Overcoming Marginalisation: Inclusive Policy Processes and the Social Determinants of Health Equity

Panel Code

In 2008 the World Health Organisation’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health marshalled a wealth of evidence demonstrating that inequalities in health outcomes are largely caused by ‘a toxic combination of poor social policies and programmes, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics’. These social and economic arrangements also act to marginalise or disadvantage some population groups and limit their participation in policy processes that affect their lives.
Health inequalities which are regarded as avoidable and unfair have been defined as health inequities. Understanding the role of public policy and the policy making process in reducing health inequities is a key focus of a programme of research under the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRE) (2015-2020). This panel aims to provide insights from a number of case studies within the CRE on the different elements of the policy process; agenda-setting, policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation. Panel presentations will explore the role of actors, ideas, formal and informal processes and political and institutional contexts that shape policy in different sectors of Australian government, such as infrastructure, telecommunications and trade, which enable or constrain action to reduce health inequities.
Presenters will discuss the role and power of different actors, their framing strategies and coalitions, among other factors, that shape political prioritisation for government agendas. Presenters will also reflect on how policy is formulated and whose voice and needs are articulated in policy. How policy is implemented in ways that address, or not, the social inequities that lead to the gradient in health outcomes will also be a key focus of the panel. Finally, the panel will move to consider the evaluation of policy formulation and implementation to demonstrate the impacts of political agendas and decision-making during the policy process in producing and re-producing disadvantage.