The power of the social determinants to improve population health and its social distribution has been demonstrated through a series of international (including the World Health Organisation through its Commission on the Social Determinants of Health) and national level commissions and evidence reviews. However, the translation of this evidence into equity-focused multi-sectoral policy development and implementation has been slow.
The goal of the CRE is to provide evidence on how to navigate the political and policy processes more effectively in order to operationalise the social determinants of health and health inequity. We will do this in four thematic areas: macroeconomics and infrastructure, land use and urban environments, health systems and Aboriginal people. These themes will be operationalised through four work programs which reflect the policy cycle of agenda setting, formulation, implementation and evaluation. In each work program we will use case studies to examine policy and regulatory processes and health equity in detail. The CRE will also develop formal processes of capacity building and knowledge exchange relating to effective policies and practices to achieve better and more equitable health outcomes. The outcome of the work of the CRE will be much improved understanding of the regulatory and governance mechanisms associated with how policies can be changed to achieve health equity and thus contribute to more equitable health outcomes.
The CRE commenced on the 1st March 2015 and will run until 28th February 2020. It is a collaboration between researchers at Flinders University, Australian National University, University of Ottawa, University of Sydney, University College London, the University of Oxford, Simon Fraser University and the University of New South Wales. The work of the Centre is guided by a Critical Policy Reference Group, chaired by Dr Pat Anderson (also chair of the Lowitja Institute).