their
    contribution to long term health of the social

   Value to research
       Setting or enhancing personal research agendas
       Increasing range of personal research contacts
       Increasing degree of collaborative research

   Value to policy makers
       Impact on knowledge and perceptions of the
        research field
       Political impact on area of operation or policy
Aims of this seminar series
   To bring together academics from wide range of
    institutional settings, practitioners, policy-makers, and
    other users of research.

   To share current knowledge regarding patterns and
    determinants of health among different ethnic groups,
    as well as ‘best practice’ in researching ethnicity and

   To engage in debate surrounding current issues and
    challenges regarding the generation and application of
    knowledge to effective practice.
    Some issues and challenges
   What is ‘ethnicity’? – fluid and complex
        Health-focused research often not based on theoretical
        How can inequality be understood, monitored and
         addressed if categories keep shifting?
        How can greater understanding of lived experiences:
         ‘What I am’, and ‘What it means to be me’, be put to
         practical use to bring about positive change?

   Potential pitfalls of attention to ethnicity
        Reification of ethnic ‘groups’ and contribution to
         boundaries of exclusion.
        Lack of representation of powerless groups, racism,
         victim-blaming, stereotyping.
        Overlooking of other axes of inequality (and their inter-
    Issues and challenges (2)
   Ever-increasing diversity (countries of origin,
    life-stage, generation, class)

        Is detailed understanding of particular situations useful?
        Can we expect to tailor services to meet diverse needs?
        Or, should generic cultural competencies be the

        Can investigations move beyond the descriptive to the
        Problems of generalisability of findings over time, e.g.
         current studies on older groups.
    Issues and challenges (3)
   Translating knowledge into policy and practice
      Gap between academia and world of service provision
            Need for more “researcher-practitioners” and multi-
             experience teams.

       Danger of nuanced interpretations being translated
        into stereotypical responses.

       What should be the boundaries of the health sector?
            Who should be concerned about ethnic minority health?
            What other issues should concern health practitioners?

       How can local knowledge be built upon?
            What models of participation & empowerment work well?
            How can local initiatives be scaled up effectively?
Participation in the series
   Sectors
      Academics
      Policy makers
      Service providers

   Hierarchy
      Senior/ Junior staff

   Suggestions for
      Speakers & discussants
      Publicity

o Feedback
    New collaborations?
    New initiatives?
    New ways of looking at things?
    Seminars & convenors (2005)
                              •   Understanding the links
1. February 2005, London          between socioeconomic
    James Nazroo & Sarah          deprivation & health
    Salway                        among ethnic minority

                              •   Using assessments of
2. June 2005, Leeds               biological and genetic
    Karl Atkin & Elizabeth        risk to inform policy
    Anionwu                       priorities

3. October 2005, London       •   Gender, generation and
    Seeromanie Harding & Kiran    identity: socio-cultural
                                  constructions and their
    Nanchahal                     influences on health
    Seminars & convenors (2006)
4. January 2006, Warwick   •   Migration, trans-national
    David Owen & Hannah        links and life-course
                               influences on health

5. April 2006, Leicester   •   Cultural competence in
    Mark Johnson & Raj         health and social research

                           •   Evidence into practice:
6. July 2006, Sheffield        increasing appropriateness
    Kate Gerrish & Sarah       and cultural competence
    Salway                     of health and social care
   Up-to-date information

Many thanks to..
   ESRC for providing funding

   The Brady Centre

   Our speakers and discussants

   Linda Belk for administration

   All participants
A reminder
   Seminar 2

       June 2005, Leeds

       Convenors:
        Karl Atkin & Elizabeth Anionwu

       Using assessments of biological and genetic
        risk to inform policy priorities

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