Influencing policy - public health advocacy and health inequalities

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Over the past 40 years the UK has been recognised as a global leader in health inequalities research and policy, with a prominent international expert describing government-led policy efforts to reduce health inequalities here as ‘historically and internationally unique’. Between 1997–2010, the Labour government introduced a raft of policies to reduce health inequalities. In theory, these policies were informed by the wealth of available research, having been constructed against a backdrop of strong political commitments to evidencebased policy; commitments which were widely supported by public health researchers. Yet, by most measures, the UK’s health inequalities have continued to widen. This failure has prompted calls by some for more ‘advocacy’ to reduce health inequalities. Yet, as a Lancet editorial notes, there currently appears to be little agreement as to precisely what public health egalitarians ought to be advocating. This paper considers, in practical terms, what engaging with ‘advocacy’ might mean for health inequality researchers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-321
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • activism
  • advocacy
  • evidence-based policy
  • health inequalities
  • public health policy


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